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Perioral Dermabrasion: Improving Wrinkles Around the Mouth

It’s a startling fact that wrinkles around the mouth, sometimes called lipstick lines or perioral rhytids, can develop as early as one’s 30s. Causes of these wrinkles are a combination of genetic influences, smoking, or sun exposure. To treat the deep lines and wrinkles around the mouth, many people today are choosing to undergo perioral dermabrasion, which achieves permanent results.

During the procedure, the physician uses a dermabrader instrument to resurface the skin to the desired level of skin treatment. Results are immediately visible; however, the treatment also stimulates skin collagen remodeling, which will take place over the following six months. This leads to firmer, smoother, and more youthful skin.

The procedure takes about one hour to complete, and can be performed in an office procedure room or an operating room under local anesthesia. Other procedures, such as a facelift, eyelid surgery, or laser skin treatment, may be combined with perioral dermabrasion.

When a patient receives perioral dermabrasion as an isolated procedure, he or she may go home immediately after it is completed. The area around the mouth will be healing for seven to 10 days following the procedure. Patients are given detailed instructions regarding how to care for the area. Most patients do not complain of any pain after the procedure. However, any discomfort can be treated with over-the-counter Tylenol.

About one week after the procedure, the skin will be completely healed, and patients typically notice an improvement in their appearance. The appearance around the mouth continues to gradually improve as the body builds new collagen, stimulated by the procedure. Redness fades over the following weeks to months, but makeup can cover this if necessary.

It’s important to note that perioral dermabrasion is not the same as microdermabrasion. Microdermabrasion does not help the lines around the mouth; it is performed by an aesthetician to remove the most superficial layer of dead skin cells on the face. On the other hand, dermabrasion is performed by a physician experienced in the procedure, who removes many layers of skin to penetrate its deepest layers.

Patients commonly ask if they can use dermal fillers for the lines around the mouth. Unfortunately, today’s available fillers do not adequately treat these types of lines in all but select few cases. Also, fillers used to treat the area can distort the lip and smile, creating a very unnatural look.

However, in less severe cases, the neurotoxins Botox or Dysport can be helpful in improving the appearance of the mouth. Care must be taken when doing so in order to prevent distortion of the smile.

As with any plastic surgery procedure, it’s highly important to choose a physician who is highly experienced and knowledgeable about perioral dermabrasion and treatment of perioral rhytids in order to ensure the best and safest possible results.

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