Vertical Upper Lip Lines and Smoker’s Lines: Can Injections Help?

xeomin wrinkles and lines around upper lips

The dreaded vertical lines that form above your lips can be one of the more distressing signs of premature skin ageing. They can ruin an otherwise smoother-skin complexion. But can anything be done about these vertical lip lines? Which are also called smoker’s lines from constant lip pursing. And what about the marionette lines that rest besides them? The answer is YES – upper lip lines can be treated by your cosmetic injector and/or dermal clinician. But like most anti-ageing solutions, prevention is always preferred.

So what are some solutions for preventing or reducing vertical ‘Upper Lip Lines’ from above your Upper Lip?

We’ll discuss prevention and treatment of lip lines and ‘smoker’s lines’ below.

First, why do these lines become so ingrained before we start paying attention to them?

  • Vertical upper lip lines rarely come to mind as the first area to treat your textural issues and lines.
  • The reason is simple:  vertical lip lines are not considered a MAJOR skin issue for most people, because they sneak up on your skin.
  • If you wait to treat them until after they become deeply ingrained, it might mean more intensive treatments or less satisfactory results.
  • And if this is YOU, you may find you’ve been focusing so much on other aspects of your skin and facial features – you’ve missed the ageing signs around your mouth and lips (above lip lines).

So step aside momentarily, please, crow’s feet and baggy eyelids. (But if you need eyelid surgery, Dr Benjamin Burt is Melbourne’s GO TO Eye Surgeon for eyelid lift surgery and Blepharoplasty).

Today we’re talking about the lines above your lips.

We’ll cover those marionette lines also – because where you have lines around the mouth, there’s likely to be an ever-deepening crevice in the nasolabial fold.

lip wrinkles and marionette lines best blog tips to reduce lines around your lips

As we age, vertical lines start to form above the lips, and ‘marionette’ style lines deepen from your nostrils to the edges of your mouth (nasolabial lines).

  • What most of us don’t realize is that this small problem can have a detrimental effect on our overall appearance
  • This is especially likely over the longer term, when they deepen into ‘fissures’
  • When they deepen, they are visible in nearly every facial expression – even smiling
  • The good news is YES, they CAN be treated if you get to them early enough
  • But prevention – and early treatment – tends to get a far better result than waiting until they are deep enough to drive through

If not treated in time, the problem of these lip lines can become virtually impossible to treat.

These lines then have a premature-ageing impact on your entire facial appearance.

Benefits of treating above lip lines with cosmetic injections or laser skin care BEFORE they get too deep

  • Cosmetic injecting professionals often suggest it is important that you start seeking solutions when you first notice these lines are forming
  • Because if you wait, they will become more difficult – if not impossible – to treat
  • That’s because due to repeated expressions and skin strength loss, they become quite deeply ingrained lines quite quickly over time
  • How quickly they deepen also depends on your habits, sun damage and skin care regimes

Wrinkle prevention is ALWAYS a better angle than treatment, so READ MORE if you want to maintain your lips, line-and-wrinkle free, for as long as you possibly can.

What Are Vertical Upper Lip Lines?

  • Also known as Smoker’s Lines, these vertically-oriented lip lines first start to appear above the upper lips.
  • They are usually thin at first (fine lines) but then they start to deepen to where they appear to form skin crevices.

When do lip lines typically start to appear on the face? 

When you start seeing vertical lip lines depends on a few different factors – some internal and others are lifestyle related. Hence, age occurrence can vary.

  • Vertical upper lip lines usually start to show up in your forties.
  • You might not even notice they have begun, until one day you look in the mirror – more closely – and you think “WHOA, how long have they been there?”
  • But if you have had a lot of sun, pursed your lips a lot or spent years smoking, they can show up a LOT earlier in life.
  • By the 50s they can become quite pronounced, and by 60 or 70 they have significantly deepened in most individuals.

Are smoker’s lip lines and facial wrinkles worse than people who never smoked?

  • It’s partially depending on the person and how long they smoked (and how often), but the quick answer is, yes.
  • They are typically a lot worse, particularly after the person reaches their late 40s, fifties and sixties.
  • Heavy smokers in particular can end up looking 10 to 15 years (or more) older than their same-aged non-smoking peers. 

Smokers have particularly DEEP vertical lip lines from a combination of inhaling (pursing the lips) and the damaging effects of smoking on their organs, including their skin.

smokers lines above lips

What are above-lip lines or wrinkles officially called?

  • Above the lip lines are actually vertical fissures . They begin with ‘fine’ lines that deepen over time.
  • You might not even notice them at first but they become more visible as they deepen and as your skin ages.

Are lip lines only visible in smokers?

  • The often used term smoker’s lines might cause you to assume that only smokers get these – but that’s definitely not the case.
  • As mentioned above, they sometimes occur earlier in smokers – or look more pronounced – but everyone tends to get them in time.

More information:

Vertical Lip Lines are NOT just what happens to smokers.  They tend to happen to most people’s upper lips over time.

But yes, smokers DO get these lip lines sooner in life and these lines are often deeper or more ingrained.

  • Smokers are more prone to them for a variety of reasons
    • inhaling expressions as well as less healthy skin that is more prone to wrinkling
    • due to the devastating impact of smoking on ALL of your organs including your largest organ, your skin
  • People who smoke have less vitamin uptake in their cells including skin
    • meaning even if they adopt a good diet their nutrient uptake is lower
    • they lack vitamins that keep their skin looking healthy
  • Smokers tend to get these lines EARLIER than others who do not smoke.
  • But women and men will tend to get these lines as they grow older even if they have never smoked.

A majority of women and men develop these vertical upper lip lines, as well as facial wrinkles, as they age.

It’s not just smokers who get lines above their lips and heavy wrinkles.

  • But these vertical lip lines and facial wrinkles around the mouth and eyes, do tend to be more pronounced in people who smoke.
  • So wrinkles tend to impact the facial appearance a lot earlier than they do in non-smokers.

lines above the lip -how to remove them

Reasons Skin Looks More Wrinkles Around the Mouth or Lips

  • The reason for facial lines above the lip area relates to the loss of elasticity in the skin, or skin tone (strength/volume) due to ageing.
  • The skin volume, skin structures and skeletal support all decrease over time (this is known as atrophy)
  • As a result of this loss of skin collagen and skeletal atrophy, the area above the lips gets wrinkled and can take on a sunken appearance.

Get a FREE PDF guide to facial treatments in Melbourne.



More on LIPS and AGEING

The lips themselves also seem to thin a bit as we grow older.

The combination of thinning lips (atrophy) and decreased skin strength (less collagen or elastin) can result in a much higher chance of wrinkles forming around your eyes, mouth and lip area.

Lip Augmentation injections can really help balance out thin lips and add more volume and projection.

skin loses collagen and elastin as it ages

Can you reduce vertical lip lines and vertical wrinkles above the lips?

  • Fortunately, there are a number of treatments available to help you with a vertical LIP LINE problem
  • But before moving on to available treatments, it is important that you get rid of specific HABITS which might be causing you to develop vertical upper lip line
  • Habits which contribute to these lines forming and become deeper or more ingrained

Tips to Prevent Upper Lip Lines (Vertical Fissures or Wrinkles Above Your Lips)

  • The reason why these lines are called ‘smoker’s lines’ is because they are caused by the constant pursing of the lips whenever a person smokes.
  • This movement is repeated so often, and so regularly, that the specific lip expressions that cause these lines to show becomes a more permanent facial ‘feature.’

Hence, the main issue here is to AVOID pursing your lips as much as possible.  

  • There are a number of activities where you are required to purse your lips, kissing being a common one if you’re so inclined.
  • Now, giving up kissing to prevent upper lip lines is totally up to you.
  • We don’t necessarily recommend it, but just know that it’s one of many expressions that can lead to lines forming above your lips.
  • Making faces – especially giving others ‘unhappy looks’ in terms of facial expressions OR pursing your lips as you are thinking something over – can also increase the tendency for lines or skin folds to form.

kissing causes wrinkles? how to avoid smokers lines and lip lines above lips

In addition to this, some skin care experts recommend avoiding using straws or drinking directly from bottles.

  • Both of these common actions require you to purse your lips – which places pressure above your upper lip.
  • In simple words, you can aim to avoid pursing your lips to help keep your upper lip lines at bay.

Treatments You Can Opt For to Reduce Vertical Lines above your Upper Lip

Anti-Wrinkle Injections may help

Skin Rejuvenation or Skin Resurfacing including Laser or other Light-Based Treatments or Peels

  • There are also SURFACE skin treatments such as chemical peels, rejuvenating Fraxel skin treatments and other laser skin therapy methods.
  • These can be used to help restore a smoother, less wrinkled appearance to your skin.
  • However, many of these treatments involve some down time
  • You’ll also need to remain out of the sun for some time before, and after, your procedure.

How these treatments work:

  • These non-surgical skin treatments help remove dead skin cells from the skin’s surface and help stimulate new cellular turnover (this results in skin rejuvenation occurring at a deep dermal layer where collagen and elastin are produced).
  • Some of these treatments can help restore vitality, collagen and elasticity to the treated areas, helping to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
  • They can take several months to see the full impact of the treatment, but can get select patients excellent rejuvenation results.

Lip Fillers can help reduce Vertical Lip Lines in some patients (but not all)

However, the best option you can choose to reduce vertical lines above your lips might be injectable fillers to the lip area.

It may not suit all patient’s lips or lip conditions, but for suitable candidates, the recommended solution may be Lip Filler injections or lip augmentation (or an upper lip lift surgery).

best lip treatments injectables to reduce vertical lip lines -

There is no dearth of options when it comes to dermal fillers (called Dermal Volumisers) that are available on the market.

In fact, it can even get confusing to select the right one. That’s why choosing a highly-experienced injector (an Cosmetic Physician or Senior Nurse Injector) is important, because they can help choose the best product for your particular facial structure and your lips.

  • As the name suggests, lip filler injections use solutions containing an approved temporary-filler, very similar in nature to a substance that your body makes naturally.
  • Whilst temporary in nature, Lip Augmentation injections can give your lips a huge boost and help to reduce upper lip lines. Just don’t over do it or you’ll get a trout mouth (our Injecting Clinicians are experts at getting lovely enhancements that look luscious but natural).

How lip injections work to reduce vertical lines above your lips

  • Temporary dermal fillers are injected into the upper lip line
  • The aim of the injecting treatment is to help restore the lips to their original shape or volume, or a slightly enhanced volume
  • It’s best if the lip augmentation treatment leaves your lips looking natural and balanced
  • This helps to temporarily remove the wrinkles or lines above your lip line.

Your lips should match your overall face after a Lip Augmentation treatment. Plus, your upper and lower lips should not be WAY out of natural proportions or they will end up looking ‘over-volumised’.

Lip Fillers have proven effective over the years and most skin care experts recommend opting for them.

skin-rejuvenation-treatments-laser-copy cosmetic fillers TGA approved Filler Restylane Emervel dermal fillers lips cheeks

Some cynics, though, contend that fillers are dangerous.

However, as long as you are working with a highly-experienced and well qualified Injector and are in good health, you won’t tend to have to worry about increasing your risks of side effects or injecting problems.  That noted, there are risks to any pharmaceutical or cosmetic-medical treatment and it’s important to know what these are.

Find out about the risks and benefits of recommended lip fillers during a personal consultation with a Skin Injection professional at Coco Ruby. Phone (03) 8849 1444 and ask to see one of our experienced Senior Cosmetic Injecting Clinicians in Melbourne.

(Read our myth-busting blog on FIVE FIBS ABOUT FILLERS – and be sure to read how to AVOID going overboard with lip fillers in Senior Nurse Injector’s blogs – MICRO-ENHANCEMENTS OF YOUR SMILE WITH SUBTLE LIP VOLUME CHANGES and FILLER OVER USE SYNDROME)

Reducing Upper Lip Lines with Lip Augmentation (Lip Filler Injections)

  • During the treatment, your Injecting Clinician will evaluate your suitability for the procedure
  • Your Clinician will also overview your existing anatomy and facial feature harmony
  • They will strive to keep your features in balance as well as enhanced when they augment your lip area with temporary fillers
  • Your upper lip lines will be reduced by the time you are done with your treatment, and you will end up looking younger and better than before
  • The treatment can be repeated every four to six months on average; for some patients, the lip filler will last a bit longer

Patient’s like this treatment because:

It’s subtle yet effective, has little down time and can leave you with better looking lips and a far smoother above lip area!

Plus, you’ll love the way makeup sits on your slightly plumper, newly enhanced lips!

But remember, less is usually more.  You can increase the size gradually but don’t fall prey to the “too much lip filler” syndrome.



Discover more about our lip injections procedures on LIP filler treatments on our LIP treatment page – or send an enquiry for a full facial and skin assessment to give your entire face a boost!

And browse our fantastic blogs about cosmetic injections and dermal fillers  and available cosmetic injection options in Melbourne.

In Summary, there are fortunately a number of treatments available for reducing upper lip lines (and other skin concerns including facial wrinkles).

In summary:

Though you might not notice them at first, when they are forming but not yet prominent, upper lip lines can – over time – impact your entire appearance and leave your face looking ‘weathered’.

So it is typically recommended to PREVENT them from forming deeply, whenever possible.

It may also be best to have them treated EARLY rather than when they are very deep (using injectable fillers if they’ve gotten to the point of leaving you looking prematurely aged, or skin resurfacing such as Fraxel lasers for the face, DOT Laser Therapy or skin needling modalities).

We suggest you become well-informed about differences between cosmetic injectors skill levels and qualifications, dermal filler products and brands, and injecting strategies and cosmetic injecting methods – as all of these will also impact your results.

Here at Coco Ruby in Melbourne, we focus on providing you with natural, soft-feeling lips that are SLIGHTLY enhanced using quality dermal fillers and facially balanced, pleasing and long-lasting Injection Strategies.

Plus – if it’s TIME for that FACELIFT or EYELID REDUCTION PROCEDURE – our team works alongside some of Melbourne’s best Surgeons for facial, brow, eyelid rejuvenation Plastic Surgery.


Beware any seriously discounted injection offers – as injecting solutions and injector skill levels vary greatly in cost and quality.

  • Patients find the discount injection treatments don’t tend to be the same QUALITY (better brands) as compared to the higher-quality injecting solutions.
  • We use high quality, proven brands that get soft, natural-feeling lips and excellent, long-lasting results, so that you’ll have an extended result that you’ll love.
  • Our injectors know WHICH solution will leave your lips still feeling like your OWN lips (rather than feeling foreign, as is a common lip injecting complaint when an Injector uses the wrong brand or too much filler).

So if you want results you’ll be pleased with, without looking over-filled – we recommend choosing high quality, temporary-only dermal fillers and lip fillers for lip augmentation treatments by our stellar Cosmetic Injecting Team.

At Coco Ruby Skin & Anti-Ageing, the filler brand and volumising amount will be specifically chosen for you by our Cosmetic Physician (Dr Tina Purdon) and our Senior Injecting Nurse (Sandra Wallace), who have over 15 to 20 years experience administering cosmetic injectable treatments.

The temporary dermal volumisers (lip plumping fillers) will be administered using face-specific injecting strategies to help get you the BEST LIP injection results that still look NATURAL and in balance with the rest of your face. In other words, you won’t look “overdone”.

Plus, they’ll feel like YOUR lips – whereas the wrong filler types can feel and look unnatural.


lip augmentation lip filler to reduce lip lines and vertical smokers lines

The Coco Ruby Team are experts at treating upper lip lines and other signs of facial ageing.

Treatments include a variety of injectables, lasers, skin peels, cosmeceutical products and other high-tech methods of advanced skin rejuvenation.


We’ll help you get the best skin and lip line treatment advice and the right treatment for your specific skin and lip line concerns.

So if you want to remove those vertical upper lip lines, just get in touch with us today. 

We offer a range of treatments to help remedy this problem, along with other surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures for anti-ageing.

Our highly qualified and experienced Injectors & Clinicians will provide you with unique skin care advice – and tailored injection strategies – so that your investment in better lips really pays off.

To arrange a confidential skin assessment & injecting consultation with one of our highly-experienced Senior Injecting Nurse or with our Cosmetic Physician, Dr Tina Purdon in Hawthorn, just send an enquiry form today.  Or if it’s during clinic hours, you can phone (03) 8849 1444.

You’ll look fresher, younger and more attractive with reduced lines and wrinkles above your lips! 

Thanks for reading.  Click to read more injectables, skin care & rejuvenation blogs.

Subscribe to the Coco Ruby Newsletter

Be the first in the know about promotions, news and discounts. We look forward to helping you achieve smoother, firmer and healthier looking skin!

  • Sign Up to our newsletter
Like to make a Booking?
Contact us today


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.