As we age, many changes take place to our faces, including the development of the NL fold. The reasons for most NL folds is threefold: One, the malar (cheek) fat pads tend to move downwards and inwards- some say under the influence of gravity, and others blame the general breakdown of supportive structures such as collagen and elastin. Shrinkage of the facial bones may also be a factor. In women whose upper palate is small, and therefore doesn't "push out" the soft tissues that overlie it, may also have deeper folds. Breakdown of the skin's support structures, whether or not one's malar pads have descended, results in NL creases that resemble parenthesis lines (as opposed to deeper clefts). Sleeping on one's tummy or side, with the face scrunched into the pillow, or simply resting against it can also worsen folds. This is why one fold is often deeper than the other, depending on which side we sleep.
Cosmetic surgeons will tell you that even a mid face-lift will do little to improve the NL area -at least for the long term. There may be a slight and temporary lifting of the area, but the malar fat pad will soon move downwards and inwards again. Some surgeons are injecting fat into the area during a face lift but, again, this fat tends to be resorbed over a matter of weeks. Another option is an ePTFE (non reactive) implant. These are tubular and generally inserted through two small cuts made in the NL area
How we treat the NL fold in order to improve its appearance depends very much on what has caused the fold. In the case of a deep cleft, dermal fillers are a guaranteed way to see improvement, coupled with facial exercises that elevate the zygomaticus muscles, drawing up the malar cheek pad. (Some women have reported a worsening of the fold after doing facial exercises, but this effect generally reverses shortly after they stop. If you have NL folds, I would also avoid the exercises that engage the orbicularis oris muscle, as this can build up fast, in doing so, causing the outer upper lip area to stand out similar to that of a monkey.)
Women with more of a line or wrinkle in the NL area (parenthesis lines) are somewhat luckier as using a skin cream with targeted active ingredients can reduce early-stage lines. Active ingredients that work include peptides and Retin-A. Don't be afraid to really work the product into the fold by massaging upwards using a firm touch. Despite what many dermatologists might tell you, facial massage does not worsen wrinkles or parenthesis lines.
Some women have reported that using a skin roller (a gadget that resembles a miniature paint-roller with short needles sticking out from it) in the NL area has helped reduce the fold. This is quite likely since, if the spikes penetrate deep enough, the gadget behaves somewhat like a fractional laser, causing channels of damage that fill in with fresh collagen. The attraction of lymph to the damaged area will also cause a temporary improvement in the folds.
Recently, threads on unsponsored skincare forums have been touting the use of "green foods" to reduce nasolabial folds. While evidence is purely anecdotal, enough women have seen a difference to warrant further investigation. It is possible that a shift in internal pH caused by the ingestion of alkaline-causing green drinks helps reduce sagging in general. The weight loss that often accompanies the taking of greens drinks may also contribute to the "shrinking" of the malar fat pad and therefore its impact on deeper, cleft-like folds.
Here are the most effective ways to reduce nasolabial folds:
1. If you have clefts as opposed to parenthesis lines, do try facial exercise. There are a number of reputable programs available for download.
2. Don't over-exfoliate. Every layer of the epidermis has its function. Over-exfoliating-exfoliating may cause a thinned epidermis that provides less of a "girdle" effect, i.e. less tautness.
3. Use a skin cream that contains actives such as peptides (to increase cellular communication) and collagen boosters. Be careful of drugstore creams as they rarely contain enough active ingredient to really impact the skin.
4. Consider a dermal filler (injectable) Start with a temporary filler, as you want to make sure you like the result before having a semi-permanent or permanent filler.
5. If you are fine with the thought of ePFTE in your body, and have done your "due diligence" consider a tubular implant.
6. If your folds are not the deep line variety, use a lighter concealer within them, covered by a light-reflecting makeup. (Not a shimmery base as this will emphasize them.) A department store cosmetic consultant for any of the major brands will be able to point you to a light-reflecting makeup.
7. Some women are claiming a facial exercise/muscle stimulating works to lessen the folds. Also, a few report that an amber light device has helped.
Rosina de Maltby, http://www.middle-ageless.com