Good-bye, Puppet Lines

This post is sponsored by Smart Beauty Guide, where I’m a regular contributor.

I have decided that the aging process is relentless. Not only is my body falling apart (I’m talking to you, plantar fasciitis!) but my face is starting to bely my age. Every woman has different challenges. I’m fortunate that my eyes still look pretty good, and my forehead isn’t too bad, although I do notice those pesky elevens showing up when I’m scowling, which I tend to do a lot. But what’s really getting to me is those lines around my mouth. Whatever you want to call them, laugh lines, frown lines, puppet lines, marionette lines . . . I am not amused.

Hello, 41!

The other day I made the mistake of bending over to pick up my keys, and I saw my reflection in the car window. I almost screeched in fright. I consoled myself with the fact that the car window doesn’t provide the most accurate reflection. But then I was scanning my daughter’s birthday pictures last week, and I saw them again. Pictures don’t lie, my friends. This is my reality.

I deleted the worst of them. I’m vain like that. But there are a few I didn’t want to erase because I was helping my daughter with her very first suitcase — the one she will carry with her on her very first solo plane flight this weekend. *sniff*

And now that I’m writing this post, I’m going to show them to you. Usually I only post photos of myself in the most flattering light. I even airbrush my closeups sometimes. I KNOW. I am vain. But this time, I’m going to show you the real deal. This is what I’m talking about right here.


I also see it glaringly in photos when I’m smiling. This picture is a good example, although sometimes it looks worse. These are the lines I talk about airbrushing out of some of my photos. (Thank goodness for PicMonkey!)


Now don’t go all telling me they don’t look that bad. No woman wants to hear that when she’s complaining about signs of aging. We want you to commiserate. Share in our tales of woe.

I know it’s not THAT BAD, but it’s just the beginning, you see. It’s not like it’s gonna get any better. It’s my new reality, and I guess I’m just going to have to come to terms with the fact that I may feel 25 on the inside, but I’m no spring chick anymore!

It’s time to fight back.

I did some internet research, thanks to The Google, and here is what I came up with.

These puppet lines around the mouth actually have a name, believe it or not. They’re called nasolabial folds. Pretty, huh? They’re caused by the ligaments around the mouth and chin loosening, which allows fatty tissue in cheeks to sag. How charming!

Of course, like any other signs of aging, prevention is the best medicine. If you’re young, stay out of the sun, take your makeup off at night, and implement a good skincare routine. And for the love, don’t smoke.

The good news is, once those pesky marionette lines take hold, there are some things you can do to lessen their appearance. You can stop smiling, for instance. I’ve considered it. I can be like those sultry models in the fashion magazines and just stare insolently at the camera. Or better yet, I will start looking off into the distance, as if there is something interesting to ponder in my family room while I wait for my camera timer to release.

Okay, nevermind. Who wants to stop smiling?

Botox is an option for women my age who are just starting to see these deep lines forming. Botox actually works as somewhat of a preventative. Its active ingredient, botulinum toxin, relaxes small muscles around the mouth that help create frowns, thus preventing or slowing the development of deeper lines. We all poke fun at the Hollywood mavens who have had so much Botox that their faces barely move, but it doesn’t have to be that extreme. It’s a fairly non-invasive procedure and has fairly reliable results and carries a low risk, however it is temporary and requires upkeep to maintain results. You can read more about Botox treatments on the Smart Beauty Guide website.

Of course I’m all for trying natural solutions first. Staying out of the sun and eating lots of antioxidant-rich foods such as berries, broccoli, and carrots helps keep the collagen and elastin below the surface of your skin strong, according to Web MD. Bring on the blueberries!

It’s also important to maintain your weight, they say. Easier said than done, but I guess that’s another reason to fight to stay in my size eights!

Supposedly retinol creams can help too. I already use one. In fact, I wrote all about my skincare routine last week!

Then there are facial exercises. Has anyone tried these? It sounds like a good idea, but I know myself. I can barely remember to do my exercises for this stupid plantar fasciitis that keeps plaguing me. I doubt I’ll keep up with facial exercises regularly, although every week when I put my Daily Mom Style posts together, I am reminded why I should!

So what’s your biggest aging challenge these days? Or are you still a spring chick and don’t have to worry about such matters for a while yet? Enjoy it, if you are! As for the rest of us, it’s good to know our options.

Join The Conversation

35 Responses

  1. I notice it most in my neck and under my chin. Is that crazy? I’m getting lines there though. It’s ridiculous. I’m rapidly approaching 40 and my neck and hands are beginning to look 80. I’ll never be able to leave the north, because I’ll need to wear a scarf every single day!

    I don’t currently use a wrinkle/fine line cream, but I need to. Stat!

  2. Count me in as part of the Botox crowd. I see it as a preventative. I’ve received injections for probably about four years and haven’t felt guilty ever since I saw the first round of results. I only have the “11”s on my forehead done…the practitioner has tried to talk me into doing my crows’ feet, too, but I’m afraid of looking too artificial. By the way, I’m 41, too.

    1. do you get headaches? About an hour after the injections, I get a month long headache. I am wondering if I should try again, but it’s happened 2/3 times I tried it. Additionally, it only lasted 6 weeks.

  3. I hate the lines on my forehead! I started noticing them a year or so ago (I’m almost 38) and now I can’t STOP noticing them. I’m seriously considering asking my hairstylist to cut bangs into my hair so I can hide those annoying lines!

  4. Oh girl, I have those too as well as many other things that make me feel old. Gray hairs? Check! Dark under eye circles? Check! Stretch marks? Check! I don’t stress too much old. I think I still look pretty damn good, all things considered 😉 My weapon is sleep. The more sleep I get the better I look and feel.

  5. I’m 44 and I love getting older. It’s such a privilege. Count me in the minority but I like every wrinkle–and they are on my forehead and around my eyes and starting to form around my lips. Still, I love my face. It’s lived-in and it’s seen a lot. I eat well and wear sunscreen–I take care of myself, but I look my age and don’t want to look any younger. I admit that my hair has not yet begun to grey significantly, but I never had the patience to have it highlighted so I doubt I will color it when the grey takes over. I’ll be the grey-haired granny in Dr Martens. But although I’ll easily take the wrinkles and grey strands, I am quite annoyed that my running has been crimped a bit–no plantar fasciitis, but a pesky IT band, neuromas and bunions. Sigh.

    1. I love how you call getting older a privilege. That is so true. I think about the young moms I know who have died and how much they would pay to still be here, wrinkles and all. I definitely don’t want to lose that perspective. I see some older women who are still so very pretty, not in a fake way, I know they haven’t been nipped and tucked. They have wrinkles but they keep themselves looking nice. I admire that ability to stay age appropriate and still look good. That’s what I’m going for. It IS disheartening, though, to see those lines start to form. I know it’s just part of life, but I’m trying to put it off as long as I can! 🙂

  6. Hmmm… you’re right, I’ve never noticed those lines in your pics (good job, PicMonkey!!), but honestly, I wouldn’t have realized that those are considered “aging” lines had you not told me. I’ve always found the “creases” around the mouth to be rather attractive, truth be told (think Bethenny Frankel-like).

    My aging issue? Those pesky forehead lines. Although I have to say, I’ve been using Philosophy’s Miracle Worker 3-step for about a month now, and I’m really noticing a difference. Even better, at the oral surgeon with my 18yo daughter this week, we were asked whether we were sisters. I’ll take it! 😉

    As for the facial exercises, my aesthetician at Aveda was actually telling me yesterday about a few that I could try. It’s worth giving them a go to see if they help, I suppose, especially if they can’t hurt! 😀

  7. I do Botox twice a year on my forehead and around my eyes. Even when it wears off completely, I have less wrinkles than I did three years ago (before I started). I can definitely attest to it being a great preventative! As for those marionette lines? I’ll probably look into fillers when the time comes, which may be soon. No shame in my game! 🙂

  8. I love your blog. I started following when I was “Googling” plantar fasciitis and your post came up. I’m 44, just ran my 1st half marathon in November (amazing experience by the way), all while experiencing very painful PF. I wear a boot at night, roll my foot on a frozen water bottle, bought the Medi-Dyne foot stretcher thing, the porcupine foot roller, porcupine calf roller and a big foam roller all in an effort to rid myself of this blasted pain. I lost 25 lbs while training for the half and now have only run twice since the race (6 miles, then 3 miles)…only because I love running and was having serious withdrawal. I’ve only gained 2 lbs back, but I’m so afraid of gaining more. I hate biking for exercise as an alternative. What are the exercises you do and how are you coping?

    1. It is so very frustrating, isn’t it???!! I am not coping well, to be frank. I was trying to get to the gym to do the rowing machine and stationary bike a few times a week but I’ve been too busy lately. Running is such a SIMPLE way to get your exercise. Just walk out the door and be done with it!! In January I’ll try to get back to the gym. I am probably going to get a cortisone injection. My physical therapist isn’t happy that I’m not getting better. Good luck to you, and keep me posted!!

      1. I don’t know how much you like running but any hard resistance against your face over a consistent period can damage the collagen already in your face. Google “runner’s face”.

  9. I have the same lines as well as my eyes. The lines started showing around 40, and now that I am pushing 50, they are more pronounced. People tell me that I don’t look my age, but when I look in the mirror, I see “older”. Gray hair and a torn rotator cuff doesn’t help me to feel any younger!

  10. Since I do virtual social media assistant work for a spa, I have access to Botox at a nice discount. And I agree that it can be used with out going crazy with it and freezing your face. 🙂 I don’t feel that I need it at the stage in my life, and have even gone so far as to say that my face will age as God intended it too. But when I’m much older and fight the age battle harder I just might feel differently. 🙂 For now though, microdermabrasions and dermaplaning facials are AWESOME! I highly recommend them no matter your age.

  11. Seriously? You look like you’re in your 30s. I hate my marionette lines and I’m 29. I think I have too much fat around my cheeks so it causes this funky ventriloquist dummy looking line on the side of my mouth. Thanks for sharing tho. Great article. I tried Juvederm Voluma before on different areas of my face and I think that’s better than botox because it lasts way longer and actually helps produce the collagen in your face instead of just numbing your face like botox. P.S. The link to the facial exercises doesn’t work. I know there are some youtube videos to help, but I have a hard time remembering to do them as well. I’m finally starting to remember to do my chin/jaw exercises while I drive. I think it’s actually making a slight difference, surprisingly. Good luck dear, although I think you’re absolutely gorgeous. 🙂

  12. I’m only 35 and have those and more things that I’m seeing. . . .sagging. And white hairs . . more every month. I get depressed because I’ feel like the only 35 year old with these issues.

  13. I’m looking into facial fillers as well….I’m 38 and my skin is pretty young looking other than some unfortunate sun damage from living in the Phoenix area and not being vigilant with the sun protection–I’m now doing the Curology thing, which is online dermatology where they mix you a custom medication (in a cream) to address your issues, you’ve got virtually constant access to a dermatologist, and it’s only $20 a month including the cream. I’m pretty impressed. BUT I’ve been stressing about my marionette lines for probably ten years now, and now I see them ALL the time. I do have a round face, which does NOT help, but this ridiculous sagging is killing me. Facial fillers can be overdone–look at a current photo of Donatella Versace, who was an early adopter and big proponent starting 20 years ago–so I pray that I will know when I need to back off and age gracefully.

  14. my 6 year old granddaughter decided to draw a portrait of me. I thought “oh how cute is she” TILL I SAW IT! I asked her, “what are those big, long,parenthesis lines around grammy’s mouth to the chin?” -thinking she was drawing a monster instead of me. She likes monsters. Nope, it was me alright..”grammy that’s on your face so I had to draw it in”. I am sick over it. I am wondering if I lose a little in my face, the fat underneath won’t drag the skin down. 🙁 oh well, she DOES love monsters.

  15. I am 30 yrs old, but started to get deep wrinkles around my mouth, slight dark circles/bags under my eyes, and my skin has been looking dry and rough — all adding together to generally make me look older. I started using the Somaluxe Rapid Line Filler about 2 weeks ago, and I have noticed significant improvement in my skin’s appearance. My skin feels and looks smoother with no dryness, looks clear and healthier in general. My under-eye bag/circle has also disappeared. I use it all over my face as a moisturizer, even though you are suppose to use it as a pot treatment. The results are significantly better than what I expected and it’s certainly worth the price.

  16. You could start taking Beef Collagen and Vit C which is a good way to boost your own collagen production. I have these lines too at age 35 but think mine is from constant swelling from hypothyroidism. I am going to give it a shot myself.

  17. I love your article! It really cracked me up as I can relate to everything you mentioned! Yes, this nasolabial fold is really driving me nuts. I did the facial exercises for about 2 weeks but I’ve been rushing every morning and can’t find the time to do it anymore. I promised myself to do them at nights but I can’t seem to fulfill that promise. Hopefully, I’ll start it again pretty soon and stick to it this time around.

  18. I’m having the exact same issue and it’s really gotten to my head and confidence! Did you do fillers or any kind of treatment? I’d love to be able to accept the aging process but it’s a real struggle for me.

    1. Hy Stacy, funny to look at this post that I wrote in 2015. I did FINALLY get fillers – last fall, for the first time. And I did get them in my cheeks and chin. It was not a fun procedure, and I had a reaction after – lots of itching, but it went away with ice and benedryl. The thing is, they don’t last, and they’re expensive, so I will have to decide if I want to keep doing them or just give up and age naturally. I’m not sure I want to start down this road b/c I feel like once you start, you’re doing SOMETHING every 6 mos or so… and I’d rather buy shoes. LOL! 🙂 🙂

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