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.

puppet-lines

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!)

laugh-lines

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.