Options for Treating Vertical Upper Lip Lines

Over time, exposure to sun, pollutants, smoking or the natural aging process can take a toll on the face, causing wrinkles and a loss of facial volume, among other visible signs of aging. One of the peskier problems that can occur is the appearance of vertical lines above the upper lip, also known as vertical rhytids. These vertical upper lip lines are bothersome not only because they are a reflection of the aging process but because they can affect makeup application. For instance, if you have vertical upper lip lines, you may have noticed that applying lipstick causes the lipstick color to bleed into these lines.

The good news is that New York City plastic surgery provider Dr. Joshua Greenwald offers several treatment options to improve the look of your vertical upper lip lines.

Laser Skin Resurfacing

Dr. Greenwald offers two types of laser skin resurfacing treatment to improve the appearance of vertical rhytids: superficial ablative and fractional resurfacing. Ablative laser skin resurfacing treatment is designed to remove the superficial layers of skin, revealing fresher, healthier underlying skin with less wrinkles, or lines.

Fractional laser skin resurfacing is a more aggressive treatment option to improve the look of more severe vertical upper lip lines. With this option, Dr. Greenwald directs laser energy into the deeper layers of skin, causing slight perforations in the deeper tissue layers. This stimulates the body’s natural production of collagen, a protein that is essential for healthy, young-looking skin. The heat from the laser energy also helps tighten skin. The combination of enhanced collagen production and tighter skin helps improve the look of wrinkles in the treated area.


Dr. Greenwald also offers dermabrasion to treat very deep vertical upper lip lines. Similar to ablative skin resurfacing, dermabrasion is designed to remove the outer layers of skin. This traditional technique for “sanding” away superficial skin cells is very effective; however, it must be used sparingly to avoid the risk of hypertrophic scarring, or scars that are raised from the surface of skin.

Injectable Treatment

New York City plastic surgeon Dr. Greenwald can use injectable dermal fillers such as Juvéderm, or the patient’s own grafted fat, to add volume to the top border of the upper lip; this, in turn, fills in lip lines above the mouth. This is a good option for patients who would also like to enhance the lips.

For patients with very deep vertical upper lip lines, Dr. Greenwald can inject a dermal filler or natural fat directly into the lip lines.

Additional Treatment Options

For optimal aesthetic results, Dr. Greenwald can combine different treatment options, such as performing laser skin resurfacing and adding volume with an injectable filler or grafted fat. Another option would be for the plastic surgeon to perform both ablative and fractional laser skin resurfacing treatment.

He may also suggest a cosmetic surgery procedure such as surgical lip enhancement to augment the vertical size of the lip vermilion (the top border up the upper lip) permanently, thus reducing the appearance of upper lip lines.

To schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Greenwald to find out which of these treatment options is best for you, please contact his practice by calling (914) 421-0113.

Dr. Joshua Greenwald is a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City who studied and trained at prestigious educational institutions including Columbia University, Emory University, and New York University School of Medicine. His keen aesthetic eye and refined surgical techniques have led him to be a top choice for cosmetic face, breast, and body procedures in NYC. His exceptional patient care has earned him the distinction of “Top Doc” by both Westchester Magazine and Castle & Connolly for over 10 years running. Dr. Greenwald is an active member of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the American Medical Association, and the Westchester County Medical Society.