Nasolabial folds are common wrinkles that form alongside your inner cheeks. They stretch from the bottom of your nose to the corners of your mouth.

Everyone has these wrinkles to some degree, but they tend to get deeper with age, along with other factors.

While there are numerous types of wrinkle therapies available, dermal fillers tend to be the first line of treatment recommended by dermatologists.

Other treatments may be used instead, depending on the severity of the folds as well as other concerns, such as sagging skin.

Let’s go over the benefits and the risks so you can discuss these further with a dermatologist.

Dermal fillers are injectable compounds used in the treatment of facial wrinkles. They work by “plumping” the area of skin so that fine lines and deep wrinkles appear smoother.

All types of fillers help to stimulate collagen, a skin-plumping protein that you naturally lose with age.

The most common types of fillers for nasolabial folds contain hyaluronic acid. This clear substance is naturally produced in the skin and helps with firmness and hydration.

The following hyaluronic acid fillers are approved for the treatment of nasolabial folds:

A dermatologist may recommend other types of fillers for these types of wrinkles, including calcium hydroxylapatite (Radiesse) and poly-L-lactic acid (Sculptra).

Once a dermatologist has helped you determine the best type of filler, they’ll inject it directly into points along your nasolabial folds. Your body will eventually dissolve these fillers. Overall, the injectables last between 6 and 18 months.

Dermatologists typically recommend fillers for nasolabial folds over more invasive procedures, such as surgery. While individual results may vary, dermal fillers generally provide the following benefits:

  • increased collagen in the skin, which helps to plump up the targeted area
  • increased volume around the mouth area
  • an overall “lift” of the skin
  • the appearance of smoother and softer skin
  • minimal side effects
  • immediate results
  • the option to wear makeup after your treatment, if desired

At your consultation, a dermatologist will share their portfolio of work with you to help you get an idea of their expertise with fillers.

If you’re curious about what such results can look like, check out the following before and after pictures.

Dermatologists tend to recommend fillers for nasolabial folds instead of major surgery because this treatment option rarely poses the risk of infections, bleeding, and other side effects that surgeries can.

However, it’s still important to know that dermal fillers can cause minor side effects. These tend to go away within a couple of days. Talk to a dermatologist about the following risks:

  • bruising at the injection site
  • swelling
  • redness
  • skin rash
  • itchiness

Rare side effects include:

  • bleeding
  • damaged blood vessels
  • infection
  • scarring
  • necrosis (tissue death)
  • acne-like lesions

The exact cost of filler treatments for nasolabial folds depends on the brand name of the product and how much of it is needed. Costs may also vary by region.

Below are the estimated costs of dermal fillers used for nasolabial folds as of 2019:

  • calcium hydroxylapatite: $690 per syringe
  • hyaluronic acid: $652 per syringe
  • poly-L-lactic acid: $878 per syringe

Ask about your overall estimated costs before you undergo treatment. While medical insurance doesn’t cover aesthetic procedures like dermal filler treatments, you may be able to work with your provider to bring down the cost.

Ask about payment plans, preferred customer rewards, and manufacturer rebates.

The good news is that you don’t have to worry about missing out on work due to a dermal filler treatment. You may decide to go back to work the next day — or the very same day — depending on your comfort level.

Dermal fillers are noninvasive options for the treatment of deep wrinkles. If fillers don’t help you achieve the results you’re looking for, there are other more invasive ways you can help soften nasolabial folds.

Talk to a dermatologist about the following treatments:

  • Skin resurfacing. This procedure uses targeted laser treatments to remove skin cells.
  • Dermabrasion. Dermabrasion involves removing the top layer of skin to create a smoother appearance.
  • Skin tightening treatments. Treatments such as radiofrequency and ultrasound therapies may help stimulate collagen production.
  • Surgery. Surgeries such as a cheek lift or full facelift help tighten your skin and remove excess skin.

Everyone has nasolabial folds, but they can become more noticeable as you age because of natural collagen losses. When you lose collagen, your skin can become less firm and supple, thereby deepening these types of wrinkles.

Another reason nasolabial folds become more prominent with age is because of the tendency of cheeks to flatten out. As this occurs, your skin droops downward, deepening the folds around your cheeks.

There are other factors that you may be able to control. Chronic sun exposure has been found to contribute to skin aging (photoaging) by destroying elastin and collagen in the skin.

In turn, this can also make skin wrinkles like nasolabial folds more noticeable. Wearing sunscreen every day is a must to prevent cancers and photoaging.

Other risk factors for nasolabial folds include:

  • weight fluctuations
  • sleeping on your side
  • smoking

Quitting smoking can be difficult, but a doctor can help create a cessation plan that works for you.

Dermal fillers are often the first treatment option dermatologists recommend for nasolabial folds.

It’s generally safe and effective, without being as invasive and costly as surgery. Be sure to discuss all side effects and costs upfront before undergoing treatment.

Also, while fillers for nasolabial folds are long-lasting, they won’t provide any permanent results. Overall, these injectables last between 6 and 18 months, or when your skin fully dissolves the material.

Talk to a dermatologist if you want more dramatic results.