What Are Marionette Lines? 9 Ways To Get Rid of Them

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Marionette lines are subtle yet noticeable creases extending from the corner of the mouth to the jawline.

These lines that appear on the face are a common concern for many individuals.

Marionette lines can ultimately affect your self-confidence as they can give you an aged and tired appearance.

A woman is showing a picture of her face before surgery with a smart phone.

The good news is that various treatments and preventive measures are available to address and minimize the appearance of marionette lines.

This article will delve into the definition, causes, treatment options, and prevention methods of marionette lines. We’ll also address some questions you might have about this wrinkle.

Continue reading to know more!

What Are Marionette Lines?

Marionette lines, often called laugh lines or puppet lines, are vertical creases that form on the sides of the mouth and extend downward toward the jawline.

These lines cause the face to look downturned or saggy, contributing to a less youthful appearance.

What Causes Marionette Lines?

It’s natural to wonder where the marionette lines on the face come from.

Let’s look closely at what causes these lines. Here are some of them:


Marionette lines show up as signs of aging. They appear because your skin loses two important proteins: collagen and elastin.

Collagen keeps your skin plump, while elastin helps it stay flexible. The human body produces these proteins naturally, but as we age, the production decreases.

As a result, we become more susceptible to the effects of gravity, and our skin becomes more prone to sagging, creating marionette lines in the process.


Genetics can influence the appearance of marionette lines.

You might have these lines if your parents or grandparents have them too. Genetics are like a pattern that can impact how our skin ages and make us more likely to develop these wrinkles.

Prolonged Sun Exposure

While the sun’s warmth is comforting, it can also lead to marionette lines.

Not using sunscreen on your face exposes your skin to UV rays that can break down collagen and elastin early. 

As a result, puppet lines and other signs of aging can appear sooner.

Repeated Frowning

Often, we frown when we’re upset, disappointed, sad, or angry. However, this habit can lead to marionette lines forming over time as our skin deteriorates with age. The repeated movement of facial muscles will eventually lead to the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin.

After all, these lines result from how we move our faces as we react to feelings and interactions.


For smokers, preventing marionette lines could be another incentive to quit. Smoking harms your health and also affects your skin.

It slows blood flow, which means less nutrients and oxygen for your skin. This nutrient and oxygen deficiency can lead to the formation of marionette facial lines and other wrinkles.

Who Is Prone to Marionette Lines?

Marionette lines are a natural part of aging, so older people are likelier to have them. However, certain habits and lifestyle factors can influence their development and visibility.

As a result, some people might find themselves more prone to developing these lines.

For example, if you’re a smoker, you’re more susceptible to forming marionette lines.

If you frown a lot or don’t use sunscreen on your face, you might notice marionette lines appearing sooner or more deeply etched.

Extreme Closeup on the mouth of a middle-aged woman.

What Age Do Marionette Lines Appear?

Marionette lines typically become more noticeable as a person enters their 40s.

However, the appearance of these lines can vary from person to person based on genetics, lifestyle, and overall skin health. 

Some may already notice faint lines around their mouth and chin in their 20s.

How Do I Get Rid of Marionette Lines?

Numerous treatment options are available to address these wrinkles and restore a more youthful appearance.

In fact, you’ll be glad to discover that getting rid of marionette lines without surgery is possible.

Let’s explore some of the most effective methods:

1. Laser Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing is one of the best ways to get rid of marionette lines. It offers a less invasive alternative to address wrinkles without requiring face-lift incisions.

This method involves using lasers to rejuvenate damaged layers of the skin. These lasers emit energy that targets water molecules within collagen, leading them to break down or vaporize.

This vaporization triggers the skin’s natural repair process, resulting in smoother skin and youthful radiance.

Though this option is effective, it has potential risks. It can cause scarring and increased pigmentation.

The outcomes are long-lasting, but you may require periodic treatments a few times a year.

2. Chemical Peels

While they may not tackle deep marionette lines, chemical peels can help soften the appearance of early lines around the mouth.

This way of treating marionette lines works by gently removing the outer skin layer and sometimes parts of the middle layer. It helps lessen facial wrinkles and age spots by revealing rejuvenated skin.

If you’re considering a chemical peel, it’s good to let your health provider know if you use retinoids or facial acids as these might make your skin sensitive.

3. Thread Lift

From the name itself, a thread lift involves lifting sagging skin on the face with a thread.

A special thread studded with tiny cones is placed just beneath your skin. These cones grab your skin tissue and hoist your skin to a higher spot.

This procedure is done with local anesthesia, and recovery takes just a few days, though there might be some swelling and bruising.

4. Microneedling

Microneedling, also called collagen induction therapy, boosts skin cell production by making small holes in the skin.

Aestheticians perform this technique using a device that has tiny needles to create micro-injuries to the skin. This stimulates collagen and elastin production.

Microneedling improves skin texture and treats moderate lines and wrinkles. While it may not remove deep marionette lines, this procedure has a lot of benefits.

You can also try RF microneedling, which combines microneedling with radiofrequency energy to enhance outcomes.

5. Injectable Fillers

Injectable fillers, also known as dermal fillers, can be used to improve the appearance of marionette lines.

Dermal fillers work by adding volume to or relaxing the muscles of the treated areas, thereby reducing the appearance of wrinkles and restoring a more youthful and smoother facial contour.

Woman having lip treatment for the elevation of mouth corners and removing of marionette lines

Here are some of the most common types of injectables:

  • Dermal fillers

    Dermal filler treatments restore volume and plump the skin for a youthful appearance.

    These fillers contain substances like poly-l-lactic or hyaluronic acid to boost collagen and enhance skin elasticity.

    Hyaluronic acid fillers show immediate results, while poly-L-lactic acid promises gradual results.

    Note that dermal fillers for marionette lines can help with sagging, but excess use may worsen the issue by creating an unnatural look.
  • Botox

    Botox injections are popular for reducing wrinkles, including marionette lines, around the mouth and eyes.

    They gently relax muscles under the injection area, resulting in smoother skin and fewer wrinkles. Irritation or minor bruising at the injection site might occur.

    Botox for marionette lines should be done every three to four months. This filler is particularly effective in the early wrinkle stages.

6. Retinoids

Retinoids, derived from vitamin A, are excellent treatments for wrinkles, acne, and sun damage. They gradually refine the skin by enhancing collagen and elasticity.

While they cannot remove deep marionette lines, retinoids offer smoother and firmer skin over time. As a result, marionette lines will appear less noticeable.

7. Vitamin C

One of the many ways to get rid of marionette lines naturally is vitamin C or ascorbic acid intake.

Vitamin C acts as a powerful antioxidant for your skin, which reduces the appearance of wrinkles like marionette facial lines.

8. Topical Treatments

To minimize marionette lines, consider adding an anti-aging serum to your daily skincare routine if you haven’t already. Ideally, it is best to start using serums when you notice initial facial wrinkles.

Serums containing retinol, ceramides, peptides, vitamin C, and vitamin E are proven to improve skin tone and texture and address wrinkles.

9. Surgery

This option, where a face-lift repositions fat and tightens tissue, is often hailed as the best treatment for marionette lines.

Note that surgery is usually just considered when other treatments don’t work. After all, it is expensive. It also prompts the need for anesthesia and calls for a longer recovery than other treatments. 

Less invasive methods give similar results without surgery’s drawbacks.

How To Conceal Marionette Lines With Makeup

If you want to hide marionette lines without visiting a dermatologist, makeup can be a great option.

Here’s how you can achieve this:

  1. Start with your foundation as a base.
  2. Apply a cream concealer after your foundation.
  3. Gently dab the concealer onto your skin, especially on the lower part of your face where marionette lines appear.
  4. Set everything with a setting powder using a large makeup brush.

Enhance your eye makeup to divert focus from your lower face if desired.

How To Prevent Marionette Lines

Prevention is key to minimizing the development of marionette lines.

Here are some effective strategies:

1. Follow a Skin Care Routine

To prevent wrinkles, follow a simple routine: cleanse your face twice daily, use sunscreen, remove makeup before bed, and use anti-aging serum and moisturizer.

Maintaining a consistent skincare routine can be a great way to protect your skin from premature aging and helps prevent the development of marionette lines as you age.

A woman getting a facial injection while wearing hair net and laying down

2. Stay Away From the Sun

Protect your skin from the sun to prevent skin sagging that leads to the development of smile lines. Use a sunscreen that contains at least SPF 30 daily and wear hats for added protection against sun exposure.

Avoid strong UV rays by staying out of direct sunlight from late morning to early afternoon.

3. Get a Good Amount of Sleep

Prioritize good sleep for healthy skin. Poor sleep can cause premature aging and weaken the skin barrier.

Aim to sleep on your back more often. Sleeping on your stomach or side puts pressure on the face and encourages the development of wrinkles, including marionette lines.

4. Have a Healthy Diet

Hydrate your skin by drinking water, but do not overlook the benefits of eating healthy food to help nourish your skin internally. Opt for wrinkle-fighting foods like vegetables and fish.

Remember, taking care of your skin from within complements external skin care for a radiant glow. It’s all about achieving a healthy look!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Marionette Lines Make You Look Older?

Marionette lines often show up in your early to mid-40s, making you look older than your actual age.

However, it’s worth noting that wrinkles are a natural part of life’s journey. There are ways to manage and embrace them while feeling confident and comfortable in your skin. 

You can commit to a robust skincare routine, maintain a healthy lifestyle, have professional treatments done, and use flattering makeup techniques.

Does Smiling Cause Marionette Lines?

Repeated facial movements like frowning and grimacing can contribute to forming marionette lines as your skin deteriorates. 

When you smile or laugh, your facial muscles contract, leading to the formation of dynamic wrinkles.

Over time, the repetitive movement of these muscles, combined with factors like a decrease in collagen and elastin, can contribute to more permanent lines, including marionette lines.

These lines might appear where your skin naturally folds due to these frequent facial muscle motions. 

However, the main cause of marionette lines is still the deterioration of your skin’s quality in that particular area of the face. It may or may not be because of smiling.

Do Marionette Lines Get Worse With Weight Loss?

When you shed a lot of weight, your skin might lose volume. This volume loss can lead to skin sagging and the appearance of lines.

Remember, though, that maintaining a healthy weight is great for your overall well-being. There are ways to care for your skin during weight loss to help keep it looking its best. Some of these ways include the following:

Are Marionette Lines Bad?

Marionette lines are a natural part of aging and are not inherently harmful. However, if they impact your self-confidence, treatments are available to address them.

These lines can be effectively treated and minimized through a combination of medical treatments, skin care routines, and lifestyle adjustments.

Whether you choose non-invasive procedures or embrace preventive measures regarding the treatment of marionette lines, taking care of your skin and addressing these wrinkles can help you look and feel your best at any age.

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  • Stephanie Martin

    Stephanie Martin blends her beauty industry background with expertise in communications to lead in the fashion and beauty world. As a fashion and beauty editor, she is known for engaging and informative articles. Her lifelong passion for fashion, makeup, and hair shines through her work, earning her widespread respect among readers and clients. Stephanie's style, a mix of classic and contemporary, makes her a dynamic and influential figure in the industry, inspiring others with her knowledgeable and approachable insights.

  • Emily Zink

    With ten years in healthcare, Emily Zink bridges adult and pediatric medicine with cosmetic dermatology. A certified Family Nurse Practitioner, she's an expert in treatments like Botox, Dysport, and Sculptra, also diagnosing skincare concerns and offering wellness counseling. Specializing in neuromodulators and dermal fillers, Emily leads injections at her practice.

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