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I’m 37 now. And two years ago, I started to notice wrinkles around my mouth. If you thought I was going to tell you about an all-natural cream or DIY face mask to reverse the signs of aging, I’m not. I used something much more immediately effective to stop wrinkles around my mouth from getting worse.
Actually, to be more specific, it’s mostly one line one the left side of my mouth that’s becoming deeper as I age. What?! I just kind of assumed that it wouldn’t really happen to me.
Really? Tiff, you didn’t think you’d get wrinkles? Hey, I was young, and oddly enough, in terms of keeping me in a cloud of denial, it helped that my husband is five years older than me.
When we met I was only 18. Our circle of friends is older than me, mostly. I always looked much younger than the people around me. I was in high school. They were college grads. They were born in the 70s. I was born in the 80s. From their perspective, I didn’t even look like I was aging.
Looking younger became part of my self-identity. The young one. A kid. Youthful, glowing, young-looking skin. I didn’t think much about wrinkles. Didn’t need to, they weren’t going to happen to me.
But then, I noticed wrinkles on our friends, mostly around the eyes for the ladies and between the eyes for the guys. At first, I felt a combo of heartache and hubris.
(Hubris is just Latin for being a self-centered ego-freak jerk. I needed an “h” word to flow with heartache.)
Heartache because I don’t want them to look older. If our friends look older, that means we have to confront our parents getting older and all the things we still want to accomplish or we have to start settling for reality and we’re moving into a new phase in life and I was comfortable in the youthful phase and now our youth is gone and time is passing and you can never go back and ahhhh. Life is so short.
Hubris because deep in the back of my mind I thought, “better her than me.” What a jerk. As if I was so immune and not just five years younger. And, actually I also felt a little annoyed at my friends. Why wasn’t he taking better care of his skin? Why is he letting those creases get so deep? Lazy. After all, I had to look at his wrinkles and see my own mortality. And, shouldn’t looking at your friends’ face be all about you, anyway?
But then, pretty much the day after I turned 35, I saw this…
There’s no filter or editing on that photo. My skin is that fair.
Little did I know, but noticing my first real wrinkle on the left side of my mouth started me on a process. If you’re older than me, maybe you are already further down this process than I am. If you are younger than 37, consider this a heads up.
I started looking at older people, really noticing their wrinkles and wondering what they looked like when they were young and how they are coping with looking into the mirror at a face that shows time. How do they feel when they look at the lines on a loved one’s face?
Do they even see what I see? Do we all see our wrinkles differently? I don’t exactly stand in front of the mirror and try out all of my daily expressions so I know what they look like. Of course, a person’s perspective changes with age.
It’s more of a study now for me, a study of people almost like works of art. Art that shifts and changes every day. Interesting art. There’s a real beauty in aging. Isn’t there? You gain so much. You wear your life experiences on your face. You may resemble the people of the past – people you’ve lost – but you are your own. You get your own wrinkles. All yours.
What am I learning
Number 1, before you drive yourself crazy for no good reason…and before I give you any tips about how to stop wrinkles around your mouth, eyes or forehead, accept your wrinkles.
Find a place where you are ok with your wrinkles, your friends’ wrinkles, your parents’ wrinkles. And take the shortest road from here to that place.
Accept that you are growing older, like you did when you were a kid, like back when you viewed aging as moving toward something good not away from your youth. Worry about things you can really impact in your life, not the things that are inevitable.
I lost two cousins my age over the past two years. Most of us know someone who would gladly trade places with us and our wrinkle worry. Accept a wrinkle here and there and smile bigger. Make more laugh lines because you’re alive if you’re reading this.
Someone who has a real, serious health problem doesn’t have the luxury to sit around and ponder his wrinkles. Someone out there isn’t worried about one small wrinkle around her mouth because she’s got to face her mortality in much more painful or real ways.
Ok, that’s on the table now. Big reveal…
Stopping my wrinkle
Alright so, you came here to find out the key step I took to stop the wrinkles around my mouth. I told you it wouldn’t be a cream or peel, and you know it’s all-natural because that’s my whole gig.
It was a pillow. A very specific pillow.
Following my 35th birthday, and the aforementioned appearance of the wrinkle that started it all, I spent a month or so doing internet searches, trying stuff, buying stuff, and asking people what they do to stop wrinkles. I studied my laugh line during different parts of the day, before wine/after wine, before/after coffee, and before/after sleep.
During that time, it become more about educating myself than scrutinizing my face or my vanity. It started to become a personal experiment on my little wrinkle guinea pig.
Making some switches
After a month’s worth of research, I was pretty well convinced that satin should be part of the equation. A general lack of sleep, not drinking enough water and sleeping with my face all scrunched up on the edge of my foam-rubber pillow was making the wrinkle worse, but research suggested a smooth, gentle satin pillowcase would at least help with one of those things.
Plus, every morning when I woke up, I noticed the wrinkle was deeper and would smooth out over the day. Yet, at night I could feel myself getting into a cozy position with my face scrunched up on the wrinkle, like folding a piece of paper in half and running your finger down the crease. Every night.
My super secret find to stop wrinkles around my mouth was actually this x-shaped satin pillow.
I put this x-shaped satin pillow on top of my cozy, squishy foam rubber pillow every night. I even travel with it, and this one, all-natural, inexpensive trick helped stop my wrinkle in its tracks.
The criss-cross shape let’s me rest my chin and forehead on the satin and my cheek in the space between. My skin stays flat or slightly taught all night instead of scrunched up on the edge of my old cotton pillowcase.
As a result, my wrinkle is still 35 even though I will be 38 next month.
My perspective is better. Left-side-of-my-mouth wrinkle will get deeper over time. And, I will smile at it. We’re cool now. I’ve grown accustomed to the small shift in my appearance since that wrinkle happened.
Not to mention that I realized the one slightly crooked tooth I have on the bottom will influence my smile and probably keep my future wrinkles pretty asymmetrical around my mouth. Ok. No problem. Sounds structural and I like my crooked mouth, it is jaw-droppingly similar to my great, great grandmother’s smile. Nice connection to the past.
Was that the only thing?
No. But, I do think the x-shaped satin pillow was the most impactful change I made to stop my wrinkle. The results were almost immediate. When I woke up the first morning with my new pillow, the line wasn’t any deeper.
That said, at least three other small, all-natural changes I made in recent years probably helped, too, but this post is long enough, don’t you think? I’ll cover those another time.
While I put those posts together, I have a few other skincare posts you might enjoy:
My clothes are selected by an online stylist at Stitch Fix. I pay a styling fee. They ship me boxes of clothes to try on. I send back what I don’t want through the USPS and pay for just the items I keep. Love it. Get a box every month.