Forget Crow's Feet—Here's Why We're Looking Into Bunny Lines

A derm explains all.

close-up of woman wrinkling nose

Jonathan Knowles / Getty Images

While certainly cuter-sounding than crow’s feet, "bunny lines" can be no less irritating. The phrase is another way to refer to nose wrinkles; these tiny creases around the nose are actually pretty common, and are nothing to be ashamed of. First and foremost, what exactly are they? Dr. Jody Levine says bunny lines are small, slightly diagonal wrinkles on both sides of the nose, right below the bridge. While they can be annoying, they aren't harmful, and you can totally leave them alone if you'd prefer.

They often appear more pronounced when you smile or laugh, so they may not be super visible when your face muscles are at rest. As you get older, nose wrinkles, like most wrinkles, will likely deepen over time. That said, there are some things you can do to minimize the appearance of nose wrinkles if they are bothering you. Keep reading to find out what exactly nose wrinkles are and what you can do about them.

Meet the Expert

  • Jody Levine, MD, is a New York City dermatologist.
  • Anthony Youn, MD, is a holistic plastic surgeon and author in Troy, Michigan.

Why Nose Wrinkles Are Called Bunny Lines

The cutesy nickname has a pretty obvious origin—the lines form when you wrinkle your nose bunny-style while laughing or smiling. "These small lines typically occur when a person scrunches up their nose, similar to when a bunny lifts its nose," says Dr. Andrew Youn.

How Do You Know If You Have Nose Wrinkles?

woman wrinkling nose

Not sure if you have them? Try this little test: Scrunch up your nose—see those lines down your nose? Now relax your face. Did those little wrinkles stick around or disappear? If you can see them, those are nose wrinkles.

What Causes Nose Wrinkles?

As with all expression lines, these wrinkles are typically caused by repeated facial movements in the area, like wrinkling your nose. “Certain people are more prone to getting bunny lines based on the way that they make their facial expressions,” Levine says. “Some people crinkle up their nose when they laugh. Other people never crinkle their nose, so they do not get bunny lines.” But there’s another way to develop these lines; Levine says they can also show up as a result of too much Botox between your eyebrows. If you start to see your nasal muscles overcompensating, cool it on the between-the-brows injections.

How to Treat Nose Wrinkles

young girl laughing

Studio Firma / Stocksy

“The best way to treat bunny lines is to use just a bit of Botox on each side of the nose to smooth these wrinkles,” Levine says. You’ll see results right away, which will continue to improve over the next few days and typically last three to four months. “The idea is to weaken or paralyze the muscles that bunch the skin to make the bunny line wrinkles,” says Levine.

Youn concurs with the Botox recommendation. "Small injections of Botox on the sides of the nose can relax the muscles that cause these wrinkles and smooth the areas out." Just be sure not to overdo these injections, which could lead to a frozen look or feel in that part of the face. "Because the cause is underlying muscles, no skin care products or topical treatments are anywhere near as effective as Botox," Youn adds.

Although topical skincare alone won't fully erase wrinkles that are already present, certain ingredients can lessen their appearance. Try incorporating retinol into your routine —and don't forget to apply SPF on the sides of your nose.

How to Prevent Nose Wrinkles

retinol booster
Paula's Choice 1% Retinol Booster $52.00

How do you prevent them before they appear? "Avoiding scrunching your nose is the first thing, but that isn't always realistic," notes Youn. All wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process, so it can be difficult to prevent them entirely (the truth hurts sometimes). But a good anti-aging skincare regimen is always beneficial. Just knowing what you’re up against can make a world of difference.

If you’re a nose-crinkler and you know it, you can be conscious of your repeated facial expressions and try to avoid scrunching your nose as much as possible. You can incorporate a retinol serum—available both over-the-counter and in stronger doses as a prescription—into your routine, making sure to apply it on the sides of the nose. “Additionally, you can receive preventative Botox injections in the area to relax the muscles and limit repeated expressions,” Levine says.

Up next, everything you need to know about the "baby Botox" trend.

Related Stories