How To Remove Wrinkles In Lightroom (Fast & Easy!)

If you’re editing portraits, you’ll likely need to know how to soften wrinkles on a person’s skin. Luckily, this is a simple process – you don’t need to use any difficult or high-level tools. In fact, you can easily remove wrinkles in Lightroom in a few simple steps using the Healing Brush. 

How To Soften & Remove Wrinkles In Lightroom

Step 1: Find And Select The Healing Brush

Lightroom comes with a set of brushes that you can use to heal, clone, or change specific pixels in an image rather than the image as a whole. You can use these brushes to remove blemishes and soften skin. Each tool has a different effect, and the one that works best for removing wrinkles is the Healing Brush

To use the Healing Brush Tool, start with the image you’d like to edit open in the Develop module. 

Click the Healing Tool, which sits between the Histogram and the Basic tabs on the right.

The Healing panel will open, and you’ll see several icons at the top to choose from. These are the different brushes you can use on your image: The Content-Aware Remove Tool, the Healing Tool, and the Clone Tool. Select the middle icon, which is the Healing Brush Tool.

I’ll show you the differences between the Healing Brush Tool and another of the options, the Clone Tool, later on. They are quite similar but have one vital difference that makes the Healing Brush Tool the better choice.

Step 2: Set The Healing Brush Tool Settings

For the best results with the Healing Brush Tool, you’ll want to ensure the brush’s settings have been set correctly. The settings available for the Healing Brush Tool are Size, Feather, and Opacity

You can set the Size of the brush based on the size of the area you’re editing – you want the brush to be able to cover the individual wrinkles and a bit of the area around them. Keep the Feather set to 100 so the brush blends in with the surrounding area.

The Opacity will automatically be set to 100%, but you can drag the toggle down to about 60-70%. With the opacity set to 100, the smoothing effect of the Healing Brush Tool can actually remove the skin’s texture, resulting in an unrealistic appearance. With a lower Opacity, the wrinkles won’t fully disappear, but they won’t appear as deep and will be much less noticeable.

Note the difference between the effect on the lower left corner below the eye, set to 100% opacity and 70% opacity.

You can see that, in the image on the right, a bit more texture is visible in the bottom left corner of the eye, while the image on the left has almost entirely smoothed the skin.

Step 3: Heal A Wrinkle In The Image

Once you’ve set the settings for the Healing Brush Tool, click and drag along one or a few of the wrinkles in the photo to heal the area.

The Healing Brush Tool will pull pixels from an area of the image near the area you brushed over and uses these pixels to “heal” the spot, covering it and smoothing it out. 

You can click inside the sampled area and drag it to a new spot. You want the sampled pixels to match your desired color and texture as closely as possible. A good sample area would be a smooth part of the woman’s face, like her forehead.

Now, before we heal the rest of the image, let’s look at the difference between the Healing Brush Tool and the Clone Tool. 

The Clone Tool acts similarly to the Healing Brush Tool by pulling pixels from a nearby area to cover a spot. However, rather than “blending” the pixels with those of the original spot for a natural effect, the tool directly clones the sampled pixels. 

See the difference in the wrinkles covered by the Healing Brush Tool above and the Clone Tool below.

As you can see, the area covered by the Clone Tool is a direct replica of the sampled pixels rather than a natural-looking blend. This can be helpful in some cases, like if you’re trying to cover something distracting in an image. 

But the tool has to be used carefully, as observant viewers may notice the cloned pixels. For the purpose of covering wrinkles and blemishes, the Healing Brush Tool is the best option.

Step 4: Remove All Wrinkles In The Image

Once you’ve practiced and are comfortable using the Healing Brush Tool, continue to brush over the wrinkles in your image until you’re satisfied with the final picture. You just need to repeat the healing and clone adjustments over all the wrinkles on your subject until you are happy with the result.

The image above shows that while the woman’s wrinkles have been considerably softened, the effect still looks like her own skin.

If you want to remove any brushed sections, simply right-click or Control + click any of them and select Delete from the list of options.

You’ve learned one of the many uses of Lightroom’s Healing Brush Tool, which you can now utilize whenever you need to fix wrinkles or blemishes in your images. 

Article By

Brendan Williams

Hey, I'm Brendan! I'm a professional photographer and photo retoucher who has spent the majority of his career shooting or retouching outdoor lifestyle and social media campaigns for brands like G-Adventures, xoxo Bella, P&G, Fitbit, Chevy, Tourism California, and more. These days I primarily focus my efforts on this site, creating guides and tutorials that I wish I had earlier in my career. Each week I publish new tutorials on Photography, Photoshop, Lightroom, and Canva to help you unlock new skills and bring your creativity to new levels! Everything you learn here is backed by real experience, so you can finally skip the fluff and focus only on what matters.

Continue Reading:

How To Invert Colors In Photoshop

Learn how to quickly invert the colors of an image or a layer mask in Photoshop along with tips to selectively invert your colors instead!

How To Invert A Selection In Photoshop

Learn the importance of learning to invert a selection in Photoshop with the help of simple keyboard shortcuts and several other methods.

How To Use The Gradient Tool In Photoshop

Learn the ins and outs of how to use the gradient tool in Photoshop with useful tips to help make the most of this impressive tool!

Adobe Lightroom System Requirements For Mac & PC

Here's a breakdown of the system requirements for Adobe Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC to make sure it will run smoothly on your computer.

How To Add A Watermark In Lightroom Classic & CC

Learn how to add a text or graphic watermark to a photo in Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC to protect your photos from theft.

How To Use Dehaze In Lightroom

Learn how to use dehaze in Lightroom along with five different ways you can use the dehaze tool to improve your images in Lightroom.

35+ Best Fonts For Logos In Canva

Here's a list of the best fonts for logos in Canva to help give you inspiration in your next logo design!

How To Create Curved Text In Canva

Learn how to quickly create curved text in Canva desktop and mobile with just a few clicks to spruce up any design!

35 Best Fonts For Teachers In Canva

Discover the best fonts for teachers in Canva to help with your next worksheet or presentation for your class!

The 9 Best SD Cards For Sony

Discover the best SD cards for Sony to find the most reliable and best valued memory cards for your photo and video needs.

The Best Canon Lens For Low Light (10 Top Picks)

Get a complete view of the best Canon lenses for low light photography and video along with tips to make the right buying decision.

Affinity Photo VS Photoshop – Which Should You Choose?

Let's take a deep look at the similarities and differences between Affinity Photo and Photoshop to see which program you should pick.