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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Parsons

I have smoker's lines but I don't smoke!

Are you frustrated about having "smoker's" lines around your lips and you've never smoked? You are not alone! This is a common complaint of a lot of people, having those pesky vertical creases around your lips that appear when we pucker, use a straw or just speak! And with time and continued motion of our mouths, these creases can become permanently etched in our skin.

You don't have to smoke to have smokers lip lines

Of course smoking makes these creases worse, but it is not the only cause of "smoker's" lip lines. The cause of these lip lines is due to thinning of the skin around our mouths and losing the strength of the natural white roll of the lip border, where the lip transitions from the pink color of the lip to the normal facial skin. It is this natural white roll that forms the transition or border between the actual lip and the skin surrounding the lip, where lip liner would be drawn. This white roll border is what usually prevents applied lipstick from bleeding or smudging away from the lip itself onto the surround skin. If you were to observe a child's lip, this natural white roll of the lip border is typically present and can be felt as a soft firmness that defines the border of the lip.

Lip lines and creases are also caused by the daily use of the mouth in everyday speaking. The facial expressions with using everyday speech causes the mouth to crease in the same areas repeatedly and over time, the creases become permanent.

So what can we do to address this pesky concern of lip lines? Thankfully, we have several options! The first problem issue I like to address when treating these lines, is to restore the strength of the natural white roll that has been lost. This is done by adding a hyaluronic acid filler directly into the white roll. By rebuilding and strengthening this natural border between the lip and the surrounding facial skin, the lips cannot collapse as easily like an accordion and form lip lines and creases, when we are speaking, eating or making other mouth motions. Hyaluronic acids that are typically used in this area of the lip include brand name fillers like Restylane and Juvederm.

These fillers are specifically designed to match natural lip softness and flexibility while providing moisture and strength. On average and for most people, hyaluronic acids injected into the lips last from 6 to 9 months. It is also possible extend the length of time hyaluronic acid lip fillers last by adding a topical product that prevents the normal breakdown and reuptake of the filler over time by the body. Natural hyaluronidase found in our skin normally, breaks down the hyaluronic acid found in lip fillers as well as the natural hyaluronic acid normally found in our skin. Hyaluronic acid in our skin binds water in the skin. With more hyaluronidase, that break down hyaluronic acid, we lose moisture in our skin and lips with age.

The product HA5 blocks the formation of hyaluronidase, so it increases the natural hyaluronic acid in our skin, thereby allowing more natural moisture in our skin and lips and extending the duration of injected hyaluronic acid lips filler!


Before and after treatment with Restylane

Another, easy fix, to address lip lines is to add Botox. Botox relaxes muscles. By relaxing the muscles around the mouth, it is possible to diminish the appearance of lip lines, expecially when speaking or puckering, such as when blowing a kiss. When you have botox injected around the mouth, of course maintaining function of the mouth is important. Such a small amount is injected so that you will still be able to speak, eat, smile normally! You will still be able to use a straw, whistle and kiss. You will likely not be able to more forcefully pucker, so that you will not be able to eat peanut butter off a spoon for example, or spit very well! But overall, even with these limitation, the results that we can get by using about 5 units of Botox, is well worth it to diminish lip lines. .

Another way to more permanently improve lips creases is to injected a collagen stimulator, such as Bellafill, to the skin around the lips, exactly where the lip creases are. With injection of Bellafill, you will see a smoothing of the lip lines right away, but also continued improvement over the next 8 weeks as new collagen is laid down and damaged collagen around the lips is remodeled, softening lips creases, for years to come afterwards. We can also stimulate collagen repair and remodeling of the skin around the lips with a platelet rich plasma (PRP) application by microneedling. PRP utilizes the powerful healing properties of the natural growth factors already in our blood and applying these healing growth factors directly into damaged skin to promote rapid healing and smoothing of the skin. .

Bellafill treatment before and after

Finally, another modality to permanently smooth the wrinkles found around the top lip in particular, is a laser resurfacing treatment. Laser resurfacing is a deep ablative treatments where the skin is ablated, or heated up in a controlled manner, and planed down to a depth where there are no wrinkles. The downtime for these treatment is fairly long, needing to apply Vaseline to the treated skin for at least 7 days, with another 4 weeks of noticeable redness, which can be covered up with makeup. Though the recovery is longer that all other skin treatments, the results are also the most dramatic and are the longest lasting and are considered permanent. .

Erbium fully ablative laser treatment before and after

These are the current best options for improving stubborn and annoying lip lines that causes our appearance to look older than we would like. I hope some of these options appeal to you and that you are able to take advantage of our August 2019 special, combining discounted hyaluronic acid fillers to be used in combination with HA5, to help your results last even longer. And enjoy a Color Science lip tint and plumper on us, while our supplies last. If you would like to see if you are a candidate for any of the treatments above, please give us a call to set up your free consultation and improve the appearance of lip lines sooner than later!

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