One of the most common complaints we hear from patients is the appearance over time of vertical lip lines, commonly referred to as “smoker’s lines” or “lipstick lines”. These stubborn wrinkles are caused by a variety of factors, including age, genetics, repetitive lifestyle habits, and in some individuals, smoking.
Vertical lip lines, or wrinkles around the lips is not always caused by smoking, despite its common reference as smokers lines. In fact, they are mostly caused by repetitive regular lip movements, and in some individuals are hard to avoid. These lines are noticeable when lipstick “bleeds” into these fine lines, which earns these wrinkles their other common name “lipstick lines”.
As with all wrinkles, preventing their formation or deeper etching of these lines is the first line of defense.
- Use sunscreen regularly to protect collagen breakdown
- Stop smoking, if you do smoke. Even occasional smoking greatly expedite the formation of these lines!
- Frequent use of straws or drinking from a water bottle nozzle causes the firm pursing of the lips that can lead to these lines! Drink from a glass, or from pour bottles of water instead of the sports topped bottles.
Once these vertical lip lines develop, treatment usually requires a soft approach so the area still looks natural, but without the lines.
Restylane Silk is the newest product to treat these pesky wrinkles. Restylane Silk is the newest filler on the block approved by the FDA this year. It is the softer, thinner sister filler to the classic Restylane, which has been approved since 2005 for the treatment of facial wrinkles and smile lines or the parenthesis lines (nasolabial folds). Setting it apart from other fine line fillers like Belotero, Restylane Silk contains the anesthetic lidocaine to improve comfort during the procedure.
Restylane Silk is composed of hyaluronic acid, a naturally found sugar molecule in the body. Our natural supply of hyaluronic diminishes over time with age, and fine lines and loss of collagen occurs as a result. Because of its unique small particle size, Restylane Silk can re-deliver this naturally plumping substance to minimize fine vertical smoker’s lines.
In FDA studies, 98% of participants treated with Restylane Silk reported an improvement in lip wrinkles. Over 75% of subjects still showed improvement 6 months after their initial injection. There is no downtime to the procedure, and the treatment takes approximately 30 minutes.
Other Treatment Modalities
Because “smokers lines” are so pesky, sometimes multiple treatment methods may be needed to result in complete correction.
- We often use very small, expertly injected amounts of Botox around the mouth to relax the repetitive pursing that causes etching or deepening of these lines. This not only helps the appearance of smoker’s lines by relaxing the muscles that cause vertical lip lines, but it can also improve the longevity of a product like Restylane Silk.
- Topical creams containing retinoids or polyhydroxy acids can gently resurface and thicken the collagen in the deeper layers of the skin, helping to soften these wrinkles. At The Derm Institute, we love our SkinLab Airbrush Retexurizing Cream, as it contains resurfacing acids and antioxidants to smooth the appearance of fine lines.
- Physician strength chemical peels can remove the upper layers of the skin, allowing new skin to grow and plump the area, diminishing the appearance of these lines. Deeper peels, including phenol, TCA, and Baker-Gordon-Phenol are handled only by Dr. Chiu can be effective to soften this area around the mouth.
- Dermarolling or the use of Rejuvapen (link) utilizes neocollagenesis, or the production of new collagen stimulated by microinjury induced by tiny needles to soften fine lines and improve skin texture. This is a great, cost effective way to treat this area.
- Fractional ablative and non-ablative lasers can cause microzones of collagen repair which resurface vertical lip lines.
Subtle, artful and expert treatment is key, as this area can easily look “done” or overfilled. But in experienced hands, smokers lines can be totally banished. Dr. Chiu is an injector trainer for fillers including Restylane Silk. Call us today for a consultation.
. . . Shared by the TDI team