“Smoker’s lines” are those troublesome, unattractive fine lines and little grooves that tend to radiate outward from the edges of the lips and extend all around the lips and the mouth. These distracting, unappealing lines detract from the beauty of the lips, tending to make the lip border indistinct, irregular and flattened. They magnify any thinning of the lips and further contribute to an aged appearance to the face. Sometimes the lines and indentations can grow fairly deep, almost like cracks, and are all the more obvious. Not exactly a very sensual or youthful look! Sometimes “smoker’s lines” will intermingle with the worsening, down-turning folds coming off the corners of the mouth (the so-called “marionette lines”) further exaggerating an unhappy or scowling sort of a look. Smoker’s lines are almost impossible to cover with makeup and are the key culprit behind the “lipstick bleed” phenomenon where the lipstick does not hold to the outer edge of the lip. That’s because the margin has become blunt and flattened; the lines function as little canals drawing the lipstick away from the lip border and it “runs” or “bleeds” into the surrounding skin. The net effect of all this can be an aged, unfriendly, unapproachable or downright angry look with a loss of sensual attractiveness – all messages that most of us would rather not send!

Unfortunately, “smoker’s lines” are very common. But this time, the smokers are being unfairly blamed – these bothersome lines occur just as often in non-smokers as they do in smokers! These types of tiny indentations tracking out from the border of the lips tend to become much more common and much more magnified with just the aging process alone. Smoking is not required! Although one could argue that smoking artificially accelerates the aging process and hence the hastening of these lines as well! But in fact, the majority of patients seeking treatment for this problem do not smoke (and they are often shocked and somewhat indignant about that!) Have no fear! That aged, unhappy, unhealthy or even angry appearance caused by “smoker’s lines” – which seems to affect women far more often than it does men – can be helped!

Step one? A visit to your friendly neighborhood board certified plastic surgeon and certified aesthetician. A personal evaluation and consultation helps to generate a plan. First things first – get your skin looking its best! Often implementing just a few basic cosmetic skin care techniques will do you a whole lot of good. Between a personalized home skin care regimen with quality, reliable products and some of the most popular aesthetician procedures like chemical peels or microdermabrasion, significant improvements are likely. This might be all that you need to effectively cure this problem!

Step two: Microneedling will do even more and help take you quite a bit further. This extraordinary, simple office procedure is a very popular “miracle worker” for the rejuvenation of the area around the mouth (and the rest of the face, too!). Much easier to have done than it might sound, microneedling stimulates your own natural collagen production, smoothing and firming the skin around the lips in a matter of weeks and is typically very successful. Please see our Ezine article on microneedling itself, titled, “Microneedling Skin Rejuvenation”.

Step three: The wrinkle fillers, like Juvederm or Restylane, are a great way to add a little lip plumping, help redefine the lip shape, sharpen the edges/borders of the lips, diminish or eliminate the lines, and overall soften and de-harshify that look! A renewed border to the lips that makes it look like you have a lip-liner on and which actually holds the lipstick to it? Some shapeliness and fullness to the lips instead of thin red lines where the lips used to be? A softer, friendlier, more youthful look? Yes – all possible, and the typical results we expect for this popular brief office procedure! This particular use of wrinkle fillers – to vanquish “smoker’s lines”- is one of the main reasons wrinkle fillers are right up there with Botox as the top most common cosmetic procedure. Some surgeons will actually use a little Botox to help with “smoker’s lines” but this is tricky stuff – a side effect can be that the lips don’t move quite right or the smile becomes distorted. Consider this option very carefully if it is offered! Looking for more fullness for the lips or a more permanent solution? Fat injecting/sculpting might be a better choice. Talk with your plastic surgeon about how you can use your own body fat to restore the lips and soften the lines around the mouth – as well as many other facial rejuvenation strategies for the face that fat can provide.

Step four could be laser resurfacing. Fractionated perioral (around the mouth) laser resurfacing is probably the most aggressive way to try to smooth out the more resistant “smoker’s lines” but it is typically very effective. Still – don’t be surprised if more than one laser treatment becomes necessary – the laser can only be allowed to go so deep at any one time! Although every line should respond to laser treatment, some will be more gone than others. The deeper ones will likely need another zap, best done in a few weeks after the face and the skin has had a chance to fully recover. But keep in mind that even the most aggressive laser treatments won’t be as effective as they could be if good cosmetic skin care and any “filler” needs haven’t been adequately addressed as well. Most patients opt to have the entire face treated with the laser rather than just around the mouth so that the whole face is “in synch”. Full facial laser rejuvenation is a great way to soften, smooth, and gently tighten the face, especially when there are a number of fine lines and a “weathered” look. The laser is great for restoring a generally refreshed, and rejuvenated facial appearance as well as knocking out those pesky “smoker’s lines”! Patients love how nicely the laser tends to smooth and tighten the skin, giving the face a firmer look and feel, with an overall smoother texture. Fractionated laser resurfacing can be performed alone or done in combination with a facelift, fat injections or just about any other cosmetic procedure!

So why not look friendlier, healthier, more approachable, and more youthful? Get rid of those “smoker’s lines”! It’s usually easier, faster, and less expensive to accomplish than most people might think!

Reposted from E-Zine Article