Whether you smoke or not, you probably don’t need anyone to tell you how bad it is for you. Smoking not only puts your health at risk, but it also changes the way you look. Smoking accelerates the aging process, leading to lines and wrinkles and other unwanted skin changes sooner rather than later.
One of the areas that smoking affects the most is the mouth. If you smoke, then you’re very likely to see some negative changes around your mouth or lips at some point. Here’s what you should know about what causes smoker’s lips and what you can do if you start to notice signs of them.
What Are Signs of Smoker’s Lips?
When people talk about smoker’s lips, they are usually talking about changes that occur around the mouth after years of smoking. Smoker’s lips are characterized by two symptoms. The first is the development of tiny, vertical fine lines surrounding the lips. These lines are sometimes called lipstick lines.
Smoker’s lines or lipstick lines make it difficult to wear lipstick neatly. The color you put on your lips is likely to bleed into the fine wrinkles, creating a messy appearance. Even people who don’t wear lipstick might find that they feel self-conscious about the tiny wrinkles.
Another sign of smoker’s lips is a change in the color of your lips. Smoking can cause the soft tissue in and around your mouth to darken, including the gums and lips. The soft tissues might become black or brown or a person might develop dark or purplish splotches in the area. Understandably, most people feel very embarrassed when their gums and lips begin to change color.
What Causes Smoker’s Lips?
So what’s responsible for the changes that lead to smoker’s lips?
The tiny lines that form as a result of smoking are created by repetitive movements. Putting a cigarette between your lips and sucking on it to get a puff causes the skin around the lips to bunch up and wrinkle. Initially, the skin will smooth itself back out after you’re finished smoking a cigarette.
But the effects of smoking combined with repeated movements plus time can cause those lines to become permanent. Smoking itself speeds up the wrinkle formation process as it cuts off blood flow to the skin and keeps the skin cells from getting the oxygen they need to thrive. Smoking also causes damage to the two key proteins in skin, elastin and collagen, which provide much-needed elasticity and firmness.
Although the vertical lines around the mouth are associated with smoker’s lips, it’s important to understand that they don’t only affect smokers. How you move your mouth can play a big role in the formation of the fine lines. If you are a very pronounced chewer or if you find yourself puckering up frequently, you might notice that you develop smoker’s lines or lipstick lines, even if you’ve never smoked.
When it comes to changes in lip color, the compounds found in cigarettes may be the main culprits. The nicotine found in tobacco cigarettes is likely to play a role in the formation of dark spots or hyperpigmentation of the lips. The reduction in blood flow associated with smoking might also lead to an increase in melanin or pigment production.
How to Treat Smoker’s Lips
If you’re a smoker and you want to reverse your smoker’s lips, then one of the most important things to do is to quit smoking ASAP. Treating smoker’s lips but continuing to smoke won’t help you much in the long run. Quitting smoking has loads of other benefits for your health, too. You can talk to your doctor or plastic surgeon if you’d like advice on quitting smoking.
How you should treat smoker’s lips depends on their primary cause. If you’re mainly concerned about the darkening of your lips, you might consider gently scrubbing them with a lip scrub or soft brush a few times a week to help exfoliate them. If that doesn’t work, you might want to try laser treatments to help minimize hyperpigmentation.
If your main worry is the lines around your mouth, you have several options. Usually, a dermal filler can be used to temporarily fill in the lines above and below the lips. Fillers made from hyaluronic acid are usually ideal, as they are smooth and help to plump up the skin where volume has been lost.
Juvederm Volbella is a hyaluronic acid filler that was developed specifically for use in the lip area. It can help plump up your lips to add volume and contour for a perfect pout. It is also frequently used to fill in lines around the lips. Volbella is approved for use in people over the age of 21.
You might also consider a laser treatment or intense pulsed light to minimize the appearance of lipstick or smoker’s lines around your mouth.
Mirror Mirror Beauty Boutique in Houston, TX. offers multiple, minimally invasive options for people looking to reduce the appearance of smoker’s lips. Whether you’re concerned about lines, hyperpigmentation, or both, call 281-810-9083 to schedule a consultation at Mirror Mirror today.