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What Are Smokers’ Lines (And How to Get Rid of Them)?

Tagged: Facial Treatments

Date: 15th February 2024

Medically Reviewed by:  Mr. Bryan Mayou (GMC: 1414396)

Last reviewed: 15th February 2024

Natural ageing affects our face and skin in a variety of ways, as do facial motions and the actions we perform like frowning, smiling, and puckering. This results in a variety of facial features and wrinkles that become more pronounced as we age – some of which are undesirable.

One of these features is smokers lines and if this is something you have developed, read on to find out what causes them, and how to get rid of smokers lines using a combination of lifestyle changes, non-invasive treatments, and surgical procedures. 

What Are Smokers Lines?

Smokers' lines, also known as lipstick lines or perioral wrinkles, are the fine lines and wrinkles that form around the lips and mouth. These lines typically become more prominent over time due to repeated facial movements such as puckering the lips, smoking, or simply as a natural part of the ageing process.

Smokers lip lines can stretch from one side of your mouth to the other, and usually form in groups. This can make the entire area surrounding your mouth look wrinkled and cracked. The wrinkles are often more prominent between your nose and upper lip. 

What Causes Smokers Lines?

The primary cause of smokers' lines is the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin. As we age, collagen production decreases by an average of 1% per year and this causes our skin to become saggy and for wrinkles to develop.

Collagen depletion is not the only cause of smokers lines though and the repetitive motion of puckering your lips can enhance the mouth wrinkles and cause folds to appear. Additionally, smoking accelerates the formation of these lines due to the pursing of the lips around the cigarette, as well as the harmful effects of tobacco on skin health.

How Can You Prevent Smokers Lines?

Preventing smokers' lines involves avoiding smoking and limiting repetitive facial movements that contribute to their formation. Additionally, maintaining good skincare habits, such as regular moisturizing and using sunscreen, can help slow down the ageing process and reduce the appearance of fine lines.

These can all be classed as lifestyle changes but more effective and long-lasting solutions to get rid of smokes lines around the mouth include non-invasive treatments and surgery. These overcome the limitations of lifestyle changes and give you more concrete end results.   

What are the Best Treatments for Smokers Lines?

There are various treatments available to help reduce the appearance of smokers' lines, depending on the how developed they are, and individual preferences. These treatments range from non-invasive procedures to surgical interventions and include:

  • Anti-Ageing Injectables. 
  • Chemical Peels. 
  • Dermal Fillers. 
  • Non-Surgical Facelift. 
  • Microneedling. 
  • Microdermabrasion. 
  • Radiofrequency. 
  • Morpheus 8. 
  • Fat Transfer to Face. 
  • Full Facelift. 
  • Mini Facelift. 
  • Lip Lift. 

Can Lifestyle Changes Get Rid of Smokers Lines?

While lifestyle changes alone may not completely eliminate smokers' lines, adopting healthier habits such as quitting smoking, staying hydrated, and eating a balanced diet rich in antioxidants can help improve skin health and reduce the visibility of smokers lines over time. Even if you intend to have non-invasive treatment or surgery, making these lifestyle changes will only benefit your wellbeing.


How Can Non-Invasive Treatments Get Rid of Smokers Lines?

Non-invasive treatments offer effective solutions for reducing smokers' lines without the need for surgery and include options like anti-ageing injectables, dermal fillers, and microneedling.

These procedures have multiple benefits include their much faster recovery periods, shorter downtime, and shorter procedure length. If you want minimum hassle or don’t want to commit to surgery, non-invasive treatment for smokers lines are a great gateway option.

However, you must be aware that these treatments are not permanent and eventually you will require additional sessions to continue to reduce the appearance of smokers lines. 

Anti-Ageing Injectables

Injectable treatments such as Botox and Dysport relax the muscles around the mouth, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This is one of the most common non-invasive treatments for smokers lines together with dermal fillers and the procedure can take just 30 minutes with little to no downtime.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels involve applying an exfoliating solution to the skin to remove the outer layer, revealing smoother, rejuvenated skin underneath. Glycolic peels and Phenol peels can be applied around the lips to reduce the effect of smokers lines.

Dermal Fillers  

Dermal fillers can plump up the skin around the lips and mouth, filling in fine lines and restoring lost volume for a more youthful appearance. Hyaluronic acid is usually the active ingredient within dermal filler for smokers lines which is naturally found in your skin. The process is incredibly quick, and results are shown to last up to 18 months.

Please be aware that this is a different treatment to Lip Filler which targets thin lips and injects volume into the actual lip, as opposed to targeting the skin around the lip and smokers lines. Lip filler is a less common treatment for smokers lines but can be used as part of a combination dermal filler treatment to rejuvenate the lip and mouth area.

At the Cadogan Clinic we feel the best filler for smokers lines in Juvederm, and our consultants will typically use Juvederm products for targeting smokers lines.

Non-Surgical Facelift

Non-surgical facelift procedures such as Ultherapy can help tighten loose skin and improve overall facial contour around the lips. A non-surgical facelift can combine multiple non-invasive treatments including radiofrequency, and filler for smokers lines. An initial consultation helps determine the best action plan and which treatments offer the best results to get rid of your smokers lines.

Microneedling

Microneedling involves using tiny needles to create micro-injuries in the skin which stimulates collagen production. This, in turn, helps improve skin tone and texture and reduce the effect of smokers lines around the lips. For the best results, 3-6 sessions are usually required.

Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion exfoliates the skin, removing dead cells and promoting cell turnover for smoother, more radiant skin.

Radiofrequency

Radiofrequency treatments deliver heat energy to the deeper layers of the skin, stimulating collagen production and tightening the skin for a more youthful appearance. When performed around the lips, it can reduce the appearance of smokers lines. We advise that multiple sessions may be required to get the full effect, with each session taking around 1 hour.

Morpheus 8

Morpheus 8 is a fractional radiofrequency microneedling device that combines microneedling with radiofrequency energy to tighten the skin and improve texture. The results of this process are usually quick and you can start to notice a difference in your smokers lines in just a few days. 

Are Surgical Treatments the Best Options to Get Rid of Smokers Lines?

Surgical treatments offer more permanent solutions for reducing smokers' lines but involve greater risks and downtime compared to non-invasive options.

These procedures are typically recommended for individuals with more developed smokers lip lines or those seeking long-lasting results. If you can afford to take time away from work, and want more impactful results, surgical treatments are the best option. 

Fat Transfer to Face

Fat transfer involves taking fat from one area of the body and injecting it into the face to restore volume and fill in wrinkles. The fat is usually taken via liposuction and processed before being reinjected into your face. By injecting processed fat around the lips, the depressions formed as a result of smokers lines are essentially filled in. You can expect this procedure to take between 30-45 minutes and you may a few days off of work.

Full Facelift

A full facelift involves surgically lifting and tightening the skin of the entire face and neck to reduce wrinkles and sagging. This procedure is performed under general anaesthetic and can take up to three hours. Surplus skin is usually remove from around the ears allowing the skin and underlying muscle to be tightened. This tightening effectively removes smokers lip lines and other conditions like marionette lines, whilst targeting a much wider facial rejuvenation.

Mini Facelift

A mini facelift targets specific areas of the face, such as the lower face and jawline, to lift and tighten loose skin and improve facial contours. Compared to a full facelift, a mini facelift is less invasive and the surgery takes between 1-1.5 hours. A mini facelift is performed either under general anaesthetic or sedation depending on the complexity of the procedure and if any other treatments are being performed at the same time.

Lip Lift

A lip lift is a surgical procedure that shortens the distance between the nose and upper lip, reducing the appearance of smokers' lines and enhancing lip definition. This procedure typically takes approximately 1 hour and a full recovery can be expected between 4-6 weeks. 

Conclusion

Smokers' lines are a common sign of aging for many individuals, but there are various treatment options available to help reduce their appearance and achieve smoother, more youthful-looking skin.

If surgery isn’t an option, or you cannot get the time away from work, non-invasive options such a filler for smokers lines, microneedling, and Morpheus 8 treatment offer viable alternatives and great starting points. The effects are not permanent, but there is much less hassle and downtime.

Alternatively, for long-lasting results, surgical treatments like fat transfer to face, and the three different facelift variants are the best options. If you can cope with the downtime and extended recovery period, these are the top solutions to get rid of smokers lines. They are also excellent if you have found that non-invasive treatments have had a minimum impact. 

FAQs

Smokers lines are not just the result of smoking although this action can contribute to deeper lines. They are also formed as a part of the ageing process and can be deepened by sun damage.  

Smokers lines around the lips can start to form as early as your 20s, but typically do not visibly develop until the mid 30s and onwards.

Making conscious lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and protecting your skin against sun damage can reduce the appearance of smokers lines. However, to get rid of them completely, there are numerous invasive and non-invasive treatments that may be required such as dermal fillers, microneedling, fat transfer to face, and facelifts.


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