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Has your lipstick started to wander? Instead of staying put on your lips, do you find it creeps into those pesky vertical lines above and below the lips? If so, you’re not alone. Many women are bothered by those lines, which are often referred to as smoker’s lines. Don’t smoke? Most people with them don’t. They simply form over time and typically occur from a combination of muscular contraction and volume loss around the mouth.
Here is what happens: the muscle that encircles the mouth is called the orbicularis oris. It’s shaped like the letter “O” and when it contracts, it pulls the lips into a pucker. We make this expression with a lot of different activities besides smoking—drinking from straws and water bottles, kissing, and sometimes, a pucker is an involuntary facial expression that happens when we concentrate or are unhappy with something. The thought used to be that repeated contractions alone were responsible for smoker’s lines, but we now know that’s only part of the story. The skin around the mouth thins as we age, and we also lose some of the natural volume or “padding” in this area too which all contribute to their formation.
So, you’re ready to give up puckering for life, right? Don’t do that just yet! There are actually several simple and effective solutions to smoker’s lines: laser resurfacing, Botox (Dysport), and dermal fillers! Laser resurfacing can eliminate finely etched lines and improve the texture of the skin. Botox (Dysport) can be used to relax the muscle and dermal fillers replace lost volume and stimulate collagen production.
At Celibre Medical, we used an advanced technique with dermal fillers for the correction of smoker’s lines. Previous techniques focused on placing tiny bits of filler just beneath the skin’s surface up and down each of these lines. This was not only tedious and time-consuming for the injector, it really hurt to have all those needles poke too! We often would notice that once the filler was placed in this way, you could almost see an elevated “ridge” of it beneath the line. Sometimes, this didn’t look any better (and maybe even looked worse!) than the lines that were there, to begin with.
We focus on placing dermal filler a bit deeper and more perpendicular to smokers’ lines. This is the most current and up-to-date injection method for soft, natural-looking correction of smoker’s lines. It’s much more tolerable for patients and there is zero risk of clumping or ridging of the filler like we described above. We’ve also found that by using this technique, we can get a better correction for the same amount (or less) of dermal filler which saves you money! Less pain for less money and look better—sounds like a win-win. This is just another reason to do your homework and research your injector on their experience, training, results, and expertise before you sit down in that treatment chair.