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Do you constantly fret about those thin, vertical lines just above your upper lip? They seem to be a lipstick magnet and no matter what lip-plumping agent you try, they make your lips (and mouth) look older than you feel. Although they are commonly referred to as smoker’s lines, smoking is only one of the reasons we get them. For many of us, smoker’s lines occur as part of the normal facial aging process.
Here’s what happens: smoker’s lines follow the contraction pattern of the strong, purse-string like muscle that encircles the mouth. When we are young, our skin and lips are thick and full of collagen and elastin. They resist wrinkling despite the strong and repeated muscular contractions associated with talking, laughing and eating. As we age though, our skin thins and we lose volume. When this occurs, the muscle starts winning and the lines start showing.
We do have a few weapons we can use to get rid of smoker’s lines. First, we can replace lost volume with hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers such as Juvederm and Restylane. This treatment helps, but only corrects one of the underlying factors that cause the lines. To complement the dermal fillers, we often weaken the muscle that causes the lines with a small amount of Dysport (Botox). Finally, fractional laser resurfacing is an excellent long term option to remedy smoker’s lines, but does have a week of recovery time. The injection combination of Restylane and Dysport combined with laser resurfacing works best.