Can smoker’s lines around the mouth be corrected with dermal filler?
Lines around the mouth are formed in much the same way as lines around the eyes or forehead in that they are mainly caused by muscle movement combined with collagen loss in the skin. When we persistently move a particular area of the face, it can result in a permanent line that, over time, can become a much deeper wrinkle.
Smoker’s lines appear as little vertical lines above the upper lip and are also known as ‘barcode’ lines because they run vertically downwards into the top lip. They develop around the mouth because of the frequent puckering of the lips caused by repetitive pouting action as a result of talking, pouting and smoking. You start to notice them as the skin ages, collagen degrades, and elastin levels in the skin drop. This means the area of skin above the upper lip, which is always being stretched when we open our mouths or smile, becomes less able to spring back into shape and starts to collapse into tiny wrinkles.
Why are ‘barcode’ lines more common in smokers?
Barcode lines are much more evident in smokers, mainly because smoking is detrimental to the health of our skin and breaks down collagen and elastin much quicker. Smoking will affect the skin all over your body, but these lines are some of the first to show up on the face, which is why they’re often thought of as smoker’s lines.
They also appear as lip volume decreases because elasticity has reduced, and the body of the lip is no longer holding the skin taut meaning the surrounding lip tissues have less support . For this reason, lip enhancement in the upper lip can often soften the look of these tiny vertical lines.
Can Botox or dermal filler help?
It’s widely believed that the best thing for eliminating wrinkles is Botox, however, the mouth area is one of the few exceptions. The mouth is an unpredictable place to inject muscle-relaxant and can lead to droopiness or even dribbling as a result of treatment for mouth lines. Botox can be a good choice in people whose lip lines are there on movement but not on rest, and so who would respond well to a very light dose of Botox.
Instead, in most cases, to smooth out lines around the mouth the most popular option is dermal fillers. They work by hydrating the area, replenishing lost volume, and smoothing out the lines for a more youthful appearance. Depending on how deep the lines are, there are two approaches that a practitioner can take when it comes to treating this concern with dermal filler. The first is to inject small amounts of filler very precisely along the lines and along the lip border, without plumping the lips themselves. The second way is to fill the lips with dermal filler, which gently stretches the skin and so reduces the lip lines. In some cases, we may combine both approaches.
What are the other treatment options?
In many cases, you may see a better result with a treatment designed to kickstart collagen production within the skin, such as an RF microneedling treatment that uses heat to prompt collagen re-growth. The Profound RF device can do this. It works by penetrating the skin at a precise depth with tiny needles, before momentarily releasing a burst of radiofrequency energy to heat the skin. The deep skin tissue is heated to precisely 67 degrees Celsius and held at this temperature for several seconds. The heat damages the existing collagen in the skin, which shrinks in protest (providing an immediate tightening and lifting effect) before starting to repair itself. That repairing part takes time, so optimum results will be seen three to twelve months after treatment. Profound RF is a one-off treatment, and studies show a 100% response rate for reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, including those in the upper lip area.
The best treatment for you can be determined during a comprehensive consultation with an experienced practitioner. Upper lip lines can be hard to treat without the help of in-clinic procedures, but with the right approach, it’s possible to achieve life-changing and long-lasting results.
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Disclaimer: Please be aware that results and benefits may vary from patient to patient taking into consideration factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history.