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Smokers Lines – Causes and Solutions

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Smokers lines

 How to Get Rid of Upper Lip Lines

Smokers’ lines, also known as lipstick lines or perioral wrinkles, can affect the appearance of the upper lip, contributing to an aged or tired look. These lines often result from a combination of factors, including smoking and the natural ageing process.

In this blog, Chester Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anca Breahna will address a common concern that many individuals face – smokers’ lines, specifically those troublesome upper lip lines. At Cheshire Cosmetic Surgery, we understand the impact that upper lip lines can have on self-confidence and overall facial aesthetics. With our expertise and state-of-the-art treatments, we’re here to guide you on your journey to smoother, more youthful-looking skin.

What Are Smokers Lines?

Smokers’ lines are a type of facial wrinkle that typically forms around the mouth, particularly the upper lip. These lines can vary in depth and prominence from person to person. They often manifest as fine, vertical lines etched into the skin, which can extend both above and below the lip line.

The primary characteristics of smokers’ lines include:

  • Fine Lines: Smokers lines are usually fine and shallow at their inception. However, they may become more pronounced with time and repeated movements of the mouth
  • Vertical Orientation: These lines tend to be oriented vertically, running either above or below the upper lip. They are particularly noticeable when an individual smiles or puckers their lips
  • Multiple Lines: Smokers lines can appear as a series of parallel lines or as a network of smaller, intersecting wrinkles around the mouth

Causes of Smokers Lines

Understanding the causes of smokers’ lines is essential in addressing and preventing their formation. Several factors contribute to the development of these lines, and they can be broadly classified into two categories: intrinsic and extrinsic factors.

  • Ageing: The natural aging process is a significant contributor to the formation of smokers’ lines. As we age, our skin gradually loses collagen and elastin, two proteins crucial for skin elasticity and firmness. This reduction in structural support can result in the development of wrinkles, including smokers lines
  • Genetics: Genetics play a role in determining an individual’s propensity to develop wrinkles. Some people may be genetically predisposed to have thinner skin, which is more susceptible to wrinkling
  • Smoking: Perhaps the most notorious contributor to smokers’ lines is, unsurprisingly, smoking itself. Smoking introduces harmful chemicals into the body and causes vasoconstriction, reducing blood flow to the skin. This combination of toxins and reduced blood supply accelerates skin aging, leading to the premature appearance of wrinkles, including smokers lines
  • Sun Exposure: Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun is another extrinsic factor that can lead to the development of perioral wrinkles. UV radiation damages collagen and elastin fibres in the skin, leading to loss of elasticity and the formation of wrinkles
  • Repetitive Facial Movements: Regular facial movements, such as puckering the lips, can contribute to the formation of smokers’ lines over time. These movements cause the skin to crease repeatedly, eventually leading to the formation of permanent wrinkles
  • Dehydration: Inadequate hydration can make the skin appear dry and less supple, which can accentuate the appearance of wrinkles, including those around the mouth
  • Lip Products: Some lip products, such as long-wear lipsticks or lip stains, may contain ingredients that can contribute to dryness or irritation of the lips, potentially exacerbating the formation of smokers lines

Treatment Options for Smokers Lines

Smokers’ lines can be a source of frustration for many individuals seeking to rejuvenate their facial appearance. Fortunately, modern cosmetic medicine offers a range of effective treatments to address and reduce the appearance of these lines. In this section, we will explore three popular treatment options: laser resurfacing, anti-wrinkle injections with neuromodulators, and dermal fillers. Each of these approaches offers unique benefits, and choosing the right one depends on individual factors and desired outcomes.

  1. Laser Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing is a non-surgical cosmetic procedure that utilises laser technology to improve the texture and appearance of the skin. It is particularly effective in treating smokers lines by stimulating collagen production and reducing the depth of fine lines and wrinkles. Here’s how laser resurfacing works:

  • Procedure: During a laser resurfacing session, a trained medical professional uses a specialised laser device to target the upper layers of the skin. The laser energy creates controlled micro-injuries in the skin’s surface, prompting the body’s natural healing process
  • Stimulating Collagen: One of the key benefits of laser resurfacing is its ability to stimulate collagen production. Collagen is a vital protein responsible for skin elasticity and firmness. As the skin heals from the micro-injuries, it naturally produces more collagen, leading to a smoother and more youthful appearance
  • Reduction of Smokers Lines: Laser resurfacing can effectively reduce the depth and prominence of smokers’ lines. The treatment can also address other skin concerns, such as sun damage, uneven pigmentation, and acne scars, which often coexist with perioral wrinkles
  • Customisation: The intensity and depth of laser resurfacing can be customised to suit each patient’s unique needs. Ablative lasers, which remove the top layer of skin, offer more dramatic results but may require a longer recovery period. Non-ablative lasers, on the other hand, are less invasive and require less downtime
  • Recovery: Depending on the type of laser used, recovery time can vary from a few days to a couple of weeks. Patients may experience redness, swelling, and mild discomfort during the healing process. Sun protection and diligent skincare are essential post-treatment
  • Results: The results of laser resurfacing are not immediate but become increasingly noticeable as the skin heals. Most patients experience a significant improvement in the appearance of smokers’ lines and overall skin texture
  • Maintenance: While laser resurfacing can provide long-lasting results, it does not stop the natural ageing process. To maintain the benefits, patients may require periodic touch-up treatments

Treatment options for Smokers lines

  1. Anti-Wrinkle Injections with Neuromodulators

Anti-wrinkle injections with neuromodulators are a popular non-surgical treatment for addressing dynamic wrinkles, including smokers’ lines. Here’s how these injections work:

  • Mechanism of Action: Neuromodulators are purified proteins that temporarily relax the muscles responsible for the formation of wrinkles. Smokers’ lines are often exacerbated by repetitive lip movements, such as puckering or pursing. Neuromodulators work by blocking nerve signals to these muscles, preventing them from contracting and causing wrinkles
  • Procedure: The treatment is minimally invasive and typically takes just a few minutes. A trained medical professional administers small injections of the neuromodulator into the targeted facial muscles
  • Temporary Results: The results of anti-wrinkle injections are not permanent and usually last for about three to four months. This makes them an excellent option for those seeking a non-permanent solution or wanting to try out the treatment without long-term commitment
  • Subtle and Natural-Looking: When administered by a skilled practitioner, anti-wrinkle injections produce subtle and natural-looking results. Patients maintain their ability to express themselves while enjoying a reduction in the appearance of smokers’ lines
  • Minimal Downtime: One of the significant advantages of this treatment is the minimal downtime. Most individuals can resume their daily activities immediately after the procedure
  • Prevention: In addition to treating existing smokers’ lines, anti-wrinkle injections can also be used preventatively. Regular treatments can help delay the formation of new wrinkles and maintain a youthful appearance
  1. Dermal Fillers

Dermal fillers have gained immense popularity for their ability to plump and smooth the skin, making them an excellent choice for addressing smokers’ lines. Here’s how dermal fillers work:

  • Composition: Dermal fillers are composed of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring substance in the body that provides hydration and volume to the skin. By injecting hyaluronic acid into the affected areas, dermal fillers fill in wrinkles and lines, including smokers’ lines
  • Procedure: The treatment involves the injection of dermal filler beneath the skin’s surface using fine needles. A trained practitioner can precisely place the filler to achieve natural-looking results
  • Immediate Results: One of the most significant advantages of dermal fillers is the instant gratification they provide. Patients can see a noticeable improvement in the appearance of smokers’ lines immediately after the procedure
  • Long-Lasting: While dermal fillers are not permanent, the results can last anywhere from six months to a year, depending on the product used and individual factors. This longevity makes them a popular choice for those seeking a semi-permanent solution
  • Customisation: Dermal fillers come in various formulations, each designed to address specific concerns. Your practitioner can choose the most appropriate filler based on your unique needs
  • Minimal Downtime: Like anti-wrinkle injections, dermal filler treatments typically have minimal downtime. Some patients may experience mild swelling or bruising, which usually subsides within a few days
  • Maintenance: To maintain the results, patients may require periodic touch-up treatments. The frequency of these touch-ups can vary depending on individual factors and product selection

How to Choose the Right Treatment for You

Choosing the right treatment for smokers’ lines is a crucial decision, as it can significantly impact your appearance and self-confidence. With various treatment options available, it’s essential to make an informed choice that aligns with your individual needs and goals. Here are some key factors to consider when deciding which treatment is right for you:

  1. Consultation with a Qualified Professional:

Before making any decisions, schedule a consultation with a qualified medical professional such as Anca Breahna. She will assess your skin’s condition, discuss your concerns, and provide personalised recommendations based on their expertise and experience. This initial consultation is invaluable in determining the most suitable treatment for your unique situation.

  1. Severity of Smokers Lines:

The severity of your smokers’ lines plays a significant role in selecting the appropriate treatment. If you have fine lines and minimal wrinkling, less invasive treatments like anti-wrinkle injections with neuromodulators or dermal fillers may be sufficient. However, if your lines are deeper and more pronounced, laser resurfacing or a combination of treatments may be necessary for optimal results.

  1. Treatment Objectives:

Consider your treatment objectives. Are you looking for a temporary solution to address smokers’ lines, or do you prefer a longer-lasting approach? Anti-wrinkle injections and dermal fillers offer temporary results, typically lasting several months, while laser resurfacing can provide more extended-lasting improvements.

  1. Tolerance for Downtime:

Assess your tolerance for downtime and recovery. Laser resurfacing may require a longer recovery period compared to non-surgical options like anti-wrinkle injections and dermal fillers. If you have a busy schedule and limited downtime, a non-invasive treatment with minimal recovery time may be preferable.

  1. Budget Considerations:

Budget is another essential factor in choosing the right treatment for smokers’ lines. Different treatments vary in cost, with laser resurfacing generally being more expensive than injectable treatments. Be sure to discuss pricing and potential financing options with your chosen clinic.

  1. Allergies and Sensitivities:

Consider any allergies or sensitivities you may have. Dermal fillers, for example, typically use hyaluronic acid-based products that are well-tolerated by most individuals. However, it’s essential to discuss any allergies or sensitivities with your medical professional during your consultation.

  1. Desire for Natural-Looking Results:

If you prefer natural-looking results that allow you to maintain facial expressions, anti-wrinkle injections with neuromodulators or dermal fillers may be your preferred choice. These treatments provide subtle enhancements while preserving your ability to smile, frown, and express yourself.

  1. Long-Term Commitment:

Consider whether you are comfortable with a long-term commitment to maintaining your results. Anti-wrinkle injections and dermal fillers are temporary solutions, requiring periodic touch-up treatments to sustain the effects. If you prefer a more lasting solution, laser resurfacing may be a better fit.

  1. Combination Treatments:

In some cases, a combination of treatments may be recommended to address smokers’ lines comprehensively. For example, Anca might suggest combining anti-wrinkle injections to relax muscle movements with dermal fillers to fill in the lines for a synergistic effect.

  1. Trust Your Practitioner:

Ultimately, trust the expertise and recommendations of your chosen practitioner. They have experience in assessing facial aesthetics and selecting the right treatment for each patient. A skilled practitioner will take the time to understand your goals, address your concerns, and provide a customised treatment plan tailored to your needs.

FAQS about How to Get Rid of Upper Lip Lines


Can smokers’ lines develop in non-smokers?

  • Yes, smokers’ lines can develop in non-smokers. While smoking is a primary cause of these lines due to the repetitive puckering motion of the lips and reduced blood flow, other factors such as genetics, sun exposure, and the natural ageing process can also contribute to the formation of smokers’ lines in individuals who have never smoked.

Are there any lifestyle changes that can help prevent smokers’ lines?

  • Lifestyle changes can play a significant role in preventing the development or worsening of smokers lines. Avoiding smoking or quitting smoking is the most effective step. Additionally, protecting your skin from excessive sun exposure, staying hydrated, and using lip balms with sunscreen can help maintain lip skin health and reduce the risk of developing these lines.

What is the typical duration of results with dermal fillers for smokers’ lines?

  • The duration of results with dermal fillers for smokers’ lines can vary from person to person. On average, results can last anywhere from six months to a year. The longevity depends on factors such as the specific product used, individual metabolism, and lifestyle factors. Regular touch-up treatments can help maintain the desired results.

Can I undergo laser resurfacing if I have a darker skin tone?

  • Laser resurfacing is generally safe for individuals with lighter to medium skin tones. However, those with darker skin may have an increased risk of pigmentation changes or scarring following laser treatment. It’s crucial to consult with a skilled practitioner experienced in treating diverse skin types to determine the most appropriate laser and settings for your specific needs.

Are anti-wrinkle injections with neuromodulators painful?

  • Most patients describe the discomfort associated with anti-wrinkle injections as mild and tolerable. The needles used are very fine, and practitioners often apply a topical numbing cream or use ice to minimise any discomfort during the procedure. The treatment is relatively quick, and any temporary discomfort subsides shortly after the injections are complete.

Further Reading about Injectable Procedures at Cheshire Cosmetic Surgery

Medical References about Injectable Procedures

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About Anca Breahna – Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Cheshire Cosmetic Surgery

Ms Anca Breahna, PhD, MSc, FEBOPRAS, FRCS (Plast) is a highly regarded Consultant Plastic Surgeon specialising in the field of Aesthetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery.

Anca performs a wide range of Hand Surgery & Skin Surgery and Aesthetic Breast, Body and Face Surgery,

Anca Breahna - Female Plastic Surgeon in Chester UK

As one of the very few female Plastic Surgeons in the region, she is able to offer that unique female perspective, with empathy, attention to detail and personalised care. It is Anca’s true dedication and commitment to her field, that sets her aside from her peers. Her extensive surgical training means that you are in safe hands. She is renowned for providing exceptional care, support and helping achieve realistic goals for her patients.

Anca Breahna’s surgical training has mainly been undertaken within the United Kingdom. She began a rigorous training programme in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 1999, after achieving her medical degree from the University of Bucharest. Miss Breahna attained her PhD degree at the same university in 2007 for her medical research. She then relocated to the UK and has worked Internationally to further extend her qualifications and training.

The team at Cheshire Cosmetic Surgery looks forward to meeting you and will treat you with respect, consideration, and empathy.

Your Next Steps

Do your Research

  • Please read our website pages and blogs to learn more about your intended procedure.
  • All Surgery has risks and potential complications. Please read more about the risks of your surgery.

Get a Medical Referral before your consultation at Cheshire Cosmetic Surgery

  • A Referral from your Doctor is not essential, however it is recommended to have one

Making The Most Of Your Consultation

  • Please arrive slightly early for your in-person consultation with Anca – Car parking is usually available on-site
  • You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to help consider the information and discuss your options
  • Please be aware you may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes
  • Ensure you also take a lot of notes during the consultation and thoroughly read all the documents provided

Want more information before scheduling your consultation?

  • Please call to find out more about availability, pricing and medical payment plans
  • Request more information about the procedure – call us or email us

How to Book your Consultation with Anca Breahna – Plastic Surgeon

  • You can book your consultation with Anca by paying the £150 cosmetic consultation fee when you make your appointment. This fee covers further consultations about the same concern.

Contact Anca’s Team

Call Claire or Joedy on 03332 244111 to arrange your consultation or email us for more information.

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