Smokers’ Lines: How to get rid of them


Smokers’ Lines, also known as lipstick lines, lip lines or smoker’s lip lines, are the fine vertical lines that appear around a person’s mouth. These stubborn wrinkles are a common sign of ageing, even when a person hasn’t necessarily smoked. They can ruin the look of an otherwise smooth and flawless complexion, and they are often difficult to conceal, even when a person tries to hide them with makeup. 

Although there is no way to treat lip lines permanently,  non-surgical treatments can prove to be a massive game-changer for people who want to restore beauty, youth and harmony to their overall look. In this article, we explore what smokers’ lines are, why people get them, and the top treatments that patients can use to minimise the appearance of smokers’ lines with impressive, long-term results.

What are Smokers Lines?

Smokers’ wrinkles are tiny vertical lines that form across the lip area itself as well as the skin that runs from your upper lip towards your nose. They often stretch from one side of the mouth to the other, resulting in an uneven and cracked appearance that can make a person’s lower face look distressed and aged. While they are very small, they often appear in groups across a person’s lips, resulting in a wrinkled appearance that affects the entire mouth area. It is also common for lipstick to “bleed” and settle in the crevices that form, which can make the smokers’ wrinkles look darker, deeper and more distracting than they actually are. The smokers’ lines that form in the space between the upper lip and nose are often more pronounced than the ones that appear on the lips themselves.

Why do Smokers Lines appear?

Smokers’ lines or barcode lip lines are a natural side-effect of ageing because they develop over the course of time. The natural ageing process causes our skin to gradually produce less collagen and elastin. These essential skin proteins keep our skin supple and hydrated. They allow it to stretch and snap back while staying firm and smooth. But after the age of 20, our bodies produce about 1 percent less collagen and elastin each year. This creates thinner and less elastic skin that is vulnerable to wrinkle formation. Our lips become less voluptuous and plump as a result, as vertical lines begin to form.

Smokers Lines Wrinkles

What causes Smokers Lip Lines

In addition to the ageing process, a variety of unique factors cause mouth lines to appear. Lip wrinkles are worsened by factors like genetics, repetitive facial expressions, sun exposure and, of course, smoking. See below for a full list of smokers lips causes:

  • Smoking and vaping
  • Sun exposure
  • Drinking from a straw or bottle
  • Repeated facial expressions
  • Pouting / smiling
  • Playing musical instruments (like the recorder or harmonica)
  • Genetics
  • Lifestyle factors

Key cause: Smoking

Smoking, including vaping, is one of the primary factors that lead to vertical, fine lines and wrinkles appearing around the mouth. Smoking or vaping strengthens the breakdown of collagen and elastin while also putting a physical strain on the mouth. Cigarette toxins accelerate the rapid breakdown of collagen and elastin proteins. This leaves our skin with less support and strength to defend itself against wrinkles. Additionally, the repeated action of puckering the lips and sucking a cigarette or vape pen produces dynamic wrinkles. These types of wrinkles are those that form due to repeated facial expressions. Each time the mouth muscles contract, the overlying skin crinkles, causing a loss of elasticity and strength. This repetitive movement combined with collagen and elastin depletion causes lip lines to appear at their deepest and most pronounced.

Key cause: Sun Exposure

Another major factor that can make smokers’ lines look worse is the sun. The skin on our lips is very delicate and thin and often goes unprotected. UV-ray sun damage is one of the biggest causes of premature ageing. In fact, the sun contributes to 80% of visible skin ageing, making it one of the biggest environmental influences that can make these fine lines and wrinkles look worse. Other actions like drinking from a straw, drinking from bottles or even repeated pouting for selfies can also leave their mark.

Smokers Lines causes

How to get rid of Smokers Lip Lines

The key to getting rid of smokers’ lines is choosing treatments that restore hydration, strength and support to the deep-set creases and wrinkles. Seek out non-surgical treatments that restore volume to the crevices while replenishing moisture and hydration to areas of depleted elastin and collagen. The best smokers’ lines or barcode lip lines treatments work to correct lost volume in the wrinkles while renewing the body’s own ability to generate fresh collagen and elastin stores. Read more about “How I blitzed my “barcode lips””.

Best Smokers Lines Treatments

At The Cosmetic Skin Clinic, we specialise in leading anti wrinkle treatments that smooth away dynamic smokers lip wrinkles for the long haul. We help patients to immediately minimise their lip lines while also preventing smokers’ lines from returning in the future. Here, we discuss our best smokers’ lines treatments in detail, including our industry-leading dermal filler injections and our number 1 collagen-boosting Ultherapy treatment:

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Smokers Lines Filler 

One of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce smokers’ lines or smokers lips is with an injectable lip filler treatment. Lip fillers restore volume and smooth out wrinkles around the mouth and upper lip area. They instantly add volume to deep-set lines with their intense hyaluronic acid formulation, which retains water in the skin’s dermis. Hyaluronic acid dermal filler also stimulates the body’s own natural production of collagen, causing collagen cells to build up and renew themselves over time. This helps patients to achieve firmer, fuller lips for 9 to 18 months, while drastically reducing the appearance of smokers’ lines in the process. We use the safest and most reputable dermal filler treatments to do this, including Juvéderm’s Volbella fillers.

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Dermal Fillers Smokers Lines

Smokers Lines Before and After

Dermal Fillers Smokers Lines Before and After, smokers lines before and after

Botulinum Toxin Injections for Smokers Lines

Another widely used strategy to minimise smokers’ lines is Botulinum Toxin injections. The Botulinum toxin is an FDA-approved medicine that works as a muscle relaxant. When administered carefully by a trained professional, the botulinum toxin can soften fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth by reducing the number of muscle contractions and movements which cause dynamic wrinkles. It takes just a matter of days for smokers’ lines to reduce, with results that last from 3 to 4 months. See what other areas can be treated with anti wrinkle injectables in our dedicated blog!

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Ultherapy for Smokers Lines

Unlike injectable treatments, cell renewal treatments like Ultherapy are not quick fixes. Instead, they revitalise the body’s own connective tissues over time. Ultherapy is a leading collagen-stimulating treatment that utilises advanced ultrasound therapy to renew collagen stores naturally. It applies micro-focused ultrasound energy to kickstart the reproduction of collagen and elastin proteins at a deep level, without damaging the outer skin surface. It targets the layer of skin that plastic surgeons target when they perform surgical facelift treatments. Lines appear visibly reduced as skin builds back thicker, firmer and more supported for up to 12 months after treatment.

Micro-needling for Smokers Lines

Other types of smokers’ line treatments stimulate a cell renewal response by causing injury to the skin and initiating a wound healing process. Micro-needling is a leading treatment in this regard which regenerates natural collagen stores to improve skin elasticity and texture. It does this using thousands of microscopic needles that scratch the skin surface on contact using a specialised device. Skin responds to this damage by producing fresh collagen and elastin stores, making it build back firmer and stronger. This minimises the appearance of lip lines while also making skin look brighter, healthier and younger-looking. We use the multi-award-winning Genuine Dermaroller™ therapy for our smokers’ lines treatment thanks to its world-class collagen-induction results.

Laser Resurfacing for Smokers Lines

Laser resurfacing treatments are designed to both reduce the appearance of fine lines like smokers’ lines, while also effectively targeting skin damage issues like skin pigmentation, acne scars and sun spots. In less than an hour, a laser treatment can strategically vaporise damaged skin cells using advanced microbeams. The body responds to this process by activating a natural healing process that boosts cell regeneration and natural collagen production. Healthy skin cells bounce back, and collagen stores are refreshed, leaving behind fresher, smoother and more wrinkle-free skin.

Best Smokers Lines Treatments

Lip treatment at The Cosmetic Skin Clinic

Our expert practitioners can help you to determine which smokers’ lines treatment is best suited to your needs. After assessing your smokers’ lines, lifestyle habits and overall skin condition during a personalised consultation, our practitioners will be fully equipped with the information they need to put forward an effective treatment plan.

Depending on the severity of your smokers’ wrinkles, you may benefit from combination anti wrinkle treatments like fillers and collagen-stimulation therapies that will both fill your fine lines and wrinkles while preventing them from returning. Our clinic is renowned for the quality of its exceptional treatment results, as seen in our 5-Star Trustpilot ratings. We are also the number 1 Ultherapy clinic in the UK.

To find out more about any of our lip treatments, fill out our online enquiry form or contact our London and Buckinghamshire clinics directly by phone: 0330 433 2175.

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