Smoker's Lips - The Dermatology Review

Smoker’s Lips

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09.28.18 AD DISCLOSURE

Is there a Cure for Smoker’s Lips?

Many individuals who smoke cigarettes eventually come across a problem referred to as smoker’s lips. This is a loose term used to describe some of havoc that cigarettes can wreak on the appearance of the lips and the skin around the mouth. Unfortunately, most of the issues associated with smoker’s lips tend to avoid detection until later in a person’s life, when the effects of aging have become compounded by smoking. It’s a frustrating issue for many, because smoker’s lips are much harder to address later in life, when the collagen levels in the skin have become depleted, and skin damage from years of sun exposure left the skin dull and hyperpigmented. The good news is that there are some smoker’s lip treatments that can improve the look of lips and bring a more youthful appearance to the face. However, many such treatments will need to be repeated on a regular basis, to maintain results, and may become quite expensive over time.

What are Smoker’s Lips?
Smoker’s lips are characterized by several tell-tale signs, including wrinkles around the mouth and even the darkening of the lips. Let’s examine the first problem; the wrinkles that form around the mouth.

Someone who smokes cigarettes regularly will eventually develop wrinkles that manifest as vertical lines that cover the lips and extend into surrounding skin. Although these types of wrinkles can develop in non-smokers, they are more commonly associated with smoker’s lips because of the repeated puckering of the lips when drawing on a cigarette.

Certainly, such an action may seem inconsequential on a standalone basis. But add up dozens of draws for every cigarette, multiply by the number of cigarettes smoked per year, extrapolate this into the number of years a person smoked in their life; and suddenly the number of times the lips are puckered can add up to millions (seriously, if you’re a smoker, break out the calculator and do the math – it’s scary).

Another common sign of smoker’s lips is the gradual darkening of the lips, due to various factors. Firstly, cigarette smoke contains tar (there’s a reason why that filter is brown by the time you’re done with a smoke). This tar is quite sticky and doesn’t just build up in the lungs, but can easily become attached to the lips, which leads to eventual lip darkening. Secondly, the lips may react to the heat of cigarette smoke by producing more melanin, which will also cause the gradual darkening in this part of the face.

How to Lighten Smoker’s Lips

Because the lips are such a gentle part of the body, it is absolutely imperative to seek the advice of a doctor before finding ways for how to get rid of smoker’s lips. This is especially true for consumers looking for how to lighten the lips, as many skin lighteners can be potentially hazardous to your health.

Since the skin on the lips is so thin, and because any topical products may be accidentally ingested through the mouth, any lip lighteners must be used with great caution, especially if applied on a long term basis. With this in mind, here is a general overview of how some smoker’s lips symptoms can potentially be addressed.

To address darkened lips from smoking, the consumer must distinguish between higher melanin production and microscopic buildup of tar. The former can be addressed with a variety of skin lighting ingredients like vitamin C, licorice root extract, green tea extract (which has tons of antioxidants), lemon juice, and niacinamide, among others.

If you speak with a dermatologist about smoker’s lips, she or he may also suggest creams with hydroquinone; a chemical which limits melanin production, gradually making the skin lighter. However, such products must be used with great care on the sensitive skin of the lips, and only under the guidance of a doctor.

When it comes to removing tar on smoker’s lips, acidic ingredients (like lemon or lime juice) may help lighten the skin over time. Further, regularly moisturizing the lips may help remove some of the microscopic buildup on the skin of the lips.

Treating Wrinkles

The other problem with smoker’s lips is the development of deep wrinkles due to the regular puckering motion when drawing on a cigarette. These wrinkles become very deep with time, as collagen breaks down in the skin (partly because the blood circulation to the skin decreases due to constriction of blood vessels).

Once the wrinkles on smoker’s lips have developed these can be effectively addressed with cosmetic procedures.

For those who do not have the money for injections or are afraid of needles, smoker’s lips can be partially addressed with AHA creams, which contain exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids. However, these creams can only address wrinkles around the lips, as they shouldn’t be applied onto the lips.

Of course, the best way to stop smoker’s lips is to pucker up one last time, and kiss those cigarettes good bye!

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