Why do I have smoker lines when I don't even smoke?

Having worked here at WrinklePedia for almost five years now, I finally get to ask our research team to look into something that has bothered me for years. Why do I have smoker lines when I do not smoke?

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I hate the term 'smoker lines'... and hate is a strong word! Most of us know the term, and usually know exactly what lines it refers to. I guess my hatred comes from the fact that I have never even smoked. My father smoked, my mother smoked, but I never even tried. I have spent the better part of my life trying to eat right, exercise and certainly avoided the habit that my parents had.

When it comes to facial aging lines, to me, lip lines show aging worse than any other line. Many people have forehead lines or crows feet. You can get those from just laughing too much. But lip lines seem to really accent age. I want to get to the bottom of this and can I fix them?

Our research director Michael Delahger had me contact the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery for some direction. After speaking with one of their New York directors, I was given a crash course on 'lower facial aging'.


According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, the bulk of facial wrinkles are the result of muscle memory. Every wrinkle on our face is the result of muscular movement. Our muscles are very smart and quickly figure out the easiest way to perform any task. Once determined, they will act the same way each time the task is required. This means we will always smile, frown, laugh, etc, pretty much the same way. These repetitive motions create creases on our skin, recognized as wrinkles.

The face is basically divided up into two major categories; upper and lower. The 'upper' area consists of forehead and eyes, the 'lower' is mouth, lips and cheek. Each area is addressed differently as their muscles operate differently. For example; Botox can be used on the upper area, including forehead and eyes, but not the lower area. The 'lower' area and all around the lips are controlled by one large muscle group that wraps the face. This muscle group is responsible for speaking, chewing, etc. Since Botox is a muscle paralyzer, using Botox in this area can cause problems with speaking, eating, etc.

According to the surgical team that specializes in lower face reconstruction, our teeth and gums naturally recede as we age. This combined with muscle memory rolls our lips under and creates lines above and the lips the older we get. Dr. Brad Evans says its a relatively easy fix and easily prevented. However, the loss of lip volume, as they roll under, and the lines, known as smoker lines, are a visible nuisance.

Dr. Evans explains that many women who see their lipstick on their teeth assumed they simply applied it too deep on the lips. In reality, they are applying lipstick to the same area they did ten years ago, however as their lips roll under, their lipstick ends up on their teeth.