Smokers’ Lines – How to Treat Upper Lip Lines and Wrinkles

Posted by Dr Theva in Face Care.

Of all the negative effects of the ageing process, the development of fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth – often referred to as smokers’ lines or lipstick lines are among the most irritating. Upper lip lines and wrinkles perhaps reveal the most about a person’s age.

Extreme Closeup on the mouth of a middle-aged brunette woman with her mouth closed and a serious expression

Smokers’ lines refer to the fine lines, deep lines, and lip wrinkles that form around the mouth. Perioral wrinkles form vertically above the upper lip and can be incredibly difficult to treat, especially with creams, lotions, and other anti-ageing treatments designed to be used at home.

Contrary to what the name suggests, you don’t have to be a smoker to have upper lip lines, and they’re one of the top skin ageing complaints out there. There is a wide range of causes behind them—but more importantly, just as many treatments to reverse them.


So what exactly are smoker’s lines? They’re the tiny vertical lines and wrinkles that form on the top of your upper lip and run upward toward your nose.

Most of the time, smoker’s lines are extremely small, but many of them can form at once.


Smoker’s lines occur as we grow older and the lip naturally starts to lose its volume, along with repetitive bunching of the tissue from muscle movement.

These vertical lines appear just above the mouth and actually occur in non-smokers as well. Even if you never smoked in your life, you can develop fine lines around the mouth from sipping through a straw, whistling a tune or pursing your lips in frustration.

But if you are a smoker these lip lines are formed in 2 ways:

  1. The toxins in cigarettes accelerate the breakdown of collagen and elastin, two proteins that give structure and bounce to our skin.
  2. The repeated action of pursing your lips and sucking through a cigarette gives way to the formation of dynamic lines—that is, the wrinkles that develop when we repeatedly make certain facial expressions.

As well as natural ageing, the effects of sun exposure can also develop and increase the lines around the lips. Since the lips often go unprotected, they’re more susceptible to developing fine lines and wrinkles.


Typically, these stubborn lines are treated in a few different ways. But the extent of the lines and your desired results will influence your choice in treatment.


Chemical peels remove the top layers of the epidermis, revealing fresher, smoother skin beneath. The treatment encourages the production of new collagen that leads to more fullness above the lips and therefore fewer lines. The peels can tighten the skin and improve the overall colour, tone and texture. 

The downside is that this treatment option requires a series of peels before results can be seen. Due to the number of treatments required this can lead to hypo-pigmentation, or permanent loss of colour of the skin around the mouth, which deters some patients from the treatment.


Ultherapy is a non-invasive and natural treatment option for those pesky static lip wrinkles. The treatment uses focused ultrasound energy to stimulate collagen in the skin.

The results of lifting and tightening can be more subtle than injectables, but the upside is – there is no downtime. Results are typically seen 3 months after treatment and can last up to two years.


I typically prefer to treat upper lip lines with dermal fillers, anti-wrinkle injections or a combination of both.

Dermal Fillers

Dermal fillers offer the most effective non-surgical method for treating smoker’s lines. Usually only requiring a very small volume of the dermal filler injected into precise locations along the lines and lip border.

Not only is it a cost-effective way of treatment but the results that can be achieved using dermal fillers are stunning and still natural-looking.

Anti-Wrinkle Injections

Anti-Wrinkle Injections will help to relax muscle contractions, thereby relaxing the lines, whilst dermal fillers soften the more permanent etching that may have occurred around the lip area.

Not only does the combination of dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections give superior results, but this regime will also help extend the longevity of the overall outcome.

Also worth considering is a little bit of lip enhancement. Adding some bulk to the lips with dermal lip fillers will also have a positive effect on the smoker’s lines by further elongating the lip that may have contracted over the years.

Both options a quick on office treatments with very little to no side effects.


You can begin by booking your free, no-obligation consultation valued at $250 with me today.

During your free, no-obligation comprehensive consultation, I get to know you and discuss your desired outcomes, your ultimate experience, and your concerns, so we get it right the first time. We discuss timelines, expectations, best treatments, and payment plans.

Most importantly, I will explain why they are the best options and go over the results you can expect to allow you to feel comfortable and confident you are making the right decision.

For more information on Dr. Theva’s dermal fillers and happy clients, please click here.