Helton Skin and Laser Institute - Newport Beach, CA

Physician's Advice: Lip Wrinkles

There is a common misconception that wrinkles around the mouth are caused from slurping through a straw or caused by smoking. I have counseled many female patients who are saddened by these vertical wrinkles around their mouth, and they will exclaim," its not fair, I don't even smoke."

Lets look into how this phenomenon occurs. The muscles of the mouth are named Orbicularis Oris. Orbicularis means "sphincter around an orifice". Oris is latin for mouth. Like other sphincter muscles of the body, the muscle encircles the opening, in this case your mouth. It functions much the same way as a purse string does. Its job is to hold materials in the mouth and functions especially well with fluids. When you are younger there is plenty of tissue and fat between this muscle and the outer layer of skin. As you age and are exposed to ultraviolet light and an oxidating lifestyle the tissue previously surrounding the muscle begins to thin and the purse string effect of the muscle becomes obvious in the skin. To picture this think of the skin as being analogous to curtain fabric.Imagine how much easier it is to wrinkle a thin material verses a thicker one. Premature aging due to ultra violet light will happen to lighter eyed persons before darker eyed persons. This is because melanin in the pigment cells is proportional to ones eye color. Blue eyed people have the least and brown eyed people have the most. This is why blue eyed people seem to age faster. They have less natural defense against ultraviolet radiation. Women are affected more than men because men have thicker beards. Much like Rebarb reinforcing concrete, the thicker hair follicle in a male serves as a foundational support to keep the skins turgor. Smoking will also cause premature aging but for different reasons thatt we will discuss in the future.

Fortunately, these wrinkles are remedied by recent innovations in cosmetic dermatology called injectable fillers. There are many filler materials available but the ones most preferred by patients and Dermatologists for this area are hyaluronic acid fillers. In the past we used collagen injections for this purpose but it was an inferior product and not well suited for filling longevity. To put this science into an everyday perspective, imagine your skin as a swimming pool filled with water and people swimming with in it. For comparison purposes, collagen fibrils are represented by the people in the pool and hyaluronic acid is the water. There is 90% more hyaluronic acid than collagen in the skin and both will decrease as your skin is aging. Since collagen is a complex protein, the body would often attack any filler that had collagen in it, thus reducing its longevity. Hyaluronic acid however is a simple molecule whose job it is to attract water to itself. It is also one of the most common substances found in the body. An initial obstacle to using hyaluronic acid as a filler was that it had a short lifespan and needed to be recreated daily. To combat this short existance scientists cross-linked the molecules. That is to say they figured out a way for all the molecules to hold hands and thus resist degradation. The hyaluronic acids used today are formed through recombinant DNA technology, meaning it is an exact duplicate of what is in your body and then they are cross-linked so there is little to no chance of a reaction from your body. The result is a safe filler that lasts up to a year and is ideal for filling this area of the face. The injections are considered off label for this indication. The most popular fillers go by the Brand name Restylane(R) and JuvedermR). There is some skill and talent involved in injecting this material so be cautious of who you choose to perform this procedure. Think this might be for you? Come see us to find out.

Written by: Peter Helton, D.O. | Visit Dr Helton's blog

Helton Skin & Laser Institute | Peter Helton, D.O.
1901 Westcliff Dr, Suite 2 | Newport Beach, CA 92660 | 949.646.DERM (3376)