What Causes Wrinkles Around the Mouth?

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With all the work your mouth does every day--smiling, talking, eating, frowning and kissing just for starters--it's no wonder that the delicate skin around your mouth is often one of the first places on your face to show the signs of aging. Though wrinkles are an inevitable part of getting older, you can minimize their appearance and slow their progress by knowing what causes them.

Blame it On the Sun

Spending time in the sun is one of the major causes of wrinkles around your mouth and everywhere else. The sun's ultraviolet radiation breaks down the collagen that gives your skin its firm structure and erodes the elastin that helps your skin bounce back to its original shape when it's been stretched, states the Cleveland Clinic. You can protect your mouth from wrinkles by wearing sunscreen on your lips, lip balm with sunscreen, or a moisturizer with sunscreen on and around your lips.

Smoking Slows Down Collagen Production

Smoke slows down your body's production of collagen, leaving fissures in the inner layers of your skin that can cause wrinkles, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Since your mouth is the spot cigarette smoke exits, the sensitive skin around your mouth and lips is especially prone to smoke-related collagen deterioration. The habitual mouth movements of smoking can also lead to wrinkles over time, which means quitting smoking isn't just good for your health, it's also good for reducing the effects of aging.

Pursing and Puckering May Cause Wrinkling

Drinking from water bottles and other containers that require you to purse your lips can cause wrinkles to form over time, says Gunilla Eisenberg, facialist and owner of San Francisco's Gunilla Skin Butik, in an article published in "Spa" magazine. Switching to a wide-brimmed glass or bottle can slow down the wrinkling process.

Gum-Chewing Woes

Chewing gum may make you more likely to get wrinkles, says Omaha, Neb.-based dermatologist and surgeon Joel Schlessinger, M.D., according to a report published on NBCNews.com. Schlessinger theorizes that the repetitive chewing motion is responsible for the formation of mouth wrinkles in many of his gum-chewing patients.