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Could Gum-chewing Cause Wrinkles; Shorten Filler Lifespan?

Posted: March 10, 2010

If some of your clients are noticing increased wrinkles around their mouths or a shortened lifespan of their injectable fillers, ask them to consider whether gum-chewing may be the culprit.

It freshens your breath and helps you quit smoking, but some cosmetic surgeons believe chewing gum does one more thing: It gives you wrinkles.

“Many of my patients who are gum chewers have a certain pattern of wrinkles around their mouths,” says Joel Schlessinger, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon from Omaha, Nebraska. “And I think the gum is responsible to some degree for it.” (Schlessinger was also a cover profile for Skin Inc. magazine's sister publication, Merge magazine. Check it out.)

Although no studies have been done showing a link between chewing gum and wrinkles, the topic does come up with some regularity on beauty blogs. Experts attribute the gum-wrinkle connection to two things. First, there’s the repetitive motion of chewing that causes lines and folds around the mouth due to muscle overuse, says Hema Sundaram, MD, a Washington, D.C.-area cosmetic surgeon and laser expert. “I believe chewing gum promotes muscle overactivity and potentially breaks down support tissue within the skin, contributing to volume loss and perhaps loss of skin elasticity,” she says.

What's more, chewing gum can dislodge dermal fillers that people have injected into their faces to plump up their wrinkles. “It makes your Restylane and other fillers last a shorter period of time,” says Sundaram.