Your friend warned you saying “Be careful, chewing gum on a regular basis can cause wrinkles around your lips” or you have read somewhere that “Frequent gum chewing can lead to premature wrinkles on the lower face”.
In fact, it is not important how you became aware of the association between chewing gum and premature facial wrinkles. What matters is that right now you are reading this article and just want to know whether chewing gum can genuinely give you wrinkles.
First of all, it is important to underline the fact that wrinkles are inevitable. While some people may notice the first wrinkles in their 20s, others experience their first wrinkles in their ’30s or later. But, eventually, everyone develops wrinkles.
So now one thing is clear; soon or later everyone develops wrinkles whether they are gum chewers or not. Therefore, the question to ask should be ” can chewing gum speed up the formation of wrinkles around your mouth?”.
Does Chewing Gum Cause Premature Facial Wrinkles?
The short answer to this question is: Yes, chewing gum may give you premature wrinkles around your lower face, more precisely around your mouth.
However, it is quite important to emphasise that it is now impossible to prove this claim. This is because there is no scientific study or research carried out on this particular subject.
That being said, some board-certified dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons suggest that excessive chewing gum has the potential to speed up the formation of wrinkles around the mouth.
- What is the most sensible explanation for the fact that chewing gum brings about premature facial wrinkles?
- How do dermatologists explain the correlation between chewing gum and wrinkles which appear around the mouth?
Please, keep on reading to find out.
Potential Reasons That Chewing Gum Causes Wrinkles
According to dermatologists, there are two theories that could explain why constant chewing gum can cause wrinkles around the mouth.
1-) Repetitive facial movement.
2-) Reduced skin elasticity.
1) Repetitive Facial Movement
So what are the repetitive facial movements that we can think of right now? Smiling, talking, squinting or frowning?
Can they be categorised as repetitive facial movements that can lead to fine lines which can, later, turn into wrinkles?
According to Dr Imogen Bexfield; “Repeated facial expressions like smiling, squinting, or frowning do leave marks on your skin over time and chewing gum excessively can have an impact on these fine lines — particularly on and around the upper lip area which can contribute to wrinkles.” (7),(8).
Bear in mind, that words like ” too often, frequently, excessive ” are used by almost all dermatologists who talk about the relationship between chewing gum and premature wrinkles.
Because chewing gum can only pose a wrinkle risk when it happens almost every day over a long period of time.
That says if you chew gum occasionally, you don’t need to be concerned about the risk of premature wrinkles caused by excessive gum chewing.
Another board-certified dermatologist Dr Joel Schlessinger said that many of his patients who have the habit of chewing gum developed a certain pattern of wrinkles around their mouth. And, he thinks chewing gum has a role in these distinct wrinkles (9), (10).
It appears that repetitive facial movements whether it be gum chewing, smiling or squinting can lead to wrinkles if they happen frequently over a long period of time.
Relevant Example: Kim Kardashian
Here is a real-life example that might be quite relevant to our topic. Because, this example is about repeated facial expression (movement), which is supposedly the main reason why chewing gum is heavily associated with premature wrinkles. So, it should be worth mentioning.
What’s claimed is that Kim Kardashian (considered one of the most famous American TV personalities) doesn’t smile in front of cameras in order to prevent wrinkles that can occur around her eyes and mouth due to smiling.
We don’t know the exact reason why she (often) doesn’t smile in pictures. There can be various explanations for it.
Our main objective for giving this example is to remind the fact that Kim Kardashian is, in all likelihood, working with an acknowledged dermatologist to protect and maintain her appearance. And, she may have been advised to limit her facial expressions to avoid wrinkles.
Based on that, it should be safe to say that excessive gum chewing too (which is also a repetitive facial motion) can contribute to ridges and folds around the lower face.
2- Reduced Skin Elasticity
According to experts; chewing gum on a regular basis can also reduce skin elasticity by breaking down the collagen in the skin, thus leading to fine lines.
Speaking of collagen; it is the most abundant protein in the human body and has various roles (11).
According to dermatologists, another cause of collagen breakdown in the skin is repetitive facial motion (such as chewing gum or squinting frequently).
Experts from the SKINovative of Gilbert say “Repeatedly making an expression causes the collagen in your skin to break down in that area. Over time, the skin loses its elasticity and begins to form fine lines.” (15).
So, we now know that chewing (gum) is a repetitive facial muscle movement and repetitive muscle movement can break down the collagen over time.
And, collagen breakdown can either speed up the development of wrinkles or may make the existing ones deeper in that area.
It bears repeating, that chewing gum can increase the risk of developing premature wrinkles only if it happens too often over a long period of time.
Final Words About Chewing Gum and Wrinkles
In this article, we thoroughly discussed whether or not chewing gum contributes to the formation of wrinkles around the mouth.
There is no scientific study that could tell us whether gum chewing cause premature wrinkles in the lower face area. However, some acknowledged dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons believe and suggest that this habit is not skin-friendly; because it can lead to premature wrinkles around the mouth.
Our findings also point out the same conclusion: “Frequent gum chewing could cause folds and ridges around the mouth over time”.
It is once again important to underline that in order for chewing gum to lead to wrinkles, it has to repeat frequently over a long period of time. So, if you chew occasionally, you have nothing to worry about in terms of wrinkles.
What Can You Do?
If you constantly chew gum but at the same time are afraid of developing wrinkles, the best solution is to reduce the frequency and duration of chewing.
For instance; if you normally chew a piece of gum for 40 minutes, consider reducing it to 10 minutes. Furthermore, if you chew 10 pieces of gum each day, try to limit it to 4 to 5. Ten minutes for each piece of gum.
By the way, we shouldn’t make chewing gum a scapegoat. There are various causes of wrinkles including sunlight and some daily habits. Below, you will find the main causes of wrinkles.
Moreover, we should also mention the potential health benefits of chewing gum. Below, you will also find some of the benefits of chewing gum.
Benefits of Chewing Gum
If you consider giving up chewing gum due to its potential wrinkle-causing effect ageing effect on your face, you should also take the benefits of chewing gum into account. Then, assess the pros and cons.
Benefits of chewing gum :
- may reduce acid reflux (16)
- can protect teeth
- may increase concentration (17)
- freshens breath
- helps quit smoking (18)
- relieves stress
Other Everyday Habits That Can Give You Wrinkles
As mentioned above; other every day habits can also give you wrinkles. According to Ohio State University; here are some of them (21):
- Poor diet
- Not sleeping on your back
Tarkan is an experienced health writer ( currently more than 600 articles ) and also the founder of this website namely www.neededforhealth.com. His expertise in health stems from in-depth medical research and knowledge which he obtained over the course of many years.
Tarkan enjoys sharing factual knowledge on health, psychology and nutrition. He always aims to deliver evidence-based recommendations, provide links to related scientific studies.