Do 'anti-wrinkle straws' work? Skin doctors are skeptical on this beauty trend


Drinking through a regular drinking straw is said to promote the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth. That's why TikTokers are turning to "anti-wrinkle straws". Photo: AFP

Has social media found a better way than Botox to ward off the fine lines and wrinkles that form naturally with age?

That's what some users of the Chinese social network, TikTok, seem to think, convinced that the appearance of these dreaded lines could be delayed by a strange and surprising new item: a drinking straw.

The idea might sound strange, but this special kind of straw is causing quite a stir on the social platform, to the point of racking up several million views to date. And that's just the beginning, considering that the phenomenon has – for the time being – mainly taken off in North America.

So why all the hype for what, at first glance, appears to be little more than a gimmick?

According to its converts, this straw supposedly overcomes the harmful effects of conventional drinking straws – not for the environment, but for the appearance of wrinkles.

Indeed, conventional straws are said to use too many muscles, forcing people to purse their lips, which, over time, leads to the appearance of those famous undesirable wrinkles.

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On the contrary, "anti-wrinkle straws" – whether created with this in mind or not – prevent the muscles around the mouth from contracting. Eureka!

The straws in question are much wider than traditional models, but above all they have a very specific shape.

Taking a curved form, they resemble a hook, enabling users to drink without having to purse their lips or strain the muscles around the mouth. The cheeks hollow as you suck up the liquid, but nothing else moves. And it's a major breakthrough – if not a revolutionary creation – according to the social media users who have adopted these straws.

However, experts aren't convinced, and neither – it should be pointed out – are the majority of the TikTok users who comment on the videos in question.

"I've got more important things to think about than worrying about the wrinkles that can appear when I drink through a straw," reads one comment.

"I just think that wrinkles will appear in a different place as a result," says another.

"I don't care about getting wrinkles: ageing is normal, so a regular straw is fine for me," one user comments.

And these more cynical users are far from alone...

Health professionals are also skeptical.

"There is no scientific evidence as to whether 'anti-wrinkle straws' are an effective method of preventing perioral wrinkles – also, some slight pursing of the lips is still involved," explains Dr Leah Totton, founder of the Dr Leah Cosmetic Skin Clinics chain, speaking to The Telegraph.

"You would have to be drinking through a normal straw very often for this to contribute to the formation of perioral wrinkles."

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This is echoed by Dr Jenny Liu, a dermatologist interviewed by The New York Times, who doesn't question the potential of these straws, but points out that there are no studies to back up the claims made about them.

She says: "Lip wrinkles are not just from repetitive movement. Genetics, sun damage, and other factors like occupation – like, for example musicians, that play with their mouth – can all affect the likelihood of developing lip wrinkles."

Rather than investing in such an accessory, it's probably best to work on eliminating all the major factors that can contribute to the appearance of wrinkles: smoking, lack of hydration, unprotected sun exposure and poor diet. And remember that the appearance of wrinkles is anything but abnormal as we age.

Alternatively, you could just stop drinking through straws and drink straight from the glass. – AFP Relaxnews

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beauty , trends , social media , TikTok , skincare


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