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Is Chewing Gum Giving You Wrinkles?

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
Q: I have heard that Chewing Gum causes wrinkle around the mouth. Is it true?
Expert Answer

Wrinkles are caused by several contributing factors. The primary causes being the natural aging process, changes in hormonal levels, and slower process of skin repair. There are some other causes including exposure to harmful UV rays, poor skin hygiene and skin care regimen, poor nutrition, and lack of exercise, to name a few.

It’s quite common knowledge that smoking, both the harmful chemicals in it and the act of smoking itself, contributes to premature aging. But, chewing gum causing wrinkles? You ask, “How?”

To Chew or Not To Chew

According to Dr. Joel Schlessinger, habitual gum chewers form traces of fine lines around their mouth area, particularly noticeable on the side of the mouth typically used when chewing gum. He argues that gum chewers develop wrinkles prematurely as a result of overused facial muscles which, in turn, causes facial skin to sag and lose* elasticity thereby supporting the formation of fine lines.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger is a dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon practicing in Nebraska. He is also the founder of Skin Specialists, P.C., the Advanced Skin Research Centre, the LovelySkin Spa, LovelySkin.com, and LovelySkin retail store. He is also President Emeritus of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery1.

Celebrated Hollywood Dermatologist Jessica Wu shares Dr. Schlessinger’s opinion that regular gum chewing causes wrinkles, particularly on the upper lip. She adds that too much gum chewing can cause muscles around the jaw area to bulge.

Other skin care specialists think otherwise.

For instance, Japanese author Chizu Saeki, who wrote “The Japanese Skincare Revolution”, recommends gum chewing to exercise facial muscles. She further suggests to deliberately chew gum regularly for 5 to 20 minutes to help improve* blood circulation around the mouth area which, in turn, helps prevent wrinkles from forming. Chizu Saeki is a beauty consultant and an experienced aesthetician.

Other Health Benefits Of Gum Chewing

After all, several studies in the past have shown, and doctors now agree, that gum chewing results to several health benefits which includes relieving stress, increasing* alertness, improving* attention and focus, promoting weight management, and improving* oral health. Gum companies, in recognizing these benefits even came up with sugar-free gums.

Chewing gum helps prevent carries from forming by aiding in the removal of food residues. It also helps fight carries from worsening. Gum chewing has also been shown to help smokers quit the habit, with gums used as an alternative to fight the impulse of lighting up cigarettes.

People who frequently suffer from headaches and migraine attacks also commonly chew gums to help exercise tired muscles and stimulate veins on and around the face and temples. Although some headache sufferers also claim that chewing gum seems to trigger their headaches but, that may be more due to the gum content rather than the act of chewing itself.

If you’ve been chewing gums, there seems to be no alarming reason why you should stop the habit. You probably should focus more on correcting other bad habits that may be contributing to the lines on your face rather than being bothered by gum chewing.

Some of the things which you can start doing regularly to prevent early signs of skin aging are: wear sunscreen during daytime even when it’s cloudy, keep skin ultra-hydrated with creams and moisturizers, make it a habit to eat healthy, exercise regularly, quit smoking, and avoid drinking too much alcohol too frequently.

The Verdict on Gum Chewing

So does chewing gum really hasten the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines or doesn’t it?
Repeated facial expressions like smiling, squinting or, frowning do leave marks on your skin overtime. However, it is also a fact that exercising strengthens skin tissues and can help improve* skin elasticity, even if that only means exercising your jaws.

For this grey area in skin care, where both claims have weight, it’s alright to chew gums just refrain from popping a gum in your mouth one after the other. Too much chewing can harm your skin but no chewing at all means depriving your skin of the benefits it can derive from gum chewing.

Therefore, when it comes to gum chewing, we say, chew in moderation!

1Note: Joel Schlessinger” Wikipedia Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Schlessinger Accessed on: 11 Feb 2014