Should You Use an Anti-Wrinkle Straw?

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Maybe it’s the superior experience of sipping a crisp, carbonated beverage through a straw. Maybe it’s the rise of Stanley Cups, or the supremacy of cold brew even in the winter months. Whatever it is, straws have evolved beyond the single-use plastic straw-man argument for environmental personal responsibility into so much more.

There are straws made of paper, glass straws, metal straws and durable, reusable plastic straws. Many come with their own silicone accessories, cleaning systems, and personalized carrying cases.

Our endless enthusiasm for sipping things through narrow tubes has birthed much innovation in the straw market. It has also created a new anxiety: lip wrinkles.

Traditional straws force sippers to purse their lips around the opening in an expression that many believe, over time, creates wrinkles around your lips, called perioral lines.

Enter the anti-wrinkle straw, shaped like the number 7, with a small hole at the top horizontal portion that allows users to drink without pursing their lips.

The straws work, “in theory,” said Jenny Liu, a Board-Certified dermatologist and Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. But she noted that there are “no studies to back it up.”

“The way the opening is designed, it allows for one to drink out of straw but not have to use the muscles around the lips as readily compared to traditional straws,” Dr. Liu said. Because there is less repetitive contraction of these muscles when using an “anti-wrinkle” straw, it’s less likely that perioral lines will form.

“But, again, all of this is theoretical,” Dr. Liu said. “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.”

Frequency of use also factors into the equation

“For someone who doesn’t usually use a straw to drink but does have lip wrinkles, using an anti-wrinkle straw is not going to be very helpful,” she continued, “so it’s really a misnomer.”

The lack of peer-reviewed studies has not prevented the aesthetically minded TikToking straw-enthusiasts out there from making anti-wrinkle straws the new thing.

In a video that has received more than 1.6 million views on TikTok — and even more on X — the aesthetician and online influencer Michaela Scott raved about the product.

“This straw is an anti-wrinkle straw, so you’re not pursing your lips as much when you drink out of it sideways like this,” she said in the video, posted last week.

The wellness and beauty influencer Lauren Erro claimed that it “might be the best invention for anti-aging ever.”

“They always say that straws give you mouth wrinkles, but this straw literally is trying to prevent that,” she said in a recent TikTok.

Some commenters were less than impressed with the invention.

“This is such a tiring way of living,” one commenter declared.

“Just use a straw bro,” replied another.

Whether or not it’s a fleeting trend the straws are part of a budding market on e-commerce sites. The most popular anti-wrinkle straw — the Lipzi — has been purchased by tens of thousands of people, according to its inventor, Tim McManaman.

Mr. McManaman, 58, lives in Normal, Ill., and works in procurement for a large financial services company. In his spare time, he enjoys inventing and patenting original ideas. An avid Diet Coke drinker, he got the idea for the Lipzi when he caught a glimpse of himself in the rearview as he was drinking from a straw and noticed just how many wrinkles formed around his lips when he sipped.

When he presented the prototype to his wife and four young adult children, they were uncharacteristically enthusiastic about the invention. “I brought this straw to the kitchen table and my wife’s first reaction was: ‘OK, this idea might actually work,’” he said in an interview.

As it goes from side gig to profitable family business Lipzi has started doing wholesale supply to spas in the Midwest; and Mr. McManaman said he has recently received patent approval, which could help minimize knockoff sellers on Amazon.

His daughter Grace has been helping him build the brand on social media, and his son TJ, a senior in college, is hoping to join the business after graduation.

Mr. McManaman added that personally doesn’t care much about lip wrinkles.

“But there’s a lot of people that do,” he said. “There’s a lot of people that take it pretty serious.”

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