Should You Use a Wrinkle Straw?

Maybe it's the superior experience of sipping a fizzy, carbonated drink through a straw. Maybe it's the rise of the Stanley Cup, or the primacy of cold brew even in the winter months. Whatever it is, straws have evolved beyond single-use plastic straw man argument for personal environmental responsibility in much more.

There are paper straws, glass straws, metal straws and durable, reusable plastic straws. Many come with silicone accessories, cleaning systems, and custom cases.

Our endless enthusiasm for sipping food through narrow tubes has given rise to many innovations in the straw market. It also created a new anxiety: wrinkles on the lips.

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

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

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 support this.”

“The way the opening is designed, it allows you to drink through the straw without having to use the muscles around your lips as easily as compared to traditional straws,” Dr. Liu said. Because the contraction of these muscles is less repetitive when using an “anti-wrinkle” straw, perioral wrinkles are less likely to form.

“But, again, all of this is theoretical,” Dr. Liu said. “Wrinkles on the lips don't just result from repetitive movements. Genetics, sun damage and other factors such as occupation – such as musicians, who play with their mouth – can all influence 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 has wrinkles on their lips, using a wrinkle straw isn't going to be very helpful,” he continued, “so it's really a misnomer.”

The lack of peer-reviewed studies hasn't stopped aesthetics-conscious TikToking straw enthusiasts 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 – beautician and online influencer Michaela Scott raves about the product.

“This straw is a wrinkle-free straw, so you don't purse your lips too tightly when you drink sideways like this,” he said in the video, posted last week.

Wellness and beauty influencer Lauren Erro said it “might be the best anti-aging invention ever.”

“They always say straws make your mouth wrinkle, but this straw literally tries to prevent that,” she said in a recent TikTok.

Some commentators were less than impressed with the invention.

“This is such a tiring way to live,” one commenter declared.

“Just use a straw bro,” another replied.

Whether or not this is a passing trend, straws are part of a budding market on e-commerce sites. According to its inventor, Tim McManaman, the most popular anti-wrinkle straw, the Lipzi, has been purchased by tens of thousands of people.

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

When he presented the prototype to his wife and four children, they were unusually enthusiastic about the invention. “I brought this straw to the kitchen table and my wife's first reaction was, 'OK, this idea could really work,'” he said in an interview.

Moving from side hustle to the profitable family business, Lipzi began supplying wholesale spas in the Midwest; and Mr. McManaman said he recently received patent approval, which could help minimize counterfeit sellers on Amazon.

His daughter Grace helped him build the brand on social media, and his son TJ, a college senior, hopes to join the company after graduation.

Mr. McManaman added that he personally doesn't worry much about wrinkles on his lips.

“But there are a lot of people who do it,” he said. “There are a lot of people who take this pretty seriously.”

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