To Straw or Not to Straw? The Truth Behind the Wrinkly Old Wives' Tale

You're not going to like it.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Every morning I, like you, am at the mercy of iced coffee. Every time I bring that straw to my lips, life just gets better. And because science says coffee is good for you, it's a habit I never feel guilty about. least I didn't...until a friend recently asked me point-blank over Bloody Marys (another be-strawed drink I love): "Don't straws give you wrinkles?" I had heard it before, but it couldn't be true, right? And surely if it were, I—a beauty editor—would know about it?

From that brunch episode on, I tried to keep writing off the notion as nothing but an old wives' tale, as I  have done for years. But I had the annoying feeling I owed it to myself—and to you—to investigate. 

And by investigate, I mean ask celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau, the most passionate anti-aging practitioner I know. (Skin freaks, follow her on Twitter and you'll see what I mean).


(Image credit: Marie Claire)

So, to Straw or Not to Straw?

Short answer: Don't do it. It pains me to type those words, but Rouleau has spoken. According to her, there's just no way around it—it's an important habit to break if you want to avoid wrinkles (AKA smokers' lines) around the mouth. 

"When drinking out of a straw, the movement of the mouth area that you have to make will encourage the breakdown of collagen and elasticity more quickly, causing unnecessary wrinkles and lines," she explains. 

And it's not just straws you've got to worry about—water bottles are just as much of an offender.

"Drinking out of water bottles can also cause lines and wrinkles to form around the lips," she says. "If you're concerned about lines and wrinkles, you should drink directly from the glass."

But before you freak out about all the years you've logged drinking out of straws (all that Juicy Juice!), just know that anything before the age of 25 doesn't count.

"Collagen and elasticity are at their strongest from birth until the mid-20s, with a weakening starting to occur from age 25 and on," says Rouleau. "You should start being more conscious around this time as preventing wrinkles is far easier and less expensive than trying to get rid of them once they appear."

And there you have it. I'm sorry to be the bearer of such a brutally inconvenient truth, but I can assure you that drinking an iced coffee sans straw isn't a total drag, and it's easier to adjust to than you'd think—except when you're on the go. I've got the coffee stains on my favorite pair of boyfriend jeans to prove it.

Lauren Valenti
Beauty Editor

Lauren is the former beauty editor at Marie Claire. She love to while away the hours at coffee shops, hunt for vintage clothes, and bask in the rough-and-tumble beauty of NYC. She firmly believes that solitude can be a luxury if you’ve got the right soundtrack—that being the Rolling Stones, of course.