There was a time when people actually believed smoking cigarettes helped you lose weight, relax, and even look cool. But we all know all of that was actually just a bunch of smoke and mirrors. The ugly truth is, smoking has a negative impact on almost every organ of the body, including the largest organ of all—the skin.
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Cigarette smoke contains toxins that affect the quality of your skin, leading to lines, wrinkles, premature aging, and potentially even worse skin conditions.
More than 7,000 toxic chemicals are present in cigarette smoke. Among the many side effects, these carcinogenic ingredients can damage the cells of your skin and lead to signs of premature aging, including deeper wrinkles on the face, lines between the eyebrows, crow’s feet, and lines around the lips, and mouth. Nasolabial folds, the area of the skin that extends from the bottom of the nose to the edges of the mouth, have been found to be deeper among people who smoke as well.
In addition to lines and wrinkles, smokers tend to have less elastin and fewer collagen fibers in the skin than those who don’t smoke. This causes the skin to become harder and less elastic, losing its ability to bounce back when moved or stretched.
Further, because smoking narrows blood vessels, the amount of oxygen reaching the skin is reduced. If all that isn’t enough to convince you to break the habit, there’s more bad news. Smoking increases the production of free radicals, unstable atoms that can damage cell proteins and DNA by altering their chemical structure.
Other skin-related concerns caused by smoking include:
- Yellowing of the fingers and nails
- Baggy skin under the eyes
- Sagging skin at the jawline
- Uneven skin pigmentation
- Dark spots caused by increased melanin levels
- Wrinkles on the Hands
Smoking doesn’t only affect the appearance of your skin—it can damage your skin in other ways, too. Cigarette smoking decreases blood flow which increases the risk of skin infection. And because the skin is not able to heal properly, even cuts and scrapes can lead to scarring.
To make matters literally worse, if you have an existing skin condition, smoking could exacerbate the symptoms and may worsen the following conditions:
- Hidradenitis suppurativa (small, painful lumps on the skin)
- Cold sores
- Palmoplantar pustulosis (inflammatory disorder)
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (autoimmune disease)
- Vascular skin conditions (such as rosacea)
- Atopic dermatitis (the most common form of eczema)
In fact, studies have shown that even second-hand smoke can have a negative impact on the skin. This can be particularly harmful to the delicate developing skin of babies and young children.
Cigarette smoke contains carcinogens, which increases your risk of developing many types of cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma might look like rough or scaly red patches, raised lumps, open sores, or wart-like growths on your skin.
Electronic Cigarettes vs. Traditional Smoking
We all know that traditional cigarettes are terrible for our health. But what about e-cigarettes? Does vaping cause fewer wrinkles than cigarettes? Though e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco and many of the cancer-causing chemicals found in cigarettes, they do contain nicotine which causes premature aging and wrinkles.
The good news is that many experts agree that electronic cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes send nicotine to your body by heating it up and delivering it to you in the form of inhalable vapor instead of burning toxin-filled tobacco, the cause of most of the damage caused by cigarettes. You also avoid the thousands of chemicals found in traditional cigarettes.
However, the chemicals and heat aren’t the main contributors to wrinkles and premature aging when you smoke. Our skin’s real enemy is nicotine. And electronic cigarettes aren’t free of that. Just like in traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes contain nicotine that constricts the blood vessels, reducing blood flow to your skin. When your blood flow is reduced, your skin doesn’t get all of the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Fewer nutrients mean more wrinkles. And not just more facial wrinkles, but more wrinkles all over your body.
Nicotine has also been found to delay wound healing and accelerate general skin aging. The facial movements made when vaping can also lead to wrinkles on your face.
Beyond wrinkles and premature aging, electronic cigarettes have been found to contain other chemicals that could cause cancer. In fact, formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, from e-cigarettes could be 15 times higher than from smoking cigarettes. There is also increasing evidence to suggest that e-cigarettes may cause wrinkles, premature aging, and serious health issues.
So, when it comes down to it, the best thing you can do is to stop smoking altogether.
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What Happens When You Kick the Habit?
From premature wrinkles to discolouration, smoking can impact your appearance. But, don’t despair. Despite the effects smoking has on your skin, quitting can help you recover.
Here are just a few benefits you’ll notice once you’ve stamped out the last butt:
Slowing of the Ageing Process
While wrinkles that have developed may not disappear entirely, you will see an improvement in bad skin after quitting smoking after a short amount of time. In fact, your skin will begin to improve after a matter of days as collagen and elastin renew themselves.
Increased Cell Turnover
As your skin begins to repair itself, skin cell turnover will increase. This will help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve your skin’s ability to heal wounds, including acne scars.
Increased blood flow will also make you appear brighter with a healthy glow. You may also see a reduction in discoloration.
Prevent further damage
Finally, quitting smoking improves your skin by reducing the chances of developing serious skin conditions like cancer and preventing further damage.
For many people, one of the biggest motivators for quitting is improving the way they look. Beyond skin improvement, your health will also enjoy benefits within just 20 minutes of that final cigarette.
If you quit today, the damage stops today, and slowly, your skin and body can begin to repair themselves. But not all damage will go away.
The good news is, your youthful looks don’t have to go up in smoke forever. There are more options available every day for people who have quit and want to improve the appearance of their skin. But, the keyword is QUIT. It makes no sense to treat wrinkles caused by smoking until you break the habit. There are many anti-ageing treatments that can help improve skin damage from the effects of smoking.
- Muscle Relaxant Injections
- Dermal Fillers
- Laser Genesis
- Chemical Peels
If you’re ready to break the habit and erase the effects that smoking has left behind, call Specialist Skin Solutions @(02) 4934 1500 today to book an appointment. We’re dedicated to helping each one of our clients feel their best by bringing out their natural beauty and loving the skin they’re in. We look forward to speaking with you!
At Specialist Skin Solutions, we believe in transparency and education, first and foremost, providing every client with information, explanations, and treatment options before performing any procedure.
Offering a thorough consultation prior to treatment, we’ll discuss the areas of concern and the range of treatment options suggested to produce optimal results. The amount and type of product, as well as our pricing structure, will also be discussed during the consultation process so there are no surprises.