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What Does Smoking Really Do To Your Skin's Health?

Written by Nadia McCracken on October 14th, 2014.      1 comments

It's fact: smoking can accelerate the skin ageing process in the skin.
 
Since the 1970's studies have shown that smoking results in more premature facial wrinkling than sun exposure. Lines around the eyes called “crow's feet” can develop at an earlier age. Multiple vertical lines around the mouth also occur and are called “smoker's lines”. These effects continue into old age. By the age of 70 years, smoking 30 cigarettes a day could lead to the equivalent of an extra 14 years of skin ageing!

Ageing of the skin means that it develops wrinkles and lines and can become dry and coarse with uneven skin colouring and broken blood vessels (telangiectasia). Smokers can appear gaunt and develop an orange or grey complexion.
SpaBeauty Smoking Article

It's no secret that smoking is a potentially life-threatening habit that also negatively affects your body’s health & wellbeing.  As Beauty Therapists, we are particularly concerned about the threat that smoking poses specifically to the condition of a person’s skin. 

How does smoking cause ageing of the skin?
  • Heat from the cigarette directly burns the skin
  • Changes and breakdown in the elastic fibres of the skin
  • Narrowing of blood vessels (vasoconstriction), which reduces blood supply to the skin
  • This reduces oxygen and nutrient supply to the skin
  • Reducing Vitamin A levels within the skin 
  • Moisture loss within the skin
  • Loss of Collagen within the skin
When inhaling cigarette smoke, many people automatically crease their lips and squint their eyes. These habitual facial expressions, particularly for chronic smokers, may exacerbate the emergence of lines and wrinkles around the mouth and eyes.

Smoking has also been proven to accelerate the rate at which the skin develops lines. Many of the more than 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke also damage collagen and elastin, which are fibres that give your skin its strength and elasticity. As a result, skin begins to sag and wrinkle prematurely because of smoking.

These toxic substances, such as nicotine, causes vaso-constriction, which is the narrowing of the skin's blood vessels. This in turn results in blockages to the body’s natural circulation of blood, which reduces the extent to which oxygen and essential nutrients are supplied to the dermis and the stratum germanitivum. Smoking also damages important fibrous nutrients within the skin's collagen and elastin, both of which are responsible for maintaining the skin’s surface elasticity, suppleness, and firmness. Deficiencies in these nutrients cause the appearance of permanent wrinkles and a leathery skin surface. Uneven and disturbed blood circulation also has a negative impact on skin complexion, causing it to become pale, dull and dry.

In the long-term, smoking increases a person’s risk of developing health conditions as emphysema, heart attack, stroke, and cancer. These chronic and potentially deadly diseases also have a negative impact on the skin's health. The medical treatments employed to treat serious illnesses such as these contain complex chemical substances, which although may be life-saving, can cause the skin’s health to deplete dramatically.

Recent studies show that there is a proven correlation between smoking and the development of Psoriasis. "Smokers are at higher risk of developing the autoimmune skin condition psoriasis than non-smokers, a new study finds, possibly because smoking pushes the body's immune system into overdrive" . HealthDay News.

Nicotine in cigarettes is cited as being the most likely cause in this correlation given the devastating extent to which it damages the body’s immune system. This does not mean that smoking directly causes Psoriasis. Instead, it contributes to the creation of an environment within the body in which the disease is prone to develop in. This causes skin cell metabolism failure to the extent where the epidermis is unable to repel the disease’s toxins.

There is no denying that smoking brings you closer to early ageing, and not to mention skin disease and other degenerative and life-threatening diseases.
However, it is never too late. Studies have found that quit smoking can make much difference even for heavy smoker. Quit smoking now, it the best way to protect yourself.

In conclusion, smoking is a habit that the skin – and the body in general – can do without. The best measure is always prevention, which means not to smoke at all. However, if you are a smoker, stopping now is not too late. Many researches have proven that quitting cigarette smoking late in life can in fact make a substantial difference to a person’s level of health.
Does Smoking Affect the Skin SpaBeauty


 
 

1 Comments

Taryn Johnstone says ...
Great, Great article Nadia.
I will be printing a couple of these out and giving them to family members.

Really packed full of info that a lot of people dont know about.

Awesome work!

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