We all know the dangers of smoking, right? We’ve heard it a million times. About 1.1 billion people - 1 in 3 adults are smokers, according to the World Health Organization. No one goes into smoking expecting to become addicted, but that’s what nicotine will do to you.
The majority of people would like to stop smoking, only about 6% are able to quit in the first year. A lot of these users will need medications or nicotine replacement to slowly stop. Most smokers don’t see side effects for several years. Cigarettes cause several health conditions, including premature aging. With all these side effects, one of the main parts of your body that can take a beating is your skin.
There are many ways in which smoking affects your skin.
Smoking will deprive your skin of oxygen and nutrients that it needs to have proper blood flow. This will cause the skin to look pale, have broken blood vessels, and accelerate the appearance aging.
Loss of Collagen
Smoking sparks the loss of collagen and elastin which gives your skin strength and elasticity. This will result in sagging skin, bags under eyes, and deep wrinkles. This won’t just happen to your face, you’ll see the affects over your entire body.
It’s common to see someone with distinct wrinkles around their mouth. This is due to both the loss of elasticity in the skin and the motion used to inhale on the cigarette. This distinct wrinkling is referred to as smoker’s lips.
This is a known skin condition that leaves your skin scaly, with itchy patches. Research has shown that people who smoke have a greater chance of developing psoriasis. Studies have also shown a 20% increase in risk for those who smoke regularly for ten years, and for those who smoke regularly for 20 years see a 60% increase in risk.
The nicotine in cigarettes is notorious for staining the walls of your home, they can also do the same to your fingers, nails and teeth. These stains are usually a sickly yellow color and can’t be remove. The stains, if the user quits, will eventually fade over time.
Nicotine causes vasoconstriction which causes blood vessels to narrow and can limit oxygen blood flow to the tiny vessels in the face or other parts of the body. If you were to get injured or cut, it would take your body longer to heal, also leaving your body with bigger and more obvious scars.
Smoking is a leading cause for cancer. This includes lung, throat, mouth, and esophageal cancer. So, it shouldn’t surprise you that cigarettes can also increase your risk of skin cancer. According to a 2001 study, smokers are three times as likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common type of skin cancer, than nonsmokers.
These are just some of the side effects of smoking. However, smokers quit, they should see some improvements in their skin health. Although stretch marks and wrinkles won’t disappear, they may improve. The return of normal blood flow to skin cells will allow oxygen and nutrients to go back to where it belongs, and your skin will begin to look healthy once again. Collagen and elastin will assist in that as well, as they're no longer being slowed down by toxins in cigarettes.
If you're still smoking, throw those cigarettes away and get started on making your skin glow again.