Whether you like it or not, lifestyle choices have a huge effect on your skin’s health and appearance. Smoking is by far one of the most dangerous and deadly voluntary activities as it pertains to your internal and external health. In addition to increasing your risk for such fatal ailments as lung cancer and heart disease, smoking can also wreak havoc on your skin, eyes and hair. With each puff of smoke, you are sealing your skin’s fate by prematurely aging it ahead of its time.
The Effects of Smoking on Your Skin
When you inhale from a cigarette, you are introducing more than 4,000 chemicals into your body, including skin-damaging free radicals. These chemicals damage your collagen and elastin, the precious fibers that give your skin its youthful strength and elasticity. When collagen and elastin weaken, skin begins to sag and wrinkle. It is the lack of collagen and elastin that causes such irreversible damage to the skin.
Nicotine also causes blood vessels in the outermost layers of your skin to narrow, impairing blood flow to your skin and resulting in dry, dull, pale or blotchy skin. You may develop premature lines and wrinkles as well. Smoking also causes your body to produce fewer red blood cells. And with fewer red blood cells your skin can start to lose its healthy glow.
The physical act of smoking itself can lead to wrinkles. Those unsightly lines around the mouth common among long-term smokers are due to the repetitive pursing of the lips required to inhale.
Reducing the Damage of Cigarette Smoke
If you smoke, the best way to improve and help prevent further damage is to stop — now. In addition to the multitude of health benefits that come with quitting smoking, your circulation and skin tone should begin to improve within a few weeks of quitting.
- To reduce damage already done, use a moisturizer with Niacinimide, peptides and glycerin. These ingredients can help speed skin surface cell turnover, improving damaged skin and replenishing lost moisture.
- Try antioxidants, such as carnosine or vitamin E, to help protect the skin from surface free radical damage.
The good news is that the skin damage caused by smoking is reversible. Quitting and implementing a simple skincare routine today will help you regain your healthy complexion.