Effect of Smoking on Skin

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Woman smoking

It’s not exactly a hotly-debated notion that smoking is bad for you. If you’re a current smoker, the reasons to quit are already numerous and dire. Unless loss of vision, irritability, coughing, heart issues, blood clots, high cholesterol, higher risk for diabetes, early menopause, infertility, pregnancy complications, fatigue, compromised immune system, lung cancer, or blood cancer sound fun, you really, really should be trying to quit right now. We know it’s hard, and we know that’s an understatement, but you owe it to yourself to try.

But that’s not all. As if there weren’t already way too many reasons to try and quit, we’re going to give you several more today. As it turns out, smoking has a seriously detrimental effect on your skin. Well, actually, several seriously detrimental effects on your skin. So not only is quitting smoking a very, very good idea for general health and well-being, it’s also a good idea if you want to look good, and take good care of your skin.

Wrinkles and “Smoker’s Lines”
Overtime, smoking cigarettes or cigars (cigarettes are probably the most damaging thing you could smoke, but regular use of cigars or any other tobacco products will have similar detrimental effects) will actually give you an assortment of fine lines at a highly accelerated rate compared to the normal aging process. It’s not known exactly why this happens, but contributing factors include the heat from the cigarettes being held near your face and in your mouth, reduced blood supply to the skin (nicotine stimulates the constricting of blood vessels, impairing your cardiovascular system), and lower vitamin A levels that have been associated with regular smoking.

Discoloration
The fine lines aren’t even the worst part, though. Nicotine also causes permanent changes in the coloration of your face. The longer you smoke, the more redness and pigmentation you’ll get, giving you a very uneven skin tone, one of the biggest indicators of age. An uneven skin tone adds years to your face and robs you of your radiant glow. Your skin will also gradually become dull and ashy as you smoke, adding insult to injury.

Wound Healing
It’s well known that smoking cigarettes also makes you heal a lot slower. This is bad in general, but it’s relevant to skincare because this means that the smallest of cuts, scrapes, and other wounds are going to stay unhealed for longer. For one thing, this means that unsightly aberrations on you skin will have to stick around for longer until they heal up, meaning you have to deal with them longer and put up with the aesthetic consequences. For another thing, though, wounds that stay open longer have more chances to get infected, and another of smoking’s insidious effects on your body is a weakened immune system. This means that if that tiny little cut you’d normally never worry about does get infected, it will take a very long time for your body to rid itself of the infection, assuming it ever does. You could end up with permanent scarring, dealing with an infected wound that just won’t go away (and all the while is sitting there making your skin look hideous, and getting worse-looking while infected), and potentially getting yourself sick when you could have otherwise avoided it.

In short, smoking is a bad idea for a number of reasons, and it’s most definitely bad for your skin. Quitting is hard, but you can do it, and you’ll be glad you did.

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