Smoking was once advertised as the cure of a range of ailments, including asthma, pneumonia and has even been recently promoted as the cure for lung cancer. We all know that smoking is bad for you and can contribute to a range of respiratory problems, but it can also cause a range of skin concerns. Smoking has been attributed to accelerating the aging process, and contributing to the severity acne.
Cigarette smoke increases the amount of reactive oxygen species, such as free radicals, oxygen ions and peroxides in the body. These can cause damage to the body, depleting vitamin C (an essential vitamin for healthy skin) and end tissue oxygen supply. Not only does it deplete your body of its essentials, it also floods the body with harmful, carcinogenic toxins.
Smoking impacts on accelerated aging by depleting the skin of these essential nutrients, leading to dryness, fine lines and poor texture. Also, repetitive movements of the mouth when sucking on a cigarette can cause fine lines around the mouth. Reduced oxygen supply can also delay wound healing, which can contribute to the severity and duration of acne lesions. Quitting smoking at any age can help stop the effects of smoking on your skin.
A recent survey of twins at a town fair identified and compared pairs of a twin, one of whom was a smoker, the other a non smoker (or had a shorter history of smoking). The survey researchers took photographs of the participants, which were reviewed by cosmetic surgeons and dermatologists to identify differences in the skin.
To the untrained eye, the photographs in the reported study are remarkably different. The experts identified the smokers with ease, showing accelerated signs of aging well beyond their years including wrinkles, poor skin texture, broken capillaries and sagging skin. It was noted that even stopping smoking immediately would reduce the impact that smoking has on premature aging.
However cool you think smoking looks, you might end up being more disappointed in your skin health in the long run. If smoking is a problem for you, speak to your doctor or contact the Quitline for more information about how to quit smoking.
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