For decades, doctors and others in the public health field have been pointing out the adverse health affects of smoking tobacco. Despite those warnings, millions of people, around 15 percent of the adult population in the US, still smoke. As the new year gets underway, one of your resolutions might be to give up the tobacco habit for good. If you still need convincing, here’s a look at five ways smoking damages your skin and looks.
It Gives You Wrinkles
If you hear the phrase “dynamic wrinkles,” what comes to mind? Many people picture those two vertical lines the form between the eyebrows or the crow’s feet that develop at the corners of the eyes. But smoking can give you a different type of dynamic wrinkles, thanks to the puckering motion you make with your mouth when you take a drag on a cigarette.
“Smokers lines” are those short, fine lines that develop along the edges of the mouth. They aren’t always caused by smoking, but that’s one of the ways that you pretty much guarantee you’ll develop them. Although they are a type of dynamic wrinkle, meaning they’re created by repeated movements over the years, they are usually treated with a dermal filler, such as Restylane, rather than Botox. Quitting smoking ASAP can also help keep the lines from becoming overly pronounced or deeply etched in the skin.
It Ages You
Wrinkles are just one of the ways that smoking ages your skin. When you smoke, the amount of blood that flows to your skin is reduced. Your skin is less likely to get the oxygen and nutrients it needs to maintain itself, so you end up looking years older. For example, when blood doesn’t flow to your skin tissues as it should, the skin starts to look duller and feel dryer. Additionally, the lack of blood and oxygen limits the amount of collagen and elastin your skin produces, which can lead to sagging and even more wrinkles.
It Slows Down Healing
That reduction in blood flow doesn’t just age you. It also interferes with the body’s healing process. That’s why surgeons usually recommend that patients quit smoking before a plastic surgery procedure. Incisions aren’t likely to heal as well when a patient is actively smoking before and after his or her surgery.
Beyond surgical scars, smoking also interferes with your skin’s ability to heal from small cuts, which can mean any scars end up more visible and pronounced. Plus, smoking increases your risk for infection and can make it more difficult for your immune system to fight off an infection.
It Interferes With Sleep
Here’s a slightly indirect way in which smoking messes up your skin. Nicotine is a stimulant, which means it can keep you up at night or otherwise interfere with your ability to get your full 40 winks. Not getting the sleep you need can make you feel sluggish and out-of-it. Plus, when you feel tired, you usually look tired. You’re more likely to have bags under your eyes or dark circles, thanks to your tobacco habit.
It Increases Your Cancer Risk
You’re probably well aware of the fact that smoking increases your risk for lung cancer. But it also puts you at an increased risk for other types of cancer, among them skin cancer.
One reason for that is that exposure to tobacco smoke can amplify the negative effects of the sun’s UV rays. Another is that smoking affects your immune system, making you more likely to develop cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma.
Let’s face it: nothing good comes from smoking. Fortunately, you can get help with quitting from your doctor or a support group.
Once you’ve given up the habit, there are ways to restore your skin to a more youthful appearance. If you need a post-smoking makeover, call 281-810-9083 to schedule a consultation at Mirror Mirror Beauty Boutique in Houston, Texas.