I’ve grown up with both my parents being pretty heavy smokers which luckily for me made me not want to smoke since it made me see that smoking is very hard on your skin. Stopping premature wrinkles and aging are two great reasons to quit smoking as well as all the other health benefits. When you stop smoking, skin damage can be reversed and your skin’s youthful glow can be restored.
There is great news concerning smoking rates in the UK. Across the country, the number of Canadians who are smoking dropped to the lowest number in four decades. Even smoking among teenagers was down since it is often seen as uncool to smoke. Among Britain’s ages 15 to 19, smoking dropped by 26%, from 44% in 1981 to 18% in 2005. Additionally, since smoking was banned in all public places across the UK, we are no longer exposed to second hand smoke during a night on the town and our clothes no longer reek of cigarette smoke. It also appears that quitting can be contagious. A recent New England Journal of Medicine report found that if one person in a group quite, those in their social circle and family are more likely to quit as well.
Even with these falling rates, about five million Britain’s over the age of 15 are still smoking. This population is paying a heavy toll for their cigarettes: 37,000 die from tobacco use every year. The social and health costs are more than £12 billion annually.
If the health consequences aren’t enough to get people to quit, there is another reason that might work. Smoking destroys the skin and prematurely ages the smoker. Smoking accelerates wrinkles, sagging skin, and skin discoloration. These can add years to your appearance. In some circumstances, this damage may be permanent.
According to Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s Dr. Peter Shelby, every time you smoke a cigarette, you are inhaling 4,000 harmful chemicals. These contribute to the accelerated aging of the body, the teeth, the face, and the skin.
For more than 30 years, researchers have observed the negative impact of smoking on the health of the skin. Today’s science now understands exactly what happens. Termed The Smoker’s Face, researchers determined that the toxic chemicals in cigarettes are what are prematurely aging smokers’ faces.
In 2006, Dr. Anatoli Freiman wrote a review of all current research into the effects of smoking cigarettes on the skin. He found that premature ageing of the face is caused by the harmful chemicals such as carbon monoxide, nicotine, formaldehyde, tar, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, lead, mercury and cadmium. The combined effect of inhaling these toxins was reduced blood flow to the skin, reduced oxygen circulation, and a breakdown in the skin’s cellular structure, including elastin and collagen. These last two substances provide skin its elasticity and resilience. The result is extensive premature wrinkling, especially around the lips and eyes. This wrinkling is often permanent, notes Freiman. Smoking cigarettes also reduces the skin’s water content. This can result in skin that is more fragile and very dry.
Dr. Freiman also found that cigarette smoke causes basal and squamous carcinoma, hair loss, and psoriasis. It may also be linked to other skin conditions which are associated with lupus, diabetes, and AIDS.
It is pretty clear that you should never start smoking, but if you do, quit now and switch to e cigarettes. You will live longer and look better.
Even if you have the money, cosmetic surgery is often not an option for smokers.
Smokers often have trouble healing, so many cosmetic surgeons will not perform procedures if they know a person smokes. With smokers, there is an increased potential for complications during and following surgery and many cosmetic and plastic surgeries will not operate on a smoker.
The University of British Colombia’s Chief of Plastic Surgery notes that any time a surgeon must stretch or raise a flap of skin, there is a risk. During breasts lifts, facelifts and tummy tucks, blood supply is compromised when the surgeon is operating. With a smoker, there is a very real risk of extensive scarring because the wounds won’t heal correctly. This may result in skin grafts or other follow-on procedures.