Tobacco smoke carries several harmful toxic chemicals that can damage skin cells. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen reaching the skin, resulting in increased inflammation, delayed wound healing, and skin disorders.
Additionally, smoking restricts blood flow and increases collagen breakdown in the skin, inducing skin aging.
This article will discuss how smoking can affect physical appearance, including the face, skin, eyes, and more. It will also explain how quitting smoking can improve the skin.
Over time, exposure to cigarette smoke can alter physical appearance. It contains various carcinogenic chemicals, which are substances that contribute to the formation of cancer.
These toxic chemicals can cause several chronic conditions and diseases, as well as damage to the skin, teeth, eyes, and hair.
Smoking cigarettes can cause:
- premature skin aging, such as baggy eyelids and a slack jawline
- delayed wound healing
- skin disorders such as psoriasis
- inflammatory skin diseases such as acne
- facial wrinkles, such as lines around the lips
- dry, dull, and gray skin
- yellowing fingers and fingernails
- stained teeth
Cigarettes also contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance that can also lead to dermatological diseases such as:
When a person smokes cigarettes, they take in more than 7,000 chemicals, carrying toxins to every organ of the body, including the skin.
Smoking also affects blood flow by making the blood vessels narrower. This reduces the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the skin.
Collagen, a protein produced by the body, plays an important role in the structure and function of skin, tendons, connective tissue, and more. It gives the skin its elasticity and decreases with age, resulting in wrinkles and further signs of aging.
Tobacco smoke can induce metalloproteinase MMP-1, an enzyme that can break down collagen, decreasing skin elasticity.
Decreasing skin elasticity can produce:
- loss of firmness
- changes in the elastic fibers of the skin
- vasoconstriction, which is the narrowing of blood vessels, reducing blood supply to the skin
- reduced moisture in the skin
Smokers’ wrinkles can be particularly noticeable around the mouth, as smoking encourages constant puckering of the lips when taking a drag of a cigarette. Additionally, the eyes develop “crow’s feet” around the outer corners.
A person’s oral health may reflect their general health. The
The condition can affect a person’s bone structure, supporting their teeth. In severe cases, this can result in tooth loss.
- forms DNA adducts, which are pre-cancerous substances
- causes free radical damage to the hair follicle
- causes narrowing blood vessels
Smoking can damage the blood vessels of the eye, causing a bloodshot appearance and irritation.
Smoking also changes the eyes in ways that can lead to vision loss. According to the
Smokers are also twice or three times as likely to develop cataracts, which are when cloudy patches develop on the lens of the eye. These statistics compare smokers with people who do not smoke.
According to the
They also remove the harmful effects of smoking on their skin mentioned above, which means improved:
- skin elasticity by allowing collagen production to normalize
- blood flow to the skin as the vessels widen, allowing nutrients to flow more easily to the skin
- symptoms of pre-existing skin conditions, such as acne, that smoking made worse
Benefits to quitting smoking
No matter how long a person has smoked, quitting always brings health benefits, according to the
- improved general health
- improved quality of life
- reduced risk of early death, adding 10 years to life expectancy
- reduced risk of a range of smoking-related health problems
A person who quits smoking reduces their risk of health issues related to the reproductive, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems and a wide range of cancers.
Taking care of your skin is always important and can help slow the progression of skin damage alongside stopping smoking.
These proteins were mostly related to oxidative stress, skin integrity, and the inflammatory response. As vitamin E is a commonly used antioxidant, the authors concluded that this nutrient could help to reverse the harmful effects of cigarette smoke on keratinocytes.
Additionally, a 2021 study suggested that future treatments for smoking-related health problems, including skin problems, could involve balancing the bacterial populations in the gut with probiotic supplements.
The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) includes eating a healthy, well-balanced diet on its list of ways to reduce premature skin aging. This can mean eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits and limiting sugar and other refined carbohydrates.
A person considering taking supplements should always seek guidance from a qualified professional.
Smoking links to various health problems, from cancer and cardiovascular disease to dental problems and skin conditions.
It also affects a person’s looks by causing physical signs such as sagging skin, bloodshot eyes, and hair loss.
Quitting smoking is one of the best things a person can do to improve the condition of their skin and their overall health.