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Smoking and your skin

How Smoking Affects Your Skin

Grace Michaeli

We’ve all heard and are familiar with the dangers of smoking. From lung damage, through heart diseases to a compromised immune system – it does it all. Yet, despite knowing of all these, we still light that cigarette. 


But have you ever considered how smoking affects your skin? Not just its appearance, but also its health. While smoke accumulates in your lungs, and other diseases may develop under the surface, your skin is the first and most visible organ that might point at a smoking problem. 


Wrinkles and Crinkles and Folds

As you age your skin gradually loses its collagen, and thus its elasticity. It also produces less oil and therefore becomes drier faster. Smoking accelerates the aging process and is linked to baggy eyes and cheeks, crow’s feet, smile lines and other crinkles. In fact it curbs the skin’s production of collagen – stimulating an already rather unwanted process.  


One of the organs that suffers from such crinkles more than others, are your lips. Lip wrinkles, also known as lip lines, are caused mostly due to the repetitive action of pursing your lips to take a puff from your cigarette. However, the increased production of free radicals caused by smoking, contributes to the skin’s premature aging and is one of the reasons of the deepening of the lines around the lips.  


Smoking accelerates the aging process
Smoking accelerates the aging process


Smoking Spots and Stains 

You’d be surprised to hear that your teeth are not the only organ that might be stained by smoking. Yes, yellow teeth are one of the more common side effects of smoking, but so are spots and uneven skin tone. When you smoke it can lead to tar-stained fingers (caused by the toxins produced by the cigarette) as well as skin blemishes and discoloration. 


But that is not all – smokers’ skin tone can seem yellower or grayer than others. Furthermore, since the smoke increases skin aging, it also affects the production of melanin; the color pigment in your skin and hair. Your skin’s overproduction of melanin causes age spots, otherwise known as liver spots. Studies have in fact shown a direct correlation between smoking and an increased appearance of these skin blemishes. 


There’s No Smoke Without a Breakout

Apparently, smoking clogs more than just your lungs – it blocks and poluts your facial skin pores. Though smoking can cause you acne, for those who do not suffer from it chronically the acne will be non-inflammatory. However, for people who have been struggling with acne their entire lives, smoking may lead to frequent breakouts


Since the smoke increases the production of sebum (the oily substance blocking pores) and reduces Vitamin E production (an antioxidant), facial pores are both clogged and struggle to heal. Thus, both smoke particles, oils and other bacterias increase inflammations and promote acne. 


Smoking blocks and poluts your facial skin pores
Smoking blocks and pollutes your facial skin pores


Clear the Smoke 

If you’ve already quit smoking and are now battling the ways in which it had affected your skin, you might want to consider a cleansing routine – one that would assist your skin’s recovery process. Indeed, quitting is the first and most crucial step, but so is using a skincare solution that would nourish and rejuvenate your skin. While you’re at it, make sure to rinse your face twice a day (no scrubbing), and smoothen those wrinkles and skin discolorations with a proper treatment. Out with the smoke and in with the cream. 

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