The Effects Of Smoking On Your Skin
Most of us realize the dangers that smoking poses to our long-term health. Lung cancer, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis are well-known results from a lifetime of habitual smoking. But, there are additional impacts of exposure to cigarette smoke. While some of them aren’t life-threatening, they have a visible effect on a smoker’s physical appearance. Smoking makes a person look older than their years. Below, you’ll learn how smoking affects your skin and the ways in which the damage manifests.
How Smoking Affects Your Skin
Cigarette smoke contains thousands of various carcinogens, toxins and other chemicals. Each time you take a puff, you introduce all of these compounds into your bloodstream. The arteries and veins throughout your body carry them (though your blood) directly to your skin. When the blood is rich in oxygen and in plentiful supply, your skin will generally look healthy. This is due to the oxygen replenishing your skin while removing waste product through the bloodstream.
Smoking reduces the blood supply to your skin. It can also cause your skin’s blood vessels to contract. When combined, a reduced blood supply and the contraction of blood vessels inhibit the amount of healthy blood available for skin regeneration and removal of waste product. Eventually, the skin begins to sustain damage from lack of oxygen and collagen.
Premature Aging from Smoking
Each time a person inhales cigarette smoke, they’re essentially consuming a cocktail of deadly compounds. These include hydrogen cyanide, cadmium, arsenic, tar and prussic acid. Many of these chemicals hit your bloodstream immediately. This has 2 effects that can cause premature aging in your skin. First, the chemicals are distributed to your skin’s blood vessels. There, they replace the oxygen that your skin requires.
Second, these compounds can begin to impede the absorption of vitamin C. Vitamin C preserves collagen, the fibrous protein that’s responsible for making your skin appear youthful. If your body is unable to absorb vitamin C, the collagen begins to deteriorate. When that happens, your skin begins to look worn and aged.
When the blood vessels throughout your skin don’t receive the blood supply they need, they begin to constrict. As a result, the blood vessels don’t receive the oxygen they need to replenish the skin’s cells. As a result, your skin begins to thin. Wrinkles emerge. Some people begin to develop a “leathery” appearance. All of these are symptoms of premature aging of the skin.
Other Effects On The Skin
With prolonged exposure to cigarette smoke, the pores of your skin can become clogged. This can cause your skin to look discolored, unnatural and unhealthy. There can even be a distinct residue left behind. As the internal damage of nicotine dries your skin and removes moisture, the external effects of the smoke provide an almost artificially-discolored pallor.
Can The Skin Damage Be Reversed?
The most effective way to treat the damage (internal and external) sustained by your skin is to quit smoking. In order for your skin to have a chance to regain a semblance of vitality, you must stop introducing the “compound cocktail” into your bloodstream. Then, use a deep-cleansing moisturizer to help remove some of the residue from the cigarette smoke. Use an additional moisturizer to hydrate your skin. If you’ve been smoking for several years, it’s likely that your skin will never regain all of its moisture and health. But, it’s never too late to begin doing everything you can to repair some of the damage.
Posted in Smoking Side Effects