Most of us are already aware that smoking is a damaging habit that can affect important organs such as the lungs, heart, and brain as well as being one of the leading causes of cancer. Even though most smokers already know that tobacco has adverse effects on their health, they may not realize the premature aging that it produces in the skin.
Inhalation of just one puff from a cigarette exposes you to over 7,000 chemicals in addition to reducing the blood supply to the skin. This harmful combination damages the integrity of skin elastic fibres and collagen. The sagging skin that results can effect the whole body and is not limited to the face and neck. Reduced levels of vitamin A contribute to loss of moisture in the skin. In addition, skin discoloration, age spots, and premature lines around the eyes and lips can be the direct result of smoking.
Although quitting cigarettes alone makes the skin more resistant to premature aging, skin care options that include retinoids and antioxidants such as Vitamins C and E can help repair some of the damage already done. Cosmetic procedures such as laser skin resurfacing or skin peels can also help where the damage is most visible. Prevention of additional damage from the harmful UV radiation produced by the sun requires the regular use of sunscreens.
Written by Dr. Forley on August 31, 2016