Most people know that smoking is bad for their lungs and other body parts but you may be surprised to learn about smoking and the affect is has on your skin. Your skin is your largest organ although we tend to not think of it as an organ. We think of skin as sort of a cover for our organs but it is in and of itself an organ in its own right.
Smoking affects every organ in your body including your skin. Smoking ages your skin, causes fine lines around your mouth and dulls your skin but that is not all.
Smoking and the Affect it has on your Skin –The Aging Damage
Since the 1970’s there has been extensive research into the aging process and how smoking can contribute to it. Smoking causes lines around the mouth that are known as “smoker’s lines”. These smoker’s lines are little horizontal lines that form around the mouth from puckering up to take a drag off a cigarette. The aging does not stop with the deep lines around your mouth.
Smoking gives smokers a grey hue to their skin or sometimes even a yellowish hue to their skin from the nicotine that is present in cigarette smoke. Smokers tend to look drab, they lose the brightness to their skin because their skin is deprived of oxygen. Smoking damages the elastic fibers in the skin which can cause an increase in wrinkles and drooping skin.
Smoking also depletes the body’s ability to process Vitamin A, a vital nutrient for healthy skin. The depletion of Vitamin A means that the skin loses collagen production capabilities. Collagen is a vital component of keeping your skin plump, elastic and wrinkle free. The small capillaries in the skin shrink from smoking and deny the skin vital nutrients and oxygen which is what gives the smokers skin a bland colored hue.
There is some research that points to the idea that smokers skin ages at the rate of about 14 years faster. In other words if you are a 40 year old woman that has been smoking for 10 years or more you will look like a 54 year old woman.
Smoking and the Affect it has on Your Skin- The Healing Factor
Smoking interrupts your skins ability to heal from everything from a minor cut to skin grafts for burn victims. Wound healing is interrupted in smokers because less of the blood cells that are responsible for wound healing can reach the skin. The narrowing of the veins from smoking keep the blood flowing to the extremities which impedes healing.
Of course that is not the only healing factor that is offset by smoking. Smokers are more prone to skin viruses and skin fungus. The skin becomes a breeding ground for both viral infections and bacterial infections when you smoke. There is research that confirms that smokers are at twice the risk for skin cancer as non-smokers.
Cancer of the mouth, lips and other skin cancers are far more likely to affect smokers than non-smokers. Acne inversa is also an effect of smoking. The nicotine in cigarettes causes a heightened production of acetylcholine which clogs the hair follicles and causes abscesses under the arm pits, in the groin area and under the breasts. These boil like afflictions can become infected and burst leaving large ulcers.
Smokers have a higher incidence of psoriasis. This scaly skin condition can appear anywhere on the body. It is believed that the nicotine in cigarettes binds to the immune cells and change how they act. It is believed that the immune cells will cause an overgrowth of skin cells when they are infiltrated by nicotine.
The overgrowth of cells manifests itself as psoriasis. One word sums of smoking and the affect it has on your skin - NEGATIVE. There is nothing good that smoking does for you or your skin. Every bit of research indicates that smoking has a very negative effect on every aspect of your skin.
The best advice out there is “don’t do it” and “quit now” to save your and preserve your skin's tone and appearance.