Since the beginning of human civilization, women have been obsessed with achieving that extra glow and resilient “bounce” in their skin. For instance, ancient Egyptians used essential oils, honey, and aloe vera to moisturize and protect their skin. The famous (or infamous) use of milk to bathe herself was synonymous with the last Pharaoh of Egypt, Cleopatra. Today, the quest for perfect-looking skin is equally sought after by both men and women.
While there is nothing surprising about the paragraph above, you might be surprised to learn that smoking actually causes you to look much older than your peers. In fact, heavy cigarette smokers are 4.7 times more likely to be wrinkled than nonsmokers their age¹.
Yes, just by lighting up, you are actually subjecting your skin to a barrage of damaging effects that will counter any efforts you make to keep your skin supple and youthful.
Cigarettes contain over 7,000 chemicals, and while many of them are harmful, a significant number are free radical generators. Free radicals are the cunning culprits in the aging process, the unstable molecules that damage cells and contribute to aging and disease.
When you light up, you’re essentially inviting a free radical party, and your skin will inevitably suffer the consequences. This oxidative stress leads to the breakdown of essential components of the skin, such as collagen and elastin, which are responsible for maintaining skin’s elasticity and firmness.
Smoking also causes the constriction of blood vessels, which reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients delivered to the skin. Not only does our skin lose its elasticity, but the constriction and deoxygenation of our skin also rob us of that pinkish glow we all long for. This is why heavy smokers tend to have pale and dull-looking skin.
In fact, the term “smoker’s face” was coined to describe someone with premature wrinkles, a dull complexion, and uneven skin tone.
So if you ARE a smoker, do not despair… there is still hope. The skin is a resilient organ, and it’s never too late to turn back the wrinkle clock. Quitting smoking can significantly improve skin health and help restore a more youthful appearance.
In conclusion, we all know that smoking brings about a whole entourage of negative health effects, including an increased risk of cancer, respiratory diseases, heart problems, and premature aging of the skin. It’s never too late to quit, so speak to our friendly pharmacists if you or someone you love needs assistance in quitting smoking.
1. Kadunce, D. P., Burr, R., Gress, R., Kanner, R., Lyon, J. L., & Zone, J. J. (1991). Cigarette smoking: risk factor for premature facial wrinkling. Annals of Internal Medicine, 114(10), 840-844.
2. Ernster, V. L., Grady, D., Miike, R., Black, D., Selby, J., & Kerlikowske, K. (1995). Facial wrinkling in men and women, by smoking status. American Journal of Public Health, 85(1), 78-82.
3. Lahmann, C., Bergemann, J., Harrison, G., & Young, A. R. (2001). Matrix metalloproteinase-1 and skin ageing in smokers. The Lancet, 357(9260), 935-936.