You already know perfectly well that smoking is unhealthy. It causes lung cancer, strains the heart, and leads to a host of other serious health problems. The sooner you quit, the sooner you can start reducing the health risks you are facing. Not all of the damage smoking does can be reversed, though. When it comes to keeping your skin healthy, you need to think about quitting sooner rather than later.
Accelerating The Aging Process
Although smoking does a lot of different things to your skin and none of them are good, if you want to boil down its effects to a single sentence, this is it: Smoking makes your skin age faster. This happens due to a number of factors that are both internal and external. The presence of smoke around your face leads to squinting, frowning and other wrinkle-causing activity.
The chemicals that are going into your body when you smoke are causing havoc with your skin’s ability to stand up to that activity. Nicotine is no friend to collagen, the stretchy connective material that keeps your skin smooth. That means that wrinkles appear faster. It also deletes the moisture in your skin and reduces Vitamin A and Vitamin C levels…all necessary to prevent premature aging of your skin.
Slowing Down The Healing Process
All of the poisonous ingredients you introduce to your system when you smoke also makes it harder for your skin to repair itself from all sorts of damage. That means that the UV radiation from direct sunlight will have a greater effect on you (and smoking is worse for your skin than prolonged sun exposure!). More direct forms of damage, such as acne and wounds, will take longer to heal leading to a greater amount of scarring.
Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it causes contraction throughout your blood vessels. In your skin, where the ordinary health of individual cells relies on a steady supply of nutrients from your blood, this translates into starvation rations. All it takes is a little extra trauma to damage your skin permanently and it will have a harder time snapping back if you continue to smoke. Smoking even interferes with your sleep habits, robbing you of the natural rest your skin relies on to replenish and repair itself.
There is also the issue of psoriasis to worry about. This persistent, scaly skin affliction grows increasingly likely as you get older. Although psoriasis is rarely a pressing health risk, it can be unpleasant and disfiguring. Smoking increases your odds of developing it and it will make psoriasis more severe if you do get it. The longer you smoke, the worse your chances of escaping unscathed.
Increased Risks For Serious Diseases
Beyond the structural damage it causes to your skin, smoking also makes you more susceptible than you want to be to a lot of harmful conditions. Many viral infections that can cause skin problems, such as HPV, occur more frequently in smokers. Besides the increased risk of lung cancer you already know about, smoking also increases your risk for developing squamous cell carcinoma which is a type of skin cancer.
If you are looking to add to the heap of medical evidence that you can use to justify kicking the nicotine habit, skin health is a great place to look. A long-term smoking habit does severe damage to your skin and can lead to lifelong problems you will have to deal with. If you want to preserve your complexion and look your best, giving up tobacco is an excellent idea.
Written by Shana Smith, a natural health enthusiast and successful business owner. She owns a site, HealthyIdeasLive.com, which is dedicated to a healthy lifestyle.
Photo by Sunrise on Unsplash