what smoking does to skin

I was never tempted to smoke.

As the daughter of two heavy smokers, I see first hand the damage it inflicts to your body. It ain’t pretty. I’m not talking just about lung cancer and heart diseases. We all know smoking causes those and, for many people, those aren’t good enough reasons to quit. *sighs*

But, if you’re here, I take it you care about your skin and want to look young for as long as possible. Smoking is getting in the way of that.

Here’s how smoking affects your skin and makes you look older before your time:

1. Smoking Makes You Age Faster

Smoking accelerates the aging process in several different ways:

  1. It generates free radicals, those unstable molecules that damage DNA cells and cause premature aging. Just one puff of your cigarette produces a trillion of them!
  2. Nicotine makes blood vessels constrict. This decreases blood flow, so your organs (skin included) can’t get the proper amount of oxygen and other nutrients they need to stay healthy and fight premature aging.
  3. It increases the production of an enzyme that breaks down the production of collagen, that awesome substance that keeps your skin elastic.
  4. It reduces the amount of vitamin A in the body. This is bad because vitamin A can protect skin from damage and fight premature wrinkles.
  5. It reduces the absorption of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps prevent premature aging and protect from sun damage.
  6. The repeated movements you make while smoking, like pursuing your lips and squinting your eyes, eventually cause wrinkles.

Related: 8 Science-Backed Ways To Rebuild Lost Collagen

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2. Smoking Ruins Your Looks

It’s not just wrinkles, ladies. Those take a long time to show up on your face, so it’s easy to put them off your mind for now.

Other side effects of smoking show up earlier and are impossible to ignore – both for you and those around you:

  1. Grey skin: Smoke turns your face a yellowish grey hue that makes you look permanently ill.
  2. Breakouts galore: Those tars and resins in your ciggies end up in your pores, clogging them. That’s why pimples keep popping up on your face.
  3. Dehydration: Skin becomes dry and dehydrated. It’s rough to the touch and, at times, just feels uncomfortable.

Related: Adult Acne: What It Is And How To Treat It

3. How Smoking Affects Your Teeth, Body, And Breath

Smoking doesn’t just damage your skin. It ruins in a couple of other ways, as well:

  1. Teeth: Smoking turns your teeth a brownish yellow.
  2. Altered body shape: Because smoking affects the glands that secrete hormones, it can alter your body shape, and give you thin legs and a potbelly.
  3. Ashtray smell: It makes your breath, and pores, smell like an ashtray.

Related: How Smoking Affects Your Teeth

Your Future Face, Revealed

These side effects may not seem like much now. But, before you know it, you’ll get the typical smoker’s face: gaunt, yellowish, saggy, and wrinkled. Not a pretty picture, is it?

The bottom line

Not all the damage caused by smoking can be reversed. But, by quitting, you’ll at least stop the damage from getting any worse. And, with the right skincare products, you can still achieve brighter and smoother skin.

Have I convinced you to quit smoking? Share your thoughts below.