How does smoking affect skin?

We all know that smoking can have take a serious toll on the inside of your body, but what about the outside? If you’re a smoker and you knew more about the effects smoking can have on your appearance, would it add motivation for you to give up? If so, read on!

The effects of smoking on the skin

Being an active smoker can through show in your appearance in a number of ways:

  • Tobacco smoke has a drying effect on the skin’s surface.
  • It restricts blood vessels, which reduces the amount of blood flowing to the skin. This means the skin doesn’t get as much oxygen and other nutrients it should.
  • Research suggests that smoking reduces the body’s store of Vitamin A, which provides protection against some skin-damaging agents produced by smoking.
  • Squinting from the irritating nature of smoke and the repeated hourly puckering of the mouth when drawing on a cigarette can cause wrinkling around the eyes and mouth.
  • The skin ageing effects of smoking is probably due to increased production of an enzyme that breaks down collagen in the skin, which usually helps maintain skin elasticity. Smokers in their 40s often have as many facial wrinkles as non-smokers in their 60s.
  • Compared with non smokers, smokers have a two to threefold higher risk of developing psoriasis, a chronic skin condition which, while not life-threatening, can be extremely uncomfortable and disfiguring.

If you stop smoking, can it reverse the ageing effects?

Vickie Macrae is the NZ Therapist of Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking Clinics, which focus on removing the need and desire to smoke, rather than concentrating on creating health and appearance fears, and laying guilt. Allen Carr’s programme has helped a number of celebrities quit smoking, including Ashton Kutcher, Dave Gibson (Elemeno P),  Ellen Degeneres and Anjelica Huston.

Vickie says, “Feedback from clients who stop smoking at an Allen Carr’s Easyway Clinic confirms that stopping smoking does reduce the appearance of ageing, many tell us that they have been told they look 10 years younger, very shortly after they stopped.”

Although fear of the ageing effects of smoking is unlikely to help a smoker to stop (the first thing a smoker does when they experience fear is to light a cigarette!), it can help provide motivation to do so and sometimes a little kickstart is all you need.

For further information contact:
North Island – Vickie Macrae, www.quitsmoking.co.nz 0800 QUIT NOW (784 8669)
South Island and Wellington – Laurence Cooke, www.easywaysouthisland.co.nz 0800 EASYWAY (327 9929)

Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – gameanna

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