While there are countless reasons to quit smoking, such as the risk of developing lung disease, or early death due to smoking-related diseases, are you aware that this risky habit is also poisoning your complexion? Renowned Dermatologist, Dr. Amy Wechsler states that “In addition to being bad for your overall health, smoking has a negative impact on the skin, including bags under the eyes, premature aging, a loss of natural glow, and a susceptibility to psoriasis. Additionally, smoking depletes your body of nutrients like Vitamin C, which has been linked to sun protection.”
All of this typically occurs through suffocation. It is a fact that smoking just one cigarette constricts blood flow for up to 90 minutes. This means you are starving your skin from oxygen for an hour and a half after lighting up. Dermalogica’s director of education Annet King states that “By doing so, you’re inhibiting circulation and breaking down collagen and elastin.” Since the blood isn’t flowing you also become more prone to broken capillaries and veins, which can cause unsightly, dark scarring on your face. Not to forget that each time you take a drag you’re pursing your lips and furrowing your eyebrows making you a perfect candidate for premature aging. “Smokers typically show deep lines around the mouth, as well as vertical lines in between the eyebrows,” King notes.
Think that’s all the damage you’re doing? Wrong! It’s not until you actually exhale that most of the immediate damage to your skin occurs. When you exhale you’re releasing a cloud of toxicity. The nicotine, chemicals and tobacco float on top of your skin causing blackheads, especially around the mouth and cheeks where skin is more likely to be congested.
Thanks to science we know that smoking drastically compromises the immune system. However, most people forget how critical a healthy immune system is to beautiful skin. “Smokers heal much slower than non-smokers,” Dr. Wechsler points out. “Because of that, breakouts will take longer to clear up, which makes the risk of acne scarring much higher.” If you have a toxic cloud hanging out over a breakout those zits are more likely to reproduce on other areas of your skin. Since your immune system isn’t functioning at its best it won’t be able to heal post-acne marks, leaving you with unsightly scarring and a very expensive bill from the Dermatologists office when you try to repair them later in life.
Worse, if you’ve quite smoking traditional cigarettes and convinced yourself that the e-cigarette is a healthier alternative, guess again. It’s still nicotine. As King points out, “… there’s still smoke involved. Sure, it’s not as bad for the skin as tobacco, but there are still chemicals inside an e-cigarette, and those will envelop the skin when you exhale.”
What’s worse? Even if you’re not a smoker, your health can be seriously compromised by another’s second-hand smoke. King recommends a prescription of antioxidant-heavy moisturizers and a very thorough double-cleanse regimen. (“You’ll really want to wash away all those nasty chemicals!”)
If you’re seeking that summery, modelesque, glowing complexion the answer is simple. Kick your smoking habit and steer clear of smokers when they light up. Soon your face (and lungs) will thank you!