Smoking and Skin Aging- The Deeper Connection

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Cigarette smoking may be considered ‘fashionable’, or ‘mod’ to some, but in actuality, it is the opposite.
It not only causes scientifically documented and proven multi – organ damage, reduced life spans, and harm to others ( passive smoking ), but it will accelerate the signs of aging and is one of the primary causative factor in inducing premature wrinkles and damaged skin.Cigarette smoking can be controlled and is a modifiable factor in skin aging. It can also be a preventative measure, if one so chooses. Acting proactively is truly the way to go when it comes to maintaining radiant healthy skin.

Fact Sheet

  • The ‘ Cigarette face ’ as it is known, is characterized by pale, grey wrinkled skin, broken facial vessels with rather gaunt features and a dull mottled complexion. A heavy smoker can be distinguished by these facial features alone.
  • Heavy smokers are 5 times more likely to develop pre – mature wrinkles than non-smokers.
  • ‘ Smoker’s lips ’ are vertical lines around the mouth caused by chronic smoking, resulting from the constant puckering of the lips.
  • Studies indicate that smoking leads to oxidative damage at the DNA level, resulting in abnormal dermal and epidermal ( superficial and deep skin layers ) cells. Levels of collagen degradative enzymes such as the Matrix metalloproteinases ( MMP ’s 1 , 3 and 9 ) are increased leading to an abnormal acceleration of the aging process. Smoking may also lead to a diminished dermal – epidermal blood supply, thereby leading to reduced oxygenation of the collagen and elastin fibers resulting in the visible picture of the ‘smoker’s face’. Smoking will also reduce levels of Vitamin A in your body which can negatively impact on cellular health, especially the skin cells. Smoking will also lead to retarded healing and impaired cellular regeneration, hence compromising the health of your skin.,
  • Evidence gathered from studies indicates that the skin of a 40 year old chronically addicted smoker resembles that of a 60 plus year old non – smoker. This in itself is indicative of the severe after effects of smoking and is a visible proof of the damaging effects that smoking has on the skin.
  • An equally interesting and revealing study indicated that those people, especially women, who ‘ kicked the habit’ early on, saw a significant rejuvenation and freshness of their skin. This was measured by clinical observers, biological testing and self – assessment methods.
  • Cigarette smoking alone reduces the life span of a human being by about 7 years.
  • The oxidative damage that results from smoking greatly reduces the repair and regenerative functions of the cells, thereby leading to slower healing, slower cellular turnover, which translates into dull, lifeless, fragile skin with accelerated signs of aging.
  • Collagen and Elastin, which is the main ‘ plump ’ factor in keeping your skin supple and youthful, is greatly reduced by chronic nicotine usage ( reasons mentioned in point 4 ).
  • The dull, lifeless and grey tone of the skin in smokers is due to reduced blood flow to the skin tissue, reduced levels of vital vitamins and minerals and eventual damage or death of the skin cells ( please refer to point 4 ).
  • Multiple pathological pathways ( both enzymatic and cellular ) result in the end picture of the ‘ Smoker’s face ’ , no , not a Poker Face !

Most important tip of the day to take away from this article is :

The quicker you give up smoking, the better your chances are of building back radiant and healthy skin that is capable of regenerating and healing itself.

This is a wise choice whichever way you look at it. You will also save thousands of dollars on anti-aging treatments by this one single measure.
The jury is out and you’re the judge. One does not need more proof or evidence on the harmful effects of smoking.
The greatest health care measure is awareness and the willingness to give up a ( bad ) habit for the sake of your health and that of your loved ones.
There is no elixir of youth – except for the ( right ) choices you make that will make all the difference.
Will you make that choice now ?Excerpt from Skin Sensibility – A New Approach to Skin Care
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