Does smoking have an impact on the skin?

Dr. Jagatjit Singh Kohli

By Dr. Jagatjit Singh Kohli
MBBS, DHMS-Harvard, Masters in Clinical Dermatology

January 24th, 2023

Smoking is highly harmful to your heart and lungs. But did you know that smoking can also be quite bad for your skin?

Smoking exposes your skin to more than 4,000 harmful chemicals, which can cause long-term skin conditions and early signs of aging such as lines and wrinkles.

Cigarettes contain nicotine that can be absorbed by the skin. This can cause negative impacts on your skin such as premature aging, increased infections, and delayed wound healing.

Additionally, it may cause skin conditions including skin cancer and disorders like psoriasis, acne, eczema, and skin cancer.

In this blog post. Dr. Kohli has listed the negative effects of smoking on the skin.

1) Early aging and premature wrinkles

Collagen and elastin are the essential fiber elements of your skin that make it strong and supple. They are damaged by the chemicals in cigarette smoke.

Without them, your skin could harden and become less elastic, which could cause deeper wrinkles and early aging.

These wrinkles are typically the most obvious on your face between your brows, around your eyes, and your mouth and lips.

Smoking can also result in sagging skin, especially around the jawline and under the eyes.

It promotes the aging process because it decreases vitamin A levels in the skin, promotes the formation of free radicals, and narrows blood vessels, which reduces the quantity of oxygen your skin receives.

2) Poor skin tone

Smoking encourages the development of melanocytes in the skin, which can result in age spots and black patches.

People who smoke also frequently have dull, pale skin that might look gray or bluish.

This may be caused by the reduced blood supply to the skin, which deprives it of oxygen and other nutrients. Some people may develop uneven skin pigmentation as a result of this.

Chronic exposure to environmental elements, including heat, UV rays, and cigarette smoke, can accumulate oxidative stress, which leads to the pigmentation of the skin that comes with aging.

3) Sagging skin

The degeneration of collagen and elastic fibers is accelerated by chemicals in cigarette smoke.

The absence of these components, which give the skin its flexibility and strength, results in drooping and sagging of the skin.

The Research published in 2020 also found that the skin of smokers is stiffer than the skin of non-smokers.

4) Sagging arms and breasts

Smoking can harm your face as well as your body, causing your figure to deteriorate. It might loosen the skin on your upper arms, and in the case of women, it can also affect the breasts. This is caused by the elastosis that takes place.

5) Lines around the lips

The area around your mouth receives a one-two blow from smoking. While smoking smokers use certain muscles around their lips, which result in dynamic wrinkles that non-smokers do not. They also experience elasticity loss.

These situations may cause deep lines to appear around the lips.

6) Delayed wound healing

The World Health Organization claims that smoking encourages wound opening and delays healing by decreasing immunological and inflammatory responses in the body.

Any wound on the smoker’s body takes longer to heal due to the constrictions in the blood vessels.

7) Psoriasis

Smoking is a risk that can aggravate the psoriasis symptoms worse. Smokers have a higher risk of developing psoriasis than nonsmokers do. Children who are exposed to cigarette smoke in their very early years are at an increased risk of developing psoriasis.

It is a chronic condition that typically appears as thick, scaly patches of the skin, on the scalp, knees, elbows, hands, feet, or back. These patches could be red, white, or silver.

8) Age spots

Blotches of dark skin color known as age spots are frequently found on the hands and face. Though anyone can get these spots from overexposure to the sun, research indicates that smokers are more susceptible to this.

9) Skin cancer

When compared to non-smokers, smokers have a twofold increased chance of developing Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC), the second most common type of skin cancer. It is mostly brought on by cigarette smoke and is visible on smokers’ lips. They also have a higher risk of developing oral cancer or oral leukoplakia (a precancerous stage).

10) Acne Inversa

Hidradenitis suppurativa, often known as acne inversa is a more common skin condition in obese women as well as smokers. It is an inflammatory disorder characterized by pus-filled boils or abscesses. It may be a chronically painful condition.

11) Vasculitis

Beurger’s disease, also known as thromboangiitis obliterans, is a blood flow disorder brought on by the nicotine in tobacco.

It limits the blood supply to the hands and feet. Blood clots may form everywhere in the body due to this particular type of vasculitis. A shortage of blood causes tissue damage and pain in the hands and feet when blood arteries are blocked.

In severe cases, the hands and feet may develop ulcers that can cause gangrene, necessitating the amputation of the finger or toe that has been infected.

Smoking can also lead to or make problems including chilblains, ulcers, thrombosis, cholesterol emboli, and frostbite worse.

12) Telangiectasia

Because of the narrowed arteries and veins, the body’s capillaries may dilate, which may weaken the walls of the capillaries.

The name of this condition is known as telangiectasia. Although it can occur anywhere in the body, the parts closest to the epidermis are the most noticeable. They resemble purple patches on the skin and are also referred to as spider veins.

The main contributor to this illness is nicotine from cigarettes, which is known to constrict the blood vessels.

Bottom line

Giving up smoking is the first step to reversing the skin-damaging effects of cigarettes.

Quitting smoking can make you look better. As blood flow increases, your skin gets more nutrients and oxygen.

As a result, you can have a healthier complexion.

The stains on your fingers and nails will fade if you continue to abstain from cigarette use. You might even notice a whitening of your teeth.

<strong>Does smoking have an impact on the skin?</strong>
<strong>Does smoking have an impact on the skin?</strong>
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