The impact of smoking on your looks

It’s well known at this stage that smoking causes damage to your insides. Causing a plethora of diseases from heart disease to cancer, the chemicals found in cigarettes are obviously highly harmful. It isn’t difficult to consider then that these destructive elements can cause problems for your appearance. Unlike some of the terrible diseases smoking causes that sometimes don’t manifest symptoms, these outward changes are very visible to both you and people around you. I’ll hold my hands up now and say that I have smoked and have been a smoker. But I’m on a mission to get healthier. While it’s easy sometimes to bury my head in the sand on the internal damage, the external is another story…

Hair loss

Did you know smoking can cause your hair to thin?

Hair grows from follicles located under the skin. However, these need oxygen, essential nutrients and vitamins/minerals in order to function correctly and trigger natural hair growth but, as previously discussed, smoking reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that get to your skin.

Deprived follicles cannot function properly, which leads to hair thinning and eventually, hair loss. Ditch the cigarettes and you will not only see an overall improvement to your health, but your hair health should improve too. Using nicotine patches can support you on your journey.

Dull skin

Smoking ages and greys the skin, due to it reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrients that reach the skin. Premature aging of your skin by between 10 and 20 years will also occur from smoking.

Smoking also restricts your blood vessels, which in turn deprives the tiny vessels in your face of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood. The problem of this condition will be seen if you suffer a wound, as vasoconstriction will take it longer to heal and result in scars appearing bigger and redder than those who aren’t affected by the condition.

Elastin and collagen are also destroyed by the chemicals inhaled during smoking. These are fibres required to give skin its strength and elasticity — lose them and sagging skin and deeper wrinkles will be the consequence, which will be seen especially around the inner arms, breasts and face.

Wrinkles tend to form around the mouth of smokers, resulting in the characteristic “smoker’s pucker”. Combined with a loss of elasticity to the skin, the result in regards to appearance will be deep lines around the lips.

Eye wrinkles

The sad fact is, we’ll all have to deal with crow’s feet wrinkles around the eyes at some point. However, they develop earlier and go deeper when you smoke due to the heat from lit cigarettes and also as a result of a smoker squinting in an attempt to keep smoke out of their eyes.

Bags under the eyes are also more common in smokers. A study by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine previously suggesting that those who smoke cigarettes are four times more likely to report feeling unrested after a night’s sleep than non-smokers. The study, which involved the analysis of the sleep architecture of 40 smokers and a matched group of 40 nonsmokers who all undertook home polysomnography, also suggested that smokers spend less time in a deep sleep than non-smokers.

The study’s author, Naresh M. Punjabi, MD, PhD, FCCP, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, said: “It is possible that smoking has time-dependent effects across the sleep period. Smokers commonly experience difficulty falling asleep due to the stimulating effects of nicotine. As night evolves, withdrawal from nicotine may further contribute to sleep disturbance.”

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