Smoking, Your Skin and Your Looks – The Cold, Hard Facts

Smoking, Your Skin and Your Looks – The Cold, Hard Facts


If you smoke you are already very well aware of the fact that you really shouldn’t. It increases your risk for all kinds of diseases, many of them fatal, scars your lungs and can even decrease your energy levels and libido. However, for many of those who do still smoke these are risks they take, often figuring that there are lots of other ways these days that their health can be impacted (including just pure fate) and the effort to quit is just too much.

Nevertheless, no one can actually say that smoking is in anyway harmless, so here’s a new way to look at the habit; it can ruin your skin and impact your overall appearance considerably. Not beating about the bush, here’s how:

Bags Like Suitcases

No one likes the look of bags under their eyes, especially as they are so difficult to even begin to conceal. And the major cause of those nasty bags is a lack of restful sleep, something that smokers report four times as often as non smokers do. Why the lack of sleep? Researchers believe that it’s the beginnings of nicotine withdrawal that causes the problem but whatever the root cause a chronic lack of sleep is never pretty.

Aging Before Your Time

There is nothing wrong with wrinkles; on an cute octogenarian. Premature skin aging is not even remotely fun though, and yet by continuing their habit on average smokers end up looking 1.4 years older than their nonsmoking peers with noticeably more lines and wrinkles appearing earlier than they really should. This is because smoking hampers the flow of blood to face, depriving it of oxygen and lessening its ability to repair itself and its elastic qualities that should be helping to keep the wrinkles.

The Scar Factor

A number of research studies have shown that smokers take longer to heal wounds than their none smoking counterparts. In terms of the complexion, that means that any blemishes (even small ones) will take longer to disappear and are far more likely to leave behind noticeable scarring because of this. This is a real problem for those who suffer from even mild acne, as even if it is effectively treated a person’s smoking habit can result in scarring that never needed to happen.

The Glow’s Gone

Often a smoker’s skin, even under makeup, just looks unhealthy. In fact a study conducted in 1985 came up with the characteristics that they found, after studying thousands of unretouched photographs, made up what they termed ‘smoker’s face’. These included ‘wrinkles, gauntness, and a gray appearance of the skin’.

Cigarette smoke contains a significant amount of carbon monoxide which actually displaces the oxygen in the facial skin which will leave it discolored and dry. Cigarette also depletes the skin of many of the nutrients that it needs to thrive, especially Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that should be protecting skin from free radicals.

Sick Skin

Smokers have been warned over and over again that smoking significantly increases their risk for lung cancer as well as cancer of the mouth, throat and esophagus. What they are less aware of is that it also increases the risk for developing skin cancer. A recent study found that smokers are four times as likely to develop the second most common form of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, than non smokers regardless of their ‘sun consumption’ habits.

If you are a smoker who wants to quit, you can try with an e-cig starter kit as some researches recommend them.

Skincare in the Kitchen: DIY Fixes for Common Skin Problems

Skincare in the Kitchen: DIY Fixes for Common Skin Problems


Did you know that the key to great skin may not always be onsale at the department store beauty counter but readily available in your own kitchen instead? As a move towards ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ skincare gains momentum many people are spending an awful of of money on specialist ‘all natural’ products. But in many cases they really don’t need to, as there are some excellent alternatives to be found at the grocery store. Here are just a few of the most effective (not to mention inexpensive) to make use of them.

Yogurt and Lemon Whitening Mask

Many of the skin lighteners you can find at the beauty counter contain an active ingredient called hydroquinone, a substance which literally kills off melanin producing cells in order to achieve the desired effect, something that is a pretty drastic measure.

Some also contain mercury, a throwback to the Middle Ages when they literally used to cover their faces with the stuff to achieve a whiter look (and often killed themselves in the process) and even a trace amount of mercury absorbed through the skin can used long term can cause health problems.

This tasty sounding mask can do the trick without all of that nastiness and can be particularly effective to correct larger discolorations and even ‘blur’ fine lines and wrinkles as it contains both AHAs and Vitamin C, both of which are common ingredients in anti aging serums.

All you need to do is mix the juice from one lemon with a small (6oz) cartoon of plain yogurt in a bowl, apply to the face and leave on for 10-15 minutes. Repeat the process every 3-4 days and the discolorations will begin to fade noticeably in just a few weeks.

‘Magic’ Acne Spot Treatment

You may have seen little bottles of ‘spot acne treatment’ at the beauty counter that are designed to zap a zit fast. And they usually work, but they are also rather expensive. An alternative that is just as effective is to make a paste using brewers yeast, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and water. Mix it to a relatively thick consistency, dab on the pimple you want gone and leave on for 15 minutes before rinsing off.

Sugar Almond Facial Scrub

Exfoliation is a must for glowing skin, but you don’t actually need to spend a fortune to do so effectively. This gentler than most scrub can be whipped up in minutes in your kitchen with the bonus that it smells pretty wonderful as well!


3 tablespoons of fresh cream
1 cup of white sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of ground almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix of the ingredients together in a bowl until well combines. Apply the paste to dry skin in a gentle circular motion and massage gently. Rinse off with lukewarm (never hot) water and store any leftover mixture in the fridge for later use.

Gelatin Blackhead Buster

You know those little Biore pore strips that admittedly do a great job of removing nasty blackheads with no squeezing? This mask can do the same thing and leave your skin feeling super smooth to boot!


Unflavored gelatin-1 packet
Fresh fruit juice- ½ cup
Choose the juice as per your skin type:

Normal to Dry: Apple, Peach or Strawberry
Oily/Acne Prone: Carrot or Grapefruit

In a small saucepan combine juice and gelatin and begin warming over a low heat. Once the gelatin is totally dissolved remove from the heat and transfer mixture to a bowl. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to firm the mixture up but do not allow it to set completely. Apply the chilled mixture to the face and neck with CLEAN fingers and allow to dry for 20-25 minutes.

Once dry you will find that the mask has become a peel off, just like the fancy ones on stores. Peel it off in an upward motion (while marveling at all the blackheads it has removed) and then rinse your face well with lukewarm water.)

5 Big Skincare Myths That Need to Be Busted

5 Big Skincare Myths That Need to Be Busted


Technically skincare should be a fairly straightforward thing. But, perhaps because it is such a huge industry, it’s not and there are so many myths and misconceptions around the subject that it’s actually hard to know if you are doing the right things at all.

Many of the myths are rather harmless, simply designed to make you spend a little more at the beauty counter. Others however are actually downright harmful, and if believed could actually ruin your skin, and your looks. Here are some of the biggest that really need to be busted for good:

Tanning Beds are OK as Long as They Don’t Give Off UVB Rays

As little as five or six years ago women all over the world were happily heading to tanning salons as many as three or four times a week to bake themselves under the heat of tanning lamps because they believed that attaining that elusive but oh so desirable ‘sun kissed glow’ in this way was safer than sitting out in the sunshine. Then came a rash of research and reports that demonstrated that no, that is not the case at all.

And yet some tanning salons still maintain that their booths are safe because they filter out the so called ‘burn rays’, UVB light. However, contrary to popular belief the UVA rays that tanning booths emit are very bit as likely to cause premature skin aging, wrinkles and most worryingly, skin cancer. The simple fact is a spray tan, or an at home self tanner, are the only safe ways to get a tan and save your poor skin from all kinds of problems.

Popping Pimples Clears Them Faster

If a pimple is really bugging you, both by the way it looks and the way it feels then in a way it seems to make sense that popping it to release the pus would help get rid of it faster. However, even it feels kind of good doing so is not a good idea. When a pimple is popped some of the pus actually gets driven deeper into the skin, resulting in a pimple that lasts longer and, in many cases, will leave a scar and cause more pimples by spreading the pus under the skin.

Expensive Skincare Products are Always Best

Expensive skin care products are nice, but they are not always the best, or the most effective option available, no matter what all of those very glossy magazine ads say. In addition often the ingredients in a swanky skincare product and its drugstore counterpart are pretty much the same, you are just paying for a well known name and a fancy package. When shopping for skincare products it’s far more important to go with what works for your unique skin than being swayed by glitzy gimmicks.

Anti Aging Creams Really Do Erase Wrinkles

There are a thousand and one ‘anti aging’ creams and serums on the market these days that all come along with pretty much the same claim; that they can ‘erase’ wrinkles. But they really can’t. Photoshop is about the only truly effective wrinkle eraser out there that you can truly rely on!

That is not to say that these products are totally useless. All of them plump up the wrinkles, lessening their appearance temporarily and those that contain retinol can indeed make that effect a semi permanent one to a certain extent, but no cream is going to get rid of them all for good.

You Only Need Sunscreen in the Summer

Many people do now have themselves trained to make sure that their skin is nicely protected by sunscreen during the summer months whether they are on the beach that day or not. But once the summer’s over they put away their SPF products until the colder months are over. Mistake. Even on a cloudy, or freezing cold day the suns rays, and all of that skin unfriendly UV radiation, are streaming down from the sky, whether you can actually see it or not, so sunscreen, especially for the delicate facial skin, needs to be permanent part of your skincare routine 365 days a year.