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.
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.