Maybe you’ve heard about the effects smoking can have on your heart, lungs and general health. Smoking is directly linked to cancer and has been recognized as one of the most common causes of preventable death. A lesser known, but still major and proven effect of smoking is the toll it takes on the health and appearance of your skin, hair and teeth.
Smoking causes irreversible damage to your skin. In studies where two twins, one who smokes and one who doesn’t, have their skin examined and compared, the twin who smokes has skin that appears aged, wrinkled and damaged. Some ways smoking affects your skin are:
- Smoking causes blood vessels in the outer layer of skin to narrow, which in turn causes wrinkles. These wrinkles are often premature and deeper set than wrinkles that are a result of natural aging. Doctors have been able to see wrinkles caused by smoking on someone as young as 20.
- Smoking also degrades the skin’s building blocks. Breaking down collagens and elastins that are all crucial to healthy looking skin. The result of this degradation is sagging skin. Smokers often appear to have “looser” looking skin than nonsmokers.
- Continuously pursing your lips, the way that smokers do, causes fine lines around the mouth to form. The same thing occurs around the eyes of smokers. When smoking many people will slightly squint their eyes to keep the smoke out, later giving them crows feet. This is from repeated use of muscles that nonsmokers do not employ nearly as often.
- Smokers are more susceptible to developing sun spots.
- Smoking stains the skin on the fingers where a cigarette is usually held. It can also stain the nail. A simple manicure can’t undo that damage.
- It’s proven that smoking doesn’t just affect the skin on your face. The chest and upper arm area also experience sagging and wrinkles.
Hair And Teeth
Smoking can also cause serious damage to your hair and teeth. While the damage done to your hair can be devastating and negatively affect your self-image, the damage done to your teeth can actually threaten your oral health.
- Smoking makes you twice as likely to lose teeth than nonsmokers.
- Periodontal disease is more common among smokers than nonsmokers. Smokers regularly suffer from bleeding, inflamed and painful gums.
- Smoking stains your teeth. Smokers often have yellowed and sometimes brown looking teeth because of the regular exposure to smoke.
- Smoking also makes it easier for plaque and tartar to build up over time, causing cavities and tooth decay.
- Smokers have an increased risk of being diagnosed with gum cancer.
- Bad breath because of smoking is very common and much harder to get rid of than bad breath that originates from another cause.
- Some correlation has been found between premature hair loss or thinning and smoking.
- Scientists believe the chemicals in cigarettes damage the DNA of individual hair follicles. It also puts men at higher risk to go completely bald.
Dr. Scott Darling of KC Healthy Skin and Vein Center believes the importance of caring for your skin can be motivation to break a tough habit.
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