We all know smoking is bad for our health; there is no hiding from the fact any more with cigarette packets carrying shocking images and smoking being banned from advertising. But the fact that smoking ages you will be a lurking demon in many people’s minds.The beauty industry is worth billions of pounds, but the most effective product available to help your skin remain youthful is stopping smoking.
“For smokers, middle age starts in the early 30′s as the tell tale wrinkles around the mouth and eyes begin to appear. Young female smokers are likely to be wasting their money on anti-ageing face creams if they continue to smoke,” says Amanda Sandford from Action on Smoking Health.
Smoking ages women more than men, a fact supported by many years of research by reputable medical bodies. The ageing effects of smoking on the skin are worse for women, who are much more likely to develop“smoker’s face” than male smokers. For women smoking and ageing are inextricably linked. Smoking is also linked to early onset of menopause.
Remember, when you look at your skin some of the damage caused by smoking won’t appear until ten to twenty years after you began to smoke. So if you haven’t been smoking that long and you don’t see much damage yet – don’t assume it won’t happen.
“Smoking exerts such a noticeable effect on the skin that it’s often possible to detect whether or not a person is a smoker simply by looking at his or her face. Smokers have more wrinkles and their skin tends to have a greyish pallor compared to non-smokers,”says Professor Young, Head of Dermatology at Guy’s School of Medicine, London.
So just how does smoking affect the skin in both men and women?
- Smoking restricts blood flow through the capillaries (tiny veins near the skin’ssurface) preventing oxygen and nutrients getting to the skin
- Smoking increases production of an enzyme which breaks down the supply of collagen to the skin’sstructure. Collagen supply is vital to the skin’s elasticity; it decreases with age but smoking cigarettes accelerates this process
- Smoking reduces the body’s store of vitamin A which provides protection from skin damage
- Smoking gets in the way of absorption of vitamin C – a vital antioxidant for skin protection and health
- Smokers’continual puckering from drawing on a cigarette and squinting in reaction to the cigarette smoke results in deeply wrinkled skin around the eyes and mouth –classic signs of ‘smoker’s face’
Smoking statistics will clearly tell you the risk of death and disease from your smoking habit. This is frightening enough but the fact that it ages us too is something we should be aware of.
- Dull appearance to the skin – loss of skin glow and vitality
- Discolored skin (an ashy look on white skins)
- Deeper wrinkles around the mouth and eyes
- Loss of tone and elasticity above and beyond the normal ageing process
The damage done from smoking cannot be completely reversed, but the sooner you stop and begin to look after your skin and diet then you can begin to get back your youthful skin and body.
“I haven't touched a cigarette!! Today is my 16th day as a non-smoker - I'm so proud of myself but don't want to get complacent. The first few days were really tough, but since then it has got easier and I think about it less and less. I've even been out with people at work or pub and have just stood with them whilst they smoke and it’s actually been fine . I'm starting to feel better in myself, have a bit more energy and plan to start jogging next week. So thank you very much! I'm still taking it one day at a time but those days are getting easier.” Lisa, London who had a one-off Stop Smoking treatment with Erika at EKTherapies.