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What smoking does to your skin

Smoking is a harmful habit that affects not only your health but also your looks

It’s 2017 and, by now, we all know the dangers of smoking and the detrimental effect it can have on our bodies, both inside and out. While we know that it can lead to heart disease, cancer and respiratory issues, it’s also really bad for our skin and can cause it to look dull, deprive it of oxygen and speed up the ageing process.

Here’s what is happening to your skin each time you take a drag and why, if you want glowing, youthful skin, you should definitely give up this unhealthy habit.

1. Smoking constricts the blood flow to the skin, which means that each time you light up you are essentially preventing your skin from breathing. The short-term effect of this is that blemishes and acne will take longer to heal and are at risk of becoming infected, and the long-term effect is wrinkles. Like us, our skin needs oxygen, as this is what keeps it healthy and in peak condition.

Related: 6 Things an anti-ageing skin expert would never do

2. It’s not just oxygen that smoking deprives our skin of, but essential nutrients as well. Tobacco smoke is full of harmful chemicals that are responsible for the destruction of elastin and collagen – the proteins that give your skin elasticity and strength. This means that, over time, smoking can cause your skin to become saggy and your skin tone uneven.

3. While all sun-worshippers put themselves at risk of developing skin cancer, studies have shown that those who also smoke are even more susceptible. This is because UV rays are amplified around smoke, so they penetrate the skin more easily and more intensely. This can not only cause cancer but, on a less serious note, discolouration and age spots as well.

Related: How to spot the early signs of skin cancer

4. Ever heard of dynamic wrinkles? These are lines that develop on the face and are particularly common in smokers. They are caused from years of repetitive action with certain facial muscles and, in smokers, this generally affects the lip area. Constant puckering as you inhale will lead to obvious and unsightly lines around your mouth (and give away your smoking secret).

Is there good news in all of this? Yes! Once you ditch the ciggies, your skin and overall health will start to improve. Your blood flow will also improve and your skin will be less inflamed and plumper, and will look more radiant. It’s one lifestyle change you will never regret and your body will thank you for.

PHOTO: iStock/martin-dm


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