The harm smoking inflicts on skin and appearance seems superficial when compared to heart disease or lung cancer, but it’s usually the first and most noticeable sign of damage caused by the habit.
Skin can be damaged by smoking in a number of ways.
1). Nicotine reduces blood flow to the lower layer of the skin, which results in less oxygen and nutrients being delivered, leading to dry, flaky skin that’s less resilient to external stresses.
2). Smoke robs the body of Vitamin C which is a key ingredient in the bodys manufacture of collagen – collagen is the main structural protein of the skin which maintains elasticity and decreasing collagen leads to skin that is lined and less plump.
3). Smoking reduces the production of red blood cells which causes skin to become grey and sallow.
4). Smoking impairs wound healing, meaning blemishes take longer to go away.
5). Smoking also effects the mouth, causing bad breath and stained teeth. Tobacco use also increases the risk of periodontitis which results in swollen gums and bad breath, and may cause teeth to fall out.
6). Because hair needs vital nutrients to grow, and as smoking hinders these nutrients reaching where they’re needed, hair can become lacklusture, and a study published in the Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons found a link between smoking and accelerated hair loss and greying.
7). But most terrifying of all, smoking can cause cancer of the lip, tongue and gums.
So, is there a way to undo the damage? There is, but within reason. As soon as someone stops smoking their body is able to function more effectively. It takes about 20 to 30 days for red blood cell count to increase, after that a difference in the quality and texture of skin will become noticeable. It is then time to start a strict skincare regime and take better care of skin including a broad spectrum SPF to halt sun damage and exfoliation to increase cell turnover and stimulate collagen production.
Ingredients to look out for in face cream include Vitamins A, E an C – Vitamin A to speed up skin-cell turnover, Vitamin C to stimulate collagen production and Vitamin E to encourage healing. A cream like Trilogy Daily Defense Moisturizer SPF 15 contains all three.
A dermatological procedure such as microdermabrasion helps skin to look younger, more healthy and glowing. During this simple painless procedure the dead outermost surface of the skin is removed by light abrasion (available at Sam McCauleys Beauty Salon Douglas).
Top Tips to Stop Smoking
Ask yourself “How much do I really need this cigarette?” Remember all of the reasons why you decided to quit smoking in the first place.
There will be moments when you feel like throwing it all in – be prepared for this and have a plan in your head to deal with it. If you’re using NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy) such as Nicorette, and feel that you’re not getting the most from it, speak to your Sam McCauley Pharmacist who will be able to advise you on how to use your NRT properly and if necessary, recommend an alternative.
Avoid temptation and triggers. Easier said than done, but if alcohol weakens your willpower try to avoid it as much as possible and if a cup of coffee is normally accompanied by a cigarette, try to limit yourself to a few cups a day. Don’t be tempted to risk ruining all of your hard work with just one cigarette. Remember, the occasional cigarette will only make you crave more!
Breaking any habit is hard so help and support when quitting smoking is invaluable, and at your local Sam McCauley Pharmacy we’re always available for advice. For an extra incentive you can always join our Stop Smoking Club and earn up to €50 in Gift Cards!
If you’re choosing to quit smoking, we wish you the very best of luck. Your skin, body and health, not to mention your wallet will thank you for it!