Thursday, May 30th, 2013

How Smoking Affects Skin Health

Smoking shows on your skin too. The precise ways in which tobacco smoke damages or changes skin are not fully understood, though scientific studies have produced evidence about a number of possible ways, such as:

Ageing: As people age, their skin also ages. The ageing process is influenced by a number of environmental factors. Sun exposure is the most prominent risk factor for premature ageing. Although it is much less well known, cigarette smoking is also a risk factor for premature skin ageing.

Wrinkles: Numerous studies have found that premature wrinkling is associated with smoking. There is evidence that the more an individual smokes, the more the premature ageing effect occurs, so heavy smokers will experience more premature wrinkles than those who only smoke occasionally.

Skin tone and colour: In addition to wrinkles, smoking increases an individual’s risk of gauntness and facial discolouration.

Poor wound healing: There is evidence that smoking tobacco decreases the ability of skin to regenerate and repair wounds.This is particularly evident in patients undergoing surgery. And the obvious reason for this are two toxic component in tobacco smoke, nicotine and carbon monoxide, which reduces oxygen flow through the body, thus reducing the supply of oxygen needed by damaged cells to regenerate.

Skin lesions: A review of all published studies examining the associations between skin health and smoking reported that smoking increases the risk of skin lesions in people with diabetes, lupus and AIDS.

Skin cancer: Exposure to sunlight is the predominant risk factor for squamous cell carcinoma of the skin (a type of skin cancer). There is considerable evidence that smoking also increases the risk of skin cancer.

Psoriasis: Tobacco smoke exposure increases the risk of developing psoriasis, a rare skin condition characterised by the formation of silvery, plaque-like scales on the arms and legs (particularly at the elbows and knees). Smokers with psoriasis are less likely than non-smokers to improve following treatment.

So make a commitment to yourself and quit today.

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