Smoking and what it can do to your appearance


Increasing your risk of cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, strokes and heart disease – these are all caused by smoking and the ingredients found in tobacco smoke.
Many of the effects of smoking aren’t noticed straight away, but can develop in the long-term over a number of years. However, smoking also has detrimental effects on your appearance — issues that will be clear for you and others to see. To kickstart your stop smoking journey to quit the habit, here are some of the ways smoking affects your appearance and why you should stop for good.
Your eyes
Something that everyone will notice at one point in their lives, are wrinkles known as crow’s feet around the outside of the eyes. However, they develop earlier and go deeper when you smoke due to the heat from lit cigarettes and also as a result of a smoker squinting in an attempt to keep smoke out of their eyes.
A study by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has also found that persistent bags under the eyes may start to appear, while previously suggesting that those who smoke cigarettes are four times more likely to report feeling unrested after a night’s sleep than non-smokers. The study, which involved the analysis of the sleep architecture of 40 smokers and a matched group of 40 nonsmokers who all undertook home polysomnography, also suggested that smokers spend less time in a deep sleep than non-smokers.
Naresh M. Punjabi, MD, PhD, FCCP, author of the study, has commented and suggested that: “It is possible that smoking has time-dependent effects across the sleep period. Smokers commonly experience difficulty falling asleep due to the stimulating effects of nicotine. As night evolves, withdrawal from nicotine may further contribute to sleep disturbance.”
Your skin
Smoking can also limit the amount of oxygen and nutrients that are required to keep your skin healthy; the result being that your skin will begin to age quicker, exhibiting a dull and grey appearance. Premature aging of your skin by between 10 and 20 years will also occur from smoking.
You should also be aware that smoking and nicotine causes vasoconstriction, a condition that sees blood vessels being narrowed; oxygen-rich blood flow to the tiny vessels around your face and other parts of your body is therefore limited. The problem of this condition will be seen if you suffer a wound, as vasoconstriction will take it longer to heal and result in scars appearing bigger and redder than those who aren’t affected by the condition.
Smoking contains over 4,000 chemicals, and these chemicals contribute to the destruction of collagen and elastin within the skin. These are fibres required to give skin its strength and elasticity — lose them and sagging skin and deeper wrinkles will be the consequence, which will be seen especially around the inner arms, breasts and face.
Smoking will also see the development of smoker’s pucker — this is because smokers use muscles in the face, which then cause dynamic wrinkles to appear after years of smoking. Combined with a loss of elasticity to the skin, the result is deep lines around the lips.
Your hair
You’re likely to have less hair as a result of smoking.
Underneath the scalp, hair grows in sac-like structures also known as follicles. However, these need oxygen, essential nutrients and vitamins/minerals in order to function correctly and trigger natural hair growth but, as previously discussed, smoking reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that get to your skin.
When these follicles stop working properly, the normal hair growth and loss cycle is disrupted, which as a result causes hair to thin – leading eventually to hair loss.

NHS WedMD Science Daily Medic8


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