6 Ways Smoking Can Affect Your Skin

hands of old female after smoking

Smoking can do serious damage to your lungs, heart, and body. It can also lead to skin damage because toxic chemicals in cigarettes destroy supportive collagen and elastin. Wrinkles then begin to appear. But this isn’t the only detrimental effect a dermatologist may see.

Wrinkles around the mouth, crow’s feet, and bags under the eyes may not be the only results of your smoking habits. Here are some other issues dermatology professionals have linked smoking with.

1. Premature Aging

For most people, skin care is centered on looking young. Smoking can cause blood vessels under the skin to constrict, inhibiting blood flow and starving skin cells of oxygen. The aging process is accelerated. Lost elasticity, among other issues, causes the skin to sag in various parts of the body.

2. Skin Cancer

Although skin cancer is more often associated with UV exposure, smoking increases the risk of squamous cell carcinoma. Toxins in cigarettes and their impact on the immune system are thought to play a role.

3. Psoriasis

Nicotine is linked to psoriasis because it affects the immune system, skin cell growth, and inflammation. Palmoplantar pustulosis is a type of psoriasis more often associated with smoking. The way smokers cope with stress may also increase the risk of itchy, red, scaly skin.

4. Staining

Depriving skin cells of oxygen can lead to an orange or gray tone. Yellowing of the skin around the fingers can occur after years of holding cigarettes. This is similar to how smoking can yellow your teeth.

5. Delayed Wound Healing

Again, the lack of blood flow is a concern. The body has more difficulty healing when blood flow is restricted. This also increases the risk of infection and tissue death. Blood clots can form as well, while smoking cigarettes can have negative impacts on surgical recovery.

6. Skin Diseases

Cigarette smoking is associated with several skin diseases, including acne inversa, an inflammatory condition that appears where skin rubs against skin. Boil-like, pus nodules can persist for months or years. The condition is painful and often misdiagnosed.

Vasculitis, or Buerger’s disease, is when blood vessels become inflamed. The disease most often affects the hands or feet. It is painful and can result in tissue damage to the point one develops skin ulcers and ultimately gangrene. The dilation of small blood vessels, telangiectasia, can damage capillaries, causing spider veins or purple blotches on the surface.

Can the Damage Be Reversed?

Smoking not only takes away your natural glow. The carbon monoxide in cigarettes displaces oxygen. If that’s not bad enough, nicotine reduces blood flow, so your skin can become dry and discolored. Nutrients that protect your skin, such as vitamin C, are depleted as well.

The most effective solution is to quit smoking. In some cases, laser treatment can improve skin appearance. A consultation with the Laser and Dermatology Institute, conveniently located in Los Angeles, Covina, and Newport Beach, California, can help determine the best course of treatment. Self-schedule an appointment online or call LDI at 866-809-1102 today.

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