Smoking has long been associated with a myriad of health problems––but has it ever crossed your mind that it could be impacting your skin’s health as well? Aside from lung cancer, heart disease, and respiratory issues, there are detrimental effects associated with smoking that affect the health and appearance of your skin.
Here are some key reasons why smoking is particularly harmful to your skin:
PREMATURE SKIN AGING
The detrimental effects of smoking extend beyond the internal organs; they also significantly affect the appearance of the skin as smoking accelerates the skin’s aging process. The chemicals in tobacco smoke damage collagen and elastin, which are responsible for skin's elasticity and strength.
As a result, smokers are more likely to develop wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin at an earlier age. The repetitive motion of pursing the lips while inhaling smoke can also lead to the formation of vertical lines around the mouth, often referred to as "smoker's lines."
Cannabis smoke also contains harmful chemicals, similar to tobacco smoke, which can equally contribute to the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin.
Smoking can cause uneven pigmentation and skin discoloration. Smokers often exhibit a dull, grayish complexion, and some may experience an increase in age spots and pigmented lesions.
Smoking also constricts blood vessels, decreasing blood flow and in turn, reducing the flow of oxygen and essential nutrients to the skin. This decreased blood flow contributes to a pale, sickly, and dull complexion.
DELAYED WOUND HEALING
Smoking on a regular basis also delays the body's natural healing processes. This means that if you have a cut, surgery, or even a minor blemish from a breakout, it will take longer for it to heal if you smoke. In severe cases, prolonged healing can lead to a higher risk of scarring and infection.
WORSENING SKIN CONDITIONS
Because of the dryness and irritation it can induce, smoking can exacerbate existing skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema. It can also make these conditions more challenging to manage and treat effectively.
Some individuals may experience an increase in acne breakouts after smoking cannabis; this is associated with the changes in hormone levels caused by certain components of cannabis.
All forms of smoking dehydrate the skin, which of course, can also further contribute to the development of fine lines and wrinkles (and make it more prone to irritation and exacerbate existing skin issues).
LAST BUT NOT LEAST…SKIN CANCER
And yes, while the link between smoking and skin cancer isn't as well-known as that with lung cancer, it's still a concern. Smoking has been shown to increase the risk of squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer.
The good news is, when you quit smoking, your skin undergoes several positive changes that can help improve its overall health and appearance.
To maintain healthy, youthful skin, quitting smoking or avoiding exposure to tobacco smoke is a crucial step in your skincare routine. Additionally, adopting a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, regular movement, and adequate hydration will help support your skin's natural vitality and beauty.
Until next time, take care of the skin you are in––inside and out!
The BSE Team