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 • Lifestyle  • What Smoking Does to the Skin, and How to Counteract Its Effects

What Smoking Does to the Skin, and How to Counteract Its Effects

Despite the many health risks associated with it, cigarette smoking remains prevalent worldwide. According to a report on the global smoking epidemic published by the National Institutes of Health, around 1.18 billion people regularly smoke. While cigarettes can lead to many health problems, such as cancer, heart and lung diseases, and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, they can also have dire consequences on your skin’s health.

Aside from the risk of developing chronic diseases, smoking can affect the skin, causing it to look dull and leading to premature aging. Here’s a closer look at what cigarette smoking does to the skin and how you can counteract its effects: 

Smoking and the skin 

A Scientific Reports study on the effects of cigarettes on the skin states that smoking can result in structural and compositional changes in the skin, causing deep wrinkles, aging, and loss of elasticity. These changes occur because cigarettes produce an enzyme called metalloproteinase, which degrades or breaks down collagen, thus affecting skin elasticity. When the firmness of the skin is reduced, wrinkles and sagging start to appear, causing premature aging in adult smokers. 

Aside from skin aging, smoking can also cause pigmentation. This is because cigarettes promote the formation of melanocytes — skin cells that produce the melanin pigment — in the skin, causing dark spots. Overexposure to cigarette smoke and other elements like heat can also accumulate oxidative stress that can lead to aging-related skin pigmentation.

Below are some tips to avoid and counter these effects to make your skin look healthier: 

Counteracting skin damage from cigarette smoking

Choose smokeless alternatives

One way of reversing skin damage caused by smoking is by ultimately quitting the habit with the help of smokeless alternatives. These alternatives include nicotine pouches, available on this site, which are placed between the cheek and the gum, helping you avoid the risk of rashes and other aggravation that may be exacerbated by other options like transdermal nicotine patches. You can choose from a wide range of brands like VELO and ZYN that offer flavors like mint and wintergreen with nicotine strengths ranging from 2mg to 7mg. Another option you can try is nicotine gum, which comes in two strengths: 2mg and 4mg. With brands like Nicorette and Equate, this product can help control smoking withdrawal symptoms by simply chewing it a few times before letting it rest between your cheek and gums. 

Commit to a skincare routine

There’s no better way to care for your skin than starting a skincare regimen. This is especially helpful if you’re looking to replenish your skin after absorbing damage from harmful chemicals in cigarettes. You can follow a simple routine of cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing every day to help you achieve a youthful glow. Using products with retinol and antioxidants can also help your skin look healthier. Retinol renews skin cells, while antioxidants help boost collagen production to help smooth fine lines and wrinkles, thus helping you treat and counteract skin aging caused by smoking.

Seek expert treatment 

If you’re looking to take skin treatment to the next level, you may consider seeking expert help. In our previous article on sagging skin, several treatments were mentioned to help you firm up your skin. Some products like moisturizers, retinoids, and sunscreen can help your skin look hydrated and firm, but you can also opt for other procedures as well. You can consider getting a facelift or volume restoration procedures like dermal fillers. That way, you can effectively replenish your skin and counteract the damage caused by cigarette smoking.

Cigarettes pose many health risks to the body, including your skin. Quitting is a step in the right direction if you wish to counteract the effects of smoking on your overall appearance and health, along with taking better care of your skin. For more tips, check out CIIN Magazine for the latest in lifestyle and beauty.