How can smoking affect your appearance?

Smoking can cause a number of known issues. These include heightening the risk of heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancer, as well as tobacco smoke’s ingredients causing damage around the inside of your body.

It can take time for these issues to develop, until they send alarm bells ringing, if they ever get to the point of being seen at all. However, smoking also has detrimental effects on your appearance — issues that will be clear for you and others to see.

Get encouraged to begin your stop smoking journey by reading this guide about how smoking can affect your appearance:


What effects does smoking have to do with your hair?

The answer to this may be best summed up with the phrase ‘lack of hair’. This is because hair grows from sac-like structures found underneath the scalp called 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 follicles are no longer able to function correctly, then a disruption in the normal hair growth and loss cycle will be the result. This in turn causes hair thinning and eventually hair loss.

What effects does smoking have around your eyes?

We will all develop wrinkles around the outside of our eyes — often referred to as crow’s feet — at some point in our lives. 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.

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine research has also found that there’s the likelihood of bags under your eyes occurring much more often as well. This is because the study previously suggested 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, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, noted: “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.”

What effects does smoking have on your skin?

Smoking reduces how much oxygen and nutrients can reach your skin, with the result being skin that will age more rapidly, while giving off a dull and grey appearance. Premature aging of your skin by between 10 and 20 years will also occur from smoking.

Nicotine also heightens the chance of vasoconstriction — a condition that sees blood vessels narrow and oxygen-rich blood flow to the tiny vessels around your face and other parts of your body being 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.

On top of all of this, the 4,000+ chemicals that make up tobacco smoke trigger the destruction of the body’s collagen and elastin. 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.

Smoker’s pucker may be a phrase that you’ve heard of too. It’s another effect that smoking causes around the face as it’s an occurrence that comes about as smokers use certain muscles around their lips that cause dynamic wrinkles to appear. Combined with a loss of elasticity to the skin, the result in regards to appearance will be deep lines around the lips.

Rebecca x


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