Everyone Loves a Quitter

In honor of November 15’s Great American Smokeout, I want to share a bit of news with you:  Smoking kills.

And if that won’t make you quit, how about this?  Smoking attacks your skin.

Smoking not only accelerates the aging process and shortens the lifespan by more than ten years. And if you smoke a pack a day, it can make you look older by ten years.

Serious clinical studies show smoking significantly compromises the health of your skin.  Here’s how:

  • Reduced circulation – Smoking reduces decreases capillary and arteriolar blood flow
  • Phototoxic effect – Not only has smoking been linked to greater visible signs of premature aging than sun exposure, smoking increases skin’s vulnerability to effects of the sun; so if you smoke and lie out, your UV damage gets exponential
  • Loss of moisture
  • Reduced barrier function/compromise of skin’s immune system

And here are the visible signs of premature aging you can expect:

  • Sagging – smoking is directly linked to elastosis, a condition in which skin loses elasticity as a result of connective tissue degeneration
  • Premature Wrinkling and a Greater Number of Wrinkles – Smoking causes skin fibroblast damage leading to decrease in normal collagen production
  • Telangiestacia – a condition characterized by fine red lines in the skin caused by the dilation of small blood vessels
  • Changes in skin tone and texture (e.g. sallowness, dullness) caused by reduction of skin cell turnover

Not to mention, smokers suffer:

  • Increased risk of developing psoriasis
  • 2X increased risk of developing squamous skin cell carcinoma
  • Poor wound healing
  • Increased risk of developing skin lesions when immune system compromised

By this time, most of us understand intellectually the incredibly negative health effects. But quitting is tough.  Next time you light up, think about not only what you are doing to your lungs and heart—think about how you are ruining your appearance.

In honor of today’s Great American Smokeout, quit smoking for one day. The American Cancer Society and your physician have a wealth of supportive resources to help you quit. Your entire body will thank you and you will see immediate results on your skin!

To read about the Great American Smokeout, visit Cancer.org.