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World Tobacco Day 2019: Effects Of Smoking On Skin And Hair

Smoking is a habit as bad it can get. How bad smoking is for your health is no secret. But, it is also damages your beauty. Smoking can ruin your looks like no other.

Smoking addiction is a trap that is not easy to come out from. But sadly, our lifestyle is such that we almost feel compelled to make smoking and alcohol a regular part of our lives. But that definitely shouldn't be the case, especially considering the harmful effects that smoking has on our health as well as our beauty.

Smoking is a habit that can make you look way older than your actual age. It leads to skin ageing, acne, hair loss, tooth decay and the list goes on and on. Smoking can cause adverse and long-lasting effects on your beauty that are irreversible.

In this article, we've focused on the harmful effects of smoking on your beauty and looks. Let it inspire you to take a step back, quit smoking and move towards a healthier lifestyle.

1. Skin Ageing [1]

Your skin is the first place you will ever notice ageing and smoking triggers that process for you. Regular cigarette smoking affects your skin a lot. It is a common observation that the people who are addicted to smoking look a lot older than their age.

The nicotine present in the cigarette weakens the flow of blood to your skin and your skin doesn't get enough oxygen and nutrients that it requires and thus begins the process of ageing of the skin.

Those who have been smoking for a long time will see the wrinkles around their mouth and around the eyes. The constant pulling in of your lips while smoking can very well be the reason for wrinkles around the mouth. And if you look closely, you will find wrinkles on your inner arms. Although, it happens after years and years of smoking, the effect of smoking on your skin is irreversible.

2. Acne And Breakouts [2]

Smoking addicts are likely to suffer from acne. Smoking increases the sebum excretion of the skin and reduces the vitamin E levels. Excess sebum produced in the skin will clog your skin pores and will lead to breakouts such as acne, especially non-inflammatory acne. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant that protects the skin from free radical damage and thus a reduction in vitamin E levels will reduce our skin protection and lead to acne.

3. Dark Lips

Another effect of smoking regularly is darkening of the lips. Constant exposure to nicotine can cause lip discolouration. [3] If you're a regular smoker, you will find that the natural blush colour of your lips will fade after a while, leading to dark and blotchy lips. The constant heat and the weak blood flow to your skin also contribute to dark lips.

4. Dark Circles

Dark circles are usually associated with lack of sleep. But unfortunately, that not the case always. Our daily habits sometimes can lead to dark circles, and smoking is definitely one such habit.

Smoking hinders the blood flow to the skin and hence the skin does not receive the nutrients it needs. The skin becomes thin as a result and the bags and circles under the eye area become quite visible. Smoking can also dehydrate your skin and thus lead to dark circles.

5. Skin Sagging

Another harmful effect of constant smoking is sagging skin. Smoking affects the collagen production of the skin. [4] Collagen is the protein responsible for skin elasticity. Therefore, reduction in collagen impacts the skin elasticity and your skin starts to sag.

If you want to maintain healthy young-looking skin, smoking regularly is a big no-no.

6. Yellow Fingers

Smoking tends to stain your fingers. In fact, stained fingers are rather common in chain smokers. The tobacco present in the cigarette has a skin staining tendency and thus your fingers become yellow. [5] Your fingers do lift the cigarette for you and if you notice them, you'll find them stained in a yellow hue. Not only your fingers though, smoking stains your nails as well. So, you might want to rethink your habit.

7. Hair Fall

Well, not only your skin, smoking has harmful effects on your hair as well. Hair fall is one of the hair issues you will face if you smoke regularly.

The toxins in tobacco cause damage to your hair follicles and thus leads to hair fall. [6] Also, smoking narrows the blood vessels and weakens the blood circulation. This is also one of the reasons that can lead to hair fall.

8. Hair Damage

Smoking also leads to hair damage. Regular smoking makes your hair dry, dull and brittle. This is because of the shrinking of blood vessels that impact the blood circulation in your scalp. Your scalp, and therefore your hair, doesn't get the nourishment it needs. And it leads to hair damage. Now, that should convince you to stop.

9. Premature Greying Of Hair

Another hair issue that you will face if you're addicted to smoking is premature greying of your hair. Research has found that people who smoke regularly are likely to experience grey hair before the age of 30.

This can be attributed to the fact that smoking produces free radicals and that can damage the melanin-producing cells. [7] Melanin is the pigment responsible for your hair colour and thus a reduction in melanin production will lead to grey hair.

10. Tooth Stains [8]

Well, coming back to staining, smoking also is responsible for staining your teeth. Tobacco can not only stain our fingers, but your teeth as well. You will see your teeth turning yellow over time. Not only that, smoking affects your gums and can also cause tooth decay, tooth loss and even bad breath.

All these should tell you how harmful smoking addiction can be for you. And it's never too late to make a lifestyle change. Motivate yourself, help yourself and quit smoking!!

View Article References
  1. [1] Urbańska, M., Nowak, G., & Florek, E. (2012). Cigarette smoking and its influence on skin aging.Przeglad lekarski,69(10), 1111-1114.
  2. [2] Capitanio, B., Sinagra, J. L., Ottaviani, M., Bordignon, V., Amantea, A., & Picardo, M. (2009). Acne and smoking.Dermato-endocrinology,1(3), 129–135. doi:10.4161/derm.1.3.9638
  3. [3] Shetty, S., & Pai, S. (2017). Aesthetic Correction of Smoker's Lip Using 1064 nm Q-switched Neodymium-doped Yttrium Aluminium Garnet Laser.Journal of cutaneous and aesthetic surgery,10(2), 118–119. doi:10.4103/JCAS.JCAS_103_15
  4. [4] Morita, A. (2007). Tobacco smoke causes premature skin aging.Journal of dermatological science,48(3), 169-175.
  5. [5] John, G., Pasche, S., Rothen, N., Charmoy, A., Delhumeau-Cartier, C., & Genné, D. (2013). Tobacco-stained fingers: a clue for smoking-related disease or harmful alcohol use? A case-control study.BMJ open,3(11), e003304. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003304
  6. [6] Trüeb, R. M. (2003). Association between smoking and hair loss: another opportunity for health education against smoking?.Dermatology,206(3), 189-191.
  7. [7] Zayed, A. A., Shahait, A. D., Ayoub, M. N., & Yousef, A. M. (2013). Smokers' hair: Does smoking cause premature hair graying?.Indian dermatology online journal,4(2), 90–92. doi:10.4103/2229-5178.110586
  8. [8] Alkhatib, M. N., Holt, R. D., & Bedi, R. (2005). Smoking and tooth discolouration: findings from a national cross-sectional study.BMC public health,5, 27. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-5-27