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May 12, 2010

The Effect of Smoking on the Skin

Smoking has many harmful effects on the body and health among which is the effect of smoking on the skin. The effects of smoking include:

  • Wrinkles and early skin aging: smoking can cause wrinkles; lines can be seen radiating from the corner of the lips and the eyes. These lines around the mouth are called smoker's lines and are due to constant puffing on cigarettes as the smoker smokes. The lines around the eyes are called crow's feet and result from closing the eye tightly to avoid smoke from entering the eyes. Reduction of the blood supply to the skin as a result of blood vessel construction due to smoking leads to poor circulation of the skin and decreases oxygen resulting in early aging of the skin. Changes in elastic fibers and collagen loss also play a role in early aging of the skin. Smoking causes a reduction in the level of vitamin A leading to dryness and a reduction in the moisture of the skin resulting in premature aging. Smoking can cause dryness of the skin due to the effect of chemicals in smoke leading to decreased water content and moisture of the skin. Free radicals also play a role in premature aging of skin; increased levels of carbon monoxide in the blood as a result of smoking will encourage their formation, they play a role in early aging of skin.
  • Smoking leads to unwanted effects including the staining of teeth, bad breath, and the loss of taste sensation. Smoking also increases the risk of certain oral diseases such as a fungal infection known as Oral Candidiasis and other diseases.
  • Wound healing: smoking delays wound healing including wounds on the skin. The cause of delayed wound healing may include the reduction of oxygen supply as a result of blood vessels narrowing, decreased vitamin C as a result of smoking and a decrease in collagen synthesis.
  • Increased risk of cancer: smokers have increased risk of skin cancer (melanoma and squamous cell cancer) of the skin. Smokers also have increased risk of oral cancers and oral precancerous conditions.
  • Smokers have increased risk of developing Psoriasis more than non smokers.
Smoking has many other damaging effects on health such as lung diseases, heart diseases and many others. To avoid these effects, smokers should stop smoking. It may be hard in the beginning but it's worth it to decrease the hazardous effects of smoking.

Ask your physician for help regarding methods for quitting smoking and seek other help resources for quitting smoking. Many nicotine replacement products are available to help you quit smoking.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.