From Pigmentation To Bags Under The Eyes, Smoking Can Really Affect Your Skin. And Quitting Can Make It Better
I still remember my first cigarette! I was 16, was hiding (badly, might I add) behind our assembly stage at school, passing around a ciggie among the girls. A couple of coughs later, the drags started to come to me smoother. Even though one of my girlfriends threw up after, I thought it deserves another try. And that was the start of a nasty habit, which I finally quite at 25!
Apart from the obvious health risks of cigarette smoking, the effects even a single drag has on our skin is multi-fold. Every single smoke break at work has an instant effect on us, something that will happen even if your have “just one drag”. Reports have shown that our body goes through major changes after just an hour of our last cigarette. There are surprising side effects that smoking has on our skin, which IMO, we should all be informed of.
Why Do We Smoke?
Let’s face it, despite how stupid the habit of smoking is, it does look super cool! At least to some people. Most people start out because of peer pressure, some get addicted to its alleged calming properties and some get curious once in a while. In scientific terms, it is not the actual habit we are hooked on to, it’s the nicotine. Nicotine addiction is also responsible for the people who chew gutka. The compound Nicotine produces physical and mood-altering effects in our brain. These can be described as “feel-good” emotions, that are only temporary. For chain smokers, this nicotine dependence is critical, since it is difficult for our body to let go of the instant gratification smoking offers. For occasional smokers, it is equally risky, even if it’s the one ciggie we have after a couple of drinks!
The harmful health risks of cigarette smoking is a topic of discussion for another day. The problems go further than the very serious issues like skin cancer and psoriasis that can be caused by smoking. Let’s look at a few things that happen to our skin as an occasional/heavy smoker.
Premature Ageing And Wrinkles
The effects smoking has on our skin’s natural ageing process is not something which will be seen when we are 20! According to reports, an average smoker looks 1.4 years older than a non-smoker. This is because smoking hampers the supply of oxygen to our skin tissues, this, in turn, takes away its supple and youthful look. Ugh!
Baggy Undereyes and Sagging Skin
No amount of under eye cream will be able to stop the sagging of skin smoking causes. Nicotine disturbs our body’s natural sync, making us more awake and agitated. This leads to hampered sleep cycles and restlessness. Our skin repairs itself when we sleep so bad sleep cycles can cause the supple skin under our eyes to sag. Oh come on!
Delayed Healing And Scarring
Nicotine is responsible for vasoconstriction, a narrowing of the blood vessels that can cut oxygen-rich blood flow to reach the tiny vessels in our skin. This can lead to acne scarring on the face, prominent appearance of stretch marks on our body and slow healing wounds. Ouch!
Uneven Skin Tone
Apparently, cigarette smoke is laden with over 7000 chemicals, including 250 that are poisonous and 70 that cause cancer. These factors contribute to our skin tone looking uneven, leaning towards an orange or grey undertone. The carbon monoxide in the smoke displaces the oxygen in our skin, making it look dull and gaunt. Nicotine is also responsible for depleting minerals like Vitamin C, which is responsible for repairing our skin and hair. Gosh!
There’s a couple of staining issues we can face because of smoking. Cigarettes turn our fingers yellow, darken our lips and give us icky teeth. Smoking also leads to depletion of collagen in our skin, damaging the elastic barriers and protective layers in our skin. Ew!
What Happens When We Quit?
The decision to quit smoking is a lifestyle change. The disgusting habit can become such an integral part of our daily activities, that it can get difficult to quit. Kicking the butt out of our lives can not only be healthy for the long run but show instant improvements in the appearance of our skin!
Taut And Glowing Skin
On average, nicotine takes 1-3 to leave our system completely. Once it’s done, our skin finally starts getting the nutrients they had been devoid of for the duration we have been smoking. Our tissues can finally be drenched in oxygen, collagen production improves and our starts to look supple and elastic again!
Faster Regeneration Of Skin
It does not take our skin long to go back to it’s the original state after we quit smoking. The first night itself can see a much-accelerated state of cell regeneration. Combined with a healthy diet and good exercise regime, we can finally hope to get the amazing skin we’ve always dreamt of!
The Best Beauty Sleep Of Our Life!
Fun Fact: Some researchers have found that close to 12 per cent of smokers faces issues falling asleep. This was further elaborated as 11 per cent of the people have interrupted sleep and 10 per cent wake-up too early in the morning. Also, for every cigarette smoked during the day, our total sleep time decreased by more than one minute.
The easiest route for getting beautiful skin is giving it time to heal. Making sure that we sleep easy, quitting smoking can be the first step. So pop those vitamins and sleep like a baby!
It is indeed a step towards personal growth to try and quit smoking. Shall we take a pledge, ladies? For healthier skin and a happier mood, let’s quit this habit!