Skin Care Smoking

Medical experts have proven that smoking for as little as 10 years is sufficient to cause premature wrinkles, in addition to other, more serious health complications. When we smoke, the blood vessels throughout our bodies, including those in our skin, narrow, significantly limiting the amount of blood, oxygen and other essential nutrients (such as Vitamin A, D and E) that can get to our skin.

As the skin is continually unable to get the vital nutrients it needs, it becomes less effective at producing new skin cells and maintaining its concentration of collagen, a connective protein that lies in the epidermis (the middle layer of skin). Collagen is the substance responsible for maintaining the plumpness of our skin, as well as making the skin elastic and resilient.

Over time, as smoking diminishes the flow of nutrients to the skin and depletes the levels of collagen in it, the skin loses its elasticity and vibrancy. This, in turn, causes the skin to wrinkle, sag and display the sign of premature skin aging.

Similarly, while smoking for many years, a person is constantly repeating the same facial actions and is continually putting his face in close contact with smoke and ash. This repeated motion and the proximity to heat and toxic smoke and ash also contributes to the premature development of wrinkles in long-term smokers.

The signs of premature skin aging aren’t limited to the face. As if early facial wrinkles weren’t bad enough, smoking can also cause the inner part of the upper arms, the knees and tummy skin to sag and wrinkle earlier in life than it should.

Smoking Statistics

Here are some fascinating statistics about the prevalence of smoking in the United States:

  • About 23 percent of men and 19 percent of women are smokers. This works out to 25 million men and 20 million women.
  • About 6,000 kids under 18 years old begin smoking every day.
  • Roughly 90 percent of current smokers started smoking before the age of 21.
  • Smoking is most prevalent in those living below the poverty line.
  • While 40 percent of smoking men will die before reaching retirement age, only 18 percent of their non-smoking counterparts come to the same fate before retirement.

 

Other Health Complications Related to Smoking

Along with causing the skin to wrinkle and age prematurely, smoking also causes the following health problems:

  • bladder cancer
  • blood clots
  • bronchial infection
  • emphysema
  • heart disease
  • heartburn
  • hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • lung cancer
  • pancreatic cancer
  • stroke
  • ulcers.

Tips for Quitting Smoking

Because smoking is associated with a number of mild to life-threatening health complications, quitting smoking is a good way to start improving your overall health. Here are some tips that can help you quit smoking:

  • Consider using nicotine patches or other medication that aids in the effort to quit smoking.
  • Find another activity, such as chewing nicotine gum, that you can substitute for smoking.
  • Get rid of all your cigarettes and ash trays.
  • If you do revert to smoking, quit again. One slip-up isn’t the end of your journey to quit smoking.
  • Keep yourself busy so that your mind doesn’t wander and think about wanting to smoke.
  • Tell friends and family about your plan to quit smoking so they can support you and remind you about how well you are doing when you get the urge to smoke.
  • Write down why you want to quit smoking and carry this list with you. Look at it whenever you feel the urge to light up a cigarette.

Resources

American Lung Association (November 2003). Adolescent Smoking Statistics. Retrieved November 2, 2007 from the ALA Web site: http://www.lungusa.org/site/pp.asp?c=dvLUK9O0E