Damaging both your appearance and your health – it has been known for years that smoking is clearly bad for you. From cancer to heart disease and strokes, the damaging effects of smoking appear to be endless. To get you on your way to better health, it’s time to start your stop smoking journey today; this is what smoking does to your appearance. In the long-term, a smoker is bound to encounter one problem that is linked to their appearance. However, smoking also has detrimental effects on your appearance — issues that will be clear for you and others to see.
Damage to the eyes
Commonly known as ‘crow’s feet’, wrinkles around the eyes are a common feature amongst smokers. Although everyone is likely to notice this problem at some point in their lives, if you’re a smoker you will more than likely notice them prematurely. However, they develop earlier and go deeper when you smoke due to the heat from lit cigarettes and also as a result of a smoker squinting in an attempt to keep smoke out of their eyes.
Evidenced by a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine study, those that smoke cigarettes are four times more likely to feel unrested after a night’s sleep in comparison to non-smokers, producing bags under the eyes. The study, which involved the analysis of the sleep architecture of 40 smokers and a matched group of 40 nonsmokers who all undertook home polysomnography, also suggested that smokers spend less time in a deep sleep than non-smokers.
Naresh M. Punjabi, MD, PhD, FCCP at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, who was the author of the study, suggested that: “It is possible that smoking has time-dependent effects across the sleep period. Smokers commonly experience difficulty falling asleep due to the stimulating effects of nicotine. As night evolves, withdrawal from nicotine may further contribute to sleep disturbance.”
You’re likely to lose some of your hair at some point if you’re a regular smoker. Growing from sac-like structures underneath the scalp, these are known as follicles, and this is where your hair comes from. However, these need oxygen, essential nutrients and vitamins/minerals in order to function correctly and trigger natural hair growth but, as previously discussed, smoking reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that get to your skin.
Eventually leading to hair loss – your hair can thin when you regularly smoke, which is a result of follicles that don’t function properly and disrupt your hair’s regular growth.
Damage to the skin
After smoking for a number of years, your skin can exhibit a dull, grey appearance. This is because the amount of oxygen and nutrients that get to your skin is reduced, with the result being that your skin will age quicker. Premature aging of your skin by between 10 and 20 years will also occur from smoking.
Smoking can also cause vasoconstriction; a condition where blood vessels are narrowed, with oxygen-rich blood flow to the tiny vessels found around your face and other parts of your body limited. The problem of this condition will be seen if you suffer a wound, as vasoconstriction will take it longer to heal and result in scars appearing bigger and redder than those who aren’t affected by the condition.
Elastin and collagen are also destroyed in the body by the 4,000 chemicals found in cigarette smoke. These are fibres required to give skin its strength and elasticity — lose them and sagging skin and deeper wrinkles will be the consequence, which will be seen especially around the inner arms, breasts and face.
Smoker’s pucker is also as a result of regular smoking, and this is when smokers use certain muscles around their lips – causing dynamic wrinkles to appear as a result. Combined with a loss of elasticity to the skin, the result in regards to appearance will be deep lines around the lips.