If you have to choose between looking young and prematurely aged, you would obviously choose the former, right? Why do you then forget this simple choice when you light a cigarette?
Cigarette smoking can have disastrous effects on your skin. From premature ageing to clogged pores, dryness and discoloration, smoking can play havoc with your physical appearance.
How cigarettes affect you skin?
You are what you eat! So, whatever you consume has an impact on your physical appearance and mental well being. We all know that cigarettes contain thousands of poisonous chemicals and carcinogens. These chemicals are absorbed by our blood stream when we smoke, the blood is carried to all organs and therefore every organ of our body including the skin suffers from the side effects of ingesting the poison that cigarettes contain.
Another fact to remember is that when we smoke, we inhale carbon monoxide, but our skin needs oxygen in order to maintain its health. Our blood absorbs carbon monoxide 200 times faster than oxygen; this means that when we smoke we end up reducing the oxygen content in our body.
In fact smoking also causes free radicals to attack the skin cells thus causing early appearance of wrinkles.
The dehydration that smoking cigarettes causes also makes the skin appear patchy, dry and dull.
Another harmful effect of smoking is that it causes a vitamin C deficiency in our body. The vitamin helps to preserve collagen (the substance that helps maintaining our skin’s elasticity and plumpness) in our body. Unfortunately, we are not programmed to produce Vitamin C naturally. Lack of the vitamin causes collagen to break down, which in turn leads to wrinkles and loosening of the skin.
The very act of smoking, that is pursing our lips and squinting also causes wrinkles around the mouth and eyes.
What’s more our body’s natural defense mechanism kicks in when we smoke. The liver starts overworking itself to cleanse the body of the poison we force it to ingest. As a result of which it is unable to perform its normal functions. Our overall health suffers and the skin obviously ends up losing its healthy glow!
How to combat these effects?
The best way to protect your skin from these damaging side effects is obviously giving up smoking. While you are in the transition period between quitting cold turkey and reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke, you can start working towards cutting your losses by taking the following corrective steps-
- Include vitamin C rich foods like citrus fruits in your diet to build up your collagen.
- Drink lots of water to flush out the toxins accumulated in your body and to keep your skin hydrated.
- Make cleansing and moisturizing a part of your bedtime routine as it will help you remove the smoke particles from your skin and reduce the dryness caused by smoking. For moisturizing Aloe Vera gel or a good vitamin C gel will be useful.
- Exfoliate with a good facial scrub at least once week to reduce the discoloration caused by smoking cigarettes.
- Apply egg-white on your face once in 10 days to maintain the elasticity of your facial skin.
Unfortunately, passive smoking too can cause damaging side effects. So, even if you do not smoke but hang out with smokers, you must follow the steps listed above to ensure that your skin doesn’t suffer the same fate as that of your smoker friends.
At the end of the day your health is in your hands. No amount of make up, Botox or any anti-ageing treatments can bring back the natural youthfulness of glow of your skin. The best thing to do therefore is to quit smoking, if you want to stay healthy and look younger for longer.