We all know a lot about the symptoms of smoking tobacco cigarettes. Heart attacks, cancer, heart disease and angina are all commonly associated with the habit. We also know that it’s very expensive for example; kicking a 20 a day habit and switching to e-cigarettes can save you up to £2,000 a year.
One of the things that we don’t always consider is the effect on our looks. Smoking is extremely bad for them, with a 40 year old smoker having the potential to look between 10 and 20 years older than a non-smoker that’s the same age. A study looking at the effects of aging on twins, with one who smoked compared to the other that didn’t, published in the Plastic and Reconstructive Journal had very conclusive results showing that the smoker looked visibly older.
Here’s a look at some of the main areas of how the habit can affect our appearance:
This is the body’s largest organ and is affected hugely by smoking. When you take a drag on a cigarette Carbon Monoxide and up to 4,000 toxins enter your blood stream. This means that your body has less Oxygen to pump round and can mean your skin loses its natural glow, appear to have a greyish tinge and dry it out. Nutrients that are transported via the blood to the skin including vitamin C are restricted which means that it is less efficient at repairing and protecting the skin.
Collagen levels in the skin can be broken down by an enzyme contained in cigarettes which causes it to become less supple and lose its elasticity. This can cause an increase in wrinkles.
Teeth and gums
Cigarettes contain tar which can cause a discolouration of the teeth, with many smokers having yellowy or brown stains on them. As for your gums, smoking is one of the leading factors for gum disease which can cause bad breath due to a build-up of plaque and means that your teeth are at risk of needing to be removed, or worse falling out.
With Oxygen and nutrient levels being reduced in your blood, your hair can be affected. Many smokers have thinner hair as a result of this and the smoke that is released around you contains chemicals which can also affect it. Not only will it thin but it will also lose its shine and become extremely brittle.
The smoke released cigarette is an irritant and the chemicals and Carbon Monoxide can cause them to be discoloured and appear blood shot as a result. People are also at more of a risk of developing cataracts, where the lens in the eye needs to be replaced.
You’ll generally smoke with the same hand every time you have a cigarette and this constant exposure to the smoke and tar will mean that it can cause them to be discoloured. It can also make the skin on your hands develop wrinkles due to the smoke exposure.
If that’s convinced you to stop…
Speak to your GP about ways that you can kick the habit so that you can prevent any further damage being done and keep hold of your youthful looks for longer.