How Smoking Cigarettes Affects Your Skin — And What You Can Do Instead
Cigarette smoke is a major cause of diseases, disability, and death. Despite the various health issues that come with lighting up a cigarette, many people find it hard to ditch the habit. The CDC notes that 12.5% of American adults are smokers, translating to around 30.8 million people. More than 16 million people are also affected by a smoking-related illness.
Both non-smokers and smokers are sure to be aware of the harmful effects of smoking on the body, but it can also show on the outside. Excessive smoking can significantly damage the skin in various ways, and it’s not just about affecting how you look. These complications can eventually lead to something worse down the line.
Smoking’s impact on the skin
One of the telltale signs your skin is starting to be affected by smoking is premature aging.
You might notice wrinkles and sagging that starts on earlier than it should because your body now has a hard time producing collagen and elastin, which keeps your skin supple and firm. Collagen and elastin are affected by cigarette chemicals, as these essential building blocks of the skin get destroyed.
Moreover, smoking also increases the risk of developing a skin condition or can aggravate an existing one. A study on smoking’s effects on the skin published in the Journal Advances in Dermatology and Allergology notes that smoking can be a risk factor for developing allergic contact dermatitis and psoriasis.
If you want to prevent further skin complications from arising due to smoking, there are various methods you can try to stop the habit gradually.
Below are some time-proven ways that can help you start your quitting journey and improve your skin.
Nicotine replacement methods
Nicotine replacement therapy or NRT aims to help smokers quit by providing nicotine through non-smoking means that don’t have the harmful chemicals of tobacco, which can curb cravings and prevent adverse withdrawal symptoms. This can be done using nicotine pouches, patches, gum, lozenges, and the like.
Leading pouch platform Prilla stocks ZYN nicotine pouches that have been developed by Swedish Match. ZYN nicotine pouches help heavy smokers reduce their intake, as the pouches contain varying doses of nicotine, helping users slowly wean themselves off their dependency. The experience of using a pouch is also much more pleasant as the pouches eliminate smoke, smells, and stains. Nicotine patches like the ones from Habitrol can also give users a dose of nicotine without having to take anything orally.
The patches can be put on the skin in the morning and worn for 16 or 24 hours to deliver a dose of nicotine throughout the day. NRT products are meant to make quitting less stressful on the body and mind, increasing the chances of smoking cessation.
Quitting apps and trackers
Technological solutions have also been developed to help smokers quit. Accessing help can be as easy as downloading an app on your smartphone, allowing you to track your progress, gain helpful guidance, and connect with a community for support.
Apps like QuitNow! and Smoke Free help develop your quitting goals, as well as sharing stories of encouragement from former smokers who were able to quit. You can be inspired by others and celebrate how far you’ve come, helping you feel better about leaving smoking behind.
Care for your skin
Though you may not be able to reverse smoking’s impacts on your skin entirely, you can do your best to care for it while you recover.
A balanced diet and eight hours of sleep help your skin restore itself. Keeping a regular skincare routine is good because it protects it from further damage; hydration and protection from the sun are essential.
One of our favorite ‘Tips for Dealing with Endlessly Dry Skin in Winter’ is using skincare ingredients that help lock in moisture and create a protective barrier against the elements, particularly against the skin-drying cold of winter.
Natural oils can hydrate the skin and help replenish lost moisture, leaving the face feeling soft and smooth. For smokers in particular, it also helps to identify collagen-replenishing ingredients that work for you, such as vitamin C and hyaluronic acid.
The road to great skin starts with quitting smoking, which won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it as you’ll quickly see better skin results once you’ve stopped.