Smoking is widely acknowledged as a bad habit. Every year, approximately half of the smokers in the United States make a quit attempt, despite low success rates — only 1 in 20 manage to stop smoking altogether. While the mean age of quitting is 38 years old, only 7.5% of those attempting to quit, do so successfully. Mainly, quit attempts that started with “less than optimal motivational levels” are often prone to relapses due to craving and withdrawal symptoms. While there are undoubtedly many health and fitness reasons to quit smoking, today we’ll discuss an often overlooked source of motivation for smoking cessation — your skin:
The effects of smoking on your skin
Cigarette smoking has an endless list of harmful effects on your internal organs, such as your lungs, but it is just as dangerous for your skin, which is the body’s biggest organ. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, some effects of smoking on the skin include the risk of increased infections and delayed wound healing. It’s also found that inflammatory skin diseases tend to affect smokers more severely than they do non-smokers. Smoking is notorious for significantly contributing to premature skin aging, often associated with wrinkles and dark spots.
Reversing the effects of smoking
Fortunately, we can take steps to reverse and minimize the effects of smoking on our skin health. While this generally depends on how long you have smoked and the frequency you use cigarettes, our skin has the natural gift of regenerating over time. Below are some of the measures we can take to reverse the effects of smoking on the skin:
Turn to skin-friendly smoking cessations
There’s really no way to fully recover your skin’s quality and health if you still hold on to the habit, so finding a way to quit will be the most beneficial course of action. If you are not ready to go cold turkey, but want to protect your skin, you can look to alternatives such as nicotine pouches. The ZYN nicotine pouches sold on Prilla are placed between the upper gum and lip and slowly release the nicotine. Because they are taken orally this prevents the discoloration of the skin around the fingers. For smokers who suffer from inflamed skin conditions, pouches are ideal as cigarette smoke has also been linked to skin conditions like eczema. Most nicotine pouches also come in varying low levels of nicotine to help ease smokers into quitting. Other alternative products to smoking, such as nicotine gums and lozenges from Nicorette, are also a popular option for quitting cigarettes that are completely smoke-free compared to electronic cigarettes and vapes.
Investing in skincare
Aside from quitting smoking, the second best way to reverse the harm smoking has done to your skin is by investing in proper skincare. In a previous post from specialist skincare clinician Christina Jacobson, we highlight the importance of using gentle skincare products. On top of exfoliating and moisturizing daily, there are other healthy habits you can take on to improve your skin health and take your mind off smoking. Factors such as getting enough sleep and drinking enough water daily can do wonders for your skin’s natural functions, keeping your skin hydrated while flushing out toxins from your body. Working regular exercise sessions to your lifestyle and looking at healthier eating choices will also improve blood flow and provide your skin with the necessary nutrients to stay hydrated and reduce inflammation.
Seeing a dermatologist
Lastly, if you’re concerned about other lingering effects of smoking on your skin, it’s always best to consult professional and qualified dermatologists. These consultations will also let you know your skin type, what kinds of skincare products best suit you, and other lifestyle and dietary recommendations that can help improve your skin health after smoking. Not only will they help heal your skin, but dermatologists will also support you in bringing it up to its best condition.