But perhaps the most obvious (and universal) way smoking affects appearance is in what it does to your skin. From premature ageing and wrinkles to discolouration, smoking can hugely impact your skin and appearance.
But, don’t despair.
Quitting smoking can improve your skin in a number of ways, and once you’ve stopped, your skin can begin its road to recovery. So, what kinds of differences can you expect to see in your skin before and after quitting smoking? Here, we take a look at some of the benefits of stubbing out that last cigarette and the stages of skin recovery after quitting smoking.
What Does Smoking Do to Your Skin?
Alongside affecting your internal organs, like the heart and lungs, smoking has a big impact on your external appearance, and the link between smoking and skin damage can become clear as the way you look changes.
Smoking has a big part to play in making you look old before your time. Since it affects your circulation, smoking makes your blood vessels become more narrow, decreasing the supply of oxygen and nutrients to your skin. Additionally, the body’s production of collagen and elastin, two proteins that keep your skin both firm and elastic, is significantly reduced by smoking.1
All of this can lead to classic signs of smoking on a person’s face, such as prominent wrinkles around the mouth and crow’s feet around the eyes, plus sagging skin around the neck. A combination of reduced oxygen and the thousands of chemicals contained within cigarettes can also lead to age spots and discolouration of the skin, making you look pale.3
As well as causing wrinkles and premature ageing, smoking can even stain your skin (especially around your fingers) and make pre-existing conditions, like psoriasis and acne, much worse.1
Benefits to Your Skin After Quitting Smoking
Despite the impact smoking has on your skin, quitting can help your skin recover and improve your overall appearance. Here are just a few skin benefits of quitting smoking:
Slowing of the Ageing Process
While wrinkles that have developed may not disappear entirely, you will see an improvement in bad skin after quitting smoking after a short amount of time. In fact, your skin will begin to improve after a matter of days as collagen and elastin renew themselves. This should give you a motivational boost as you battle with the cravings on your quitting journey.2
Increased Skin Cell Turnover
As your skin begins to repair itself, skin cell turnover will increase.4 This happens because there is much more blood flow to your skin after quitting smoking. Increased skin cell turnover will help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve your skin’s ability to heal wounds such as acne scars.
Reduced Discolouration and Staining
Increased blood flow will also make your complexion look less grey and pale, one of the most noticeable differences in your skin before and after quitting smoking. As your skin gets more nutrients and oxygen, your face may even appear brighter with a healthy glow, after you quit.1
Prevention of further damage
The final way smoking improves your skin is by reducing the chances of developing serious skin conditions and preventing further damage. Quitting smoking can reduce the risk of your skin being affected by:
- Skin Cancer
- Acne Inversa
Skin Improvement after Quitting Smoking
For many people, one of the biggest motivators for quitting is improving the way they look. When you put down that last cigarette for good, you can expect your skin to recover, although some of the damage will be permanent.
Beyond skin improvement after quitting smoking, your overall health will also enjoy benefits within just 20 minutes of that final cigarette.
If you quit today, the damage caused by smoking stops today, and slowly, your skin and body can begin to repair themselves.