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Smoking accelerates skin’s ageing process

Published on October 21, 2015 at 14:42 / Updated on February 28, 2020 at 20:11

It is no optical illusion: smokers really do look older! Smokers usually have more wrinkles and sallow complexions than non-smokers. In fact, many studies have already demonstrated that cigarette causes wrinkles to the face. But sceptics denied these findings by countering that the face gets greater sun exposure, which in itself causes skin to age prematurely. Now, there can be no doubt: a new study confirms that smoking alone is enough to precipitate ageing of the skin across the entire body.

Researchers photographed the skin on the upper inner arm of 82 people between the ages of 22 to 91. Half of the participants were smokers or had previously smoked. The cigarette consumption of participating volunteers varied between a quarter of a pack to four packs a day. Using a nine-point scale to evaluate their wrinkles, researchers observed a difference of almost two points between the smokers and non-smokers after the age of 65, and a difference of around one point for those over the age of 45. According to their observations, the longer and more heavily a person had smoked, the more likely he or she is of being marred by wrinkles.

Collagen is the key protein that gives strength and elasticity to the skin. Cigarette smoke damages the skin by accelerating collagen production and degradation. This is what causes skin to wrinkle and lose elasticity. In addition, cigarette smoke constricts small blood vessels that irrigate the skin, instantaneously reducing the oxygen supply and affecting skin health and general appearance.

Regardless of the quantity and quality of the anti-wrinkle creams and lotions you slather on your skin, the most powerful wrinkle prevention for smokers is to quit smoking and reduce sun exposure. Your pharmacist can help you find the right tools to help you quit for good. Your skin: just another good reason to stop smoking!

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