God she looks glamorous with that cigarette, doesn’t she?
If only she knew how much damage it’s doing. Smoking does affect your looks, there’s no doubt about that. But I bet you weren’t aware of the extent it does this?
Smoking causes the breakdown of collagen in your skin, causing it to sag. Collagen is the stuff that keeps those cheekbones high and jowls at bay; you pay a fortune for it in face creams but we make it naturally. Over time smoking takes a toll:
- the reduced collagen
- the squinting through smoke
- puckering your mouth when dragging on a cigarette
- drying of the surface of the skin
- and the reduction in blood flow to skin
all means you are likely to be more wrinkled and older looking than you should be.
Smokers in the 40’s often have as many wrinkles as non-smokers in their 60s!
And although you can’t see it happening, the damage starts in your 20s or 30s Doctors even have a name for it ‘smoker’s face’! And no amount of expensive creams is going to remedy this because the damage is largely internal.
In studies of twins, one smoker and one non-smoker, you can see this.The twin on the left smoked 17 years more than her sister on the right. See how many wrinkles she has around her mouth and how her face has sagged, including her eyelids. The woman on the right almost looks like she’s had a facelift doesn’t she?
As a smoker you’re two to three times more likely to develop psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin condition. And it makes acne worse.
It really affects wound healing so if you are having an operation as a smoker don’t expect to heal at the same rate as a non-smokers. This can have serious consequences with you ending up spending more time in hospital, at more risk of picking up hospital acquired infections and developing other complications.
In fact, some cosmetic surgeons refuse to work on smokers because they don’t get such good results; I worked with one when I was a nurse and he flatly refused to operate on smokers because he said it was pointless, like pouring water into a sieve. So if you are planning that neck or face lift later you might want to think of quitting now!
Then there’s your body. Smoking isn’t a great way to lose weight to stay slim. This is because smoking changes the fat distribution so you put more weight on around your middle and chest so your hip to waist ratio is not what it should be.
This isn’t good news for your health as people with this profile, although they may not consider themselves overweight, have the fat in the ‘wrong’ places, places that put you more at risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Yes some people put on weight when they stop, but that’s not inevitable and with a good quitting regime this doesn’t need to happen. I didn’t put on any weight and, in fact, my set weight settled to a healthy size 10 and hasn’t shifted since. Much of this is down to how you stop smoking, being given the tools and techniques to quit without needing to substitute cigarettes with some other oral comfort, like eating.
Your hair is more likely to go grey earlier and hair loss is associated with smoking. And that’s besides it smelling of fags or vape smoke.
Your teeth and smelly breath
Don’t forget your teeth, they support your face as well as chew your food and a lovely smile is so attractive. As well as the bad breath and stained teeth you’re more at risk of gum disease which can cause your teeth to fall out.
So picture the glamorous model in the first picture, in 10, 20 years’ time. The saggy face, wrinkles, belly fat, thin, greying hair and when she smiles you can see the stains and the gaps. Not so glamorous now eh?
So if you want to preserve your looks – or you want to stop them deteriorating even more, think about quitting now. You’ll never regret it.
And if you smoke because you are anxious and stressed think about addressing this first, so that the smoking is simply no longer necessary.