Smoking and Skin Damage: What You Need to Know 

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As everyone knows by now, smoking has major health concerns. It is linked to heart issues, cancer, and lung illness. However, did you realize that smoking may seriously damage your skin and face? It may result in early aging and wrinkles, which may detract from your look and self-worth.


There are other, more severe skin-related hazards. Toxins included in cigarettes can lead to skin cancer and other skin disorders as well as early aging. Smoking can make the symptoms of any skin issue you already have worse.

Consult your doctor about options to help you stop smoking and how to manage your symptoms if you smoke and you find that your skin is suffering. Once you stop, your skin can often start healing on its own.

Premature Wrinkles and Early Aging

The fiber elements of your skin that make it tight and supple—collagen and elastin—are harmed by the chemicals found in cigarette smoke. Without them, your skin may become less pliable and harder, which can cause deeper wrinkles and early aging.

The enzyme known as metalloproteinase (MMPs), which degrades collagen, is produced in part by smoking. A protein called collagen is essential for the suppleness and smoothness of skin. Skin sags when collagen is compromised.

The areas of your face around your mouth and lips, between your eyebrows, and around your eyes are generally where you can see these wrinkles the most. Additionally, smoking can lead to drooping skin, especially around the jawline and beneath the eyes. 

Smoking also reduces vitamin A levels in the skin, increases the formation of free radicals, and narrows blood vessels, which limits the quantity of oxygen your skin receives. All of these factors contribute to premature aging.

Pursing your lips around a cigarette can also cause vertical wrinkles to appear around your mouth.


Psoriasis is a long-term inflammatory skin disorder characterized by scaly, itchy areas. It can show up anywhere on the body, such as the hands, feet, ears, scalp, and nails.

Psoriasis can look violet or dark brown with gray scales on people with dark skin tones. It might seem pink or crimson with silvery scales on those with fair skin.

One of the risk factors for psoriasis development is smoking. According to one study, persons who smoked more frequently had a greater chance of getting psoriasis.

Additionally, smoking increases the risk of palmoplantar pustulosis, a painful condition that results in blisters on the hands and feet. It is a recurring inflammatory condition similar to psoriasis.

Pigmentation of the Skin

Smoking raises skin melanin levels, which can result in black patches, particularly on the face. Because cigarettes contain nicotine and other poisons, holding cigarettes between the same fingers repeatedly can cause some skin tones to become yellow.

According to research, those who smoke and have tar-stained fingertips are more likely to suffer from ailments linked to smoking.

Healing of Wounds

Smoking narrows the blood vessels, which hinders the body’s capacity to flow blood and slows the healing process after injuries.

Cigarettes can cause even little wounds and scratches to heal more slowly. You may also be more susceptible to scarring from these little injuries if you smoke.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), smoking significantly raises the possibility of problems developing after surgery. In collaboration with the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA), they discovered that following four weeks of quitting smoking, every week without tobacco increased health incomes by over 20%. They credit these gains to increased blood supply to vital organs throughout the body.


In addition to hand eczema, smoking increases the incidence of atopic dermatitis, the most prevalent kind of eczema. Eczema appears as dry, itchy skin patches. In light skin tones, it appears red, and in dark skin tones, it appears brown.

Additionally, there is a higher chance of hand eczema in those who are exposed to secondhand smoking. According to one study, children who were around secondhand smoke were more likely to grow up to have atopic skin diseases like eczema.

Additionally, studies have revealed a link between smoking and a higher risk of contact dermatitis, a common inflammatory skin ailment. 

Skin Cancer

Carcinogens are chemicals that cause cancer, and they are present in cigarette smoke. Smoking increases your chance of getting squamous cell carcinoma, a kind of skin cancer.

The most frequent risk factor for oral squamous cell carcinoma, a kind of mouth cancer, is tobacco smoking.

If you have any of the following symptoms, which might be signs of oral cancer, make sure to contact your doctor:

a bump or sore on the mouth or lip

oral pain

Patch of white or red color on the tonsils, gums, tongue, or oral mucosa

difficulty chewing or swallowing

Having trouble moving the mouth or jaw

mouth numbness

teeth that are loose or soreness around the teeth

a growth or bump in the throat or neck

How Your Skin Improves When You Quit Tobacco

When you stop smoking, you have a significantly higher chance of managing your symptoms or perhaps initiating a healing process if you are dealing with a skin problem that is linked to smoking.

By giving up smoking, you’ll lessen the blood vessel irritation that causes a number of skin disorders. Your heart and lungs will operate better, and so will your circulation and heart rate. When normal blood flow resumes, skin cells will receive oxygen and nutrients, and your skin will start to seem healthier.

Your body will begin to mend itself overall. Your capacity to recover from injuries will also increase.

Smokers with acne inversa often have a greater number of afflicted body parts compared to non-smokers.12 Similar results have also been observed for eczema and psoriasis sufferers.

In order to reduce symptoms and slow the disease’s course, doctors advise smokers who have Buerger’s disease to give up smoking.

Whether or not a patient has a skin disease, dermatologists are recommended to counsel them to stop smoking in order to prevent any possible harm that it may do to the skin. 

When Will You Notice Changes?

According to research, giving up smoking might have a positive impact on skin and facial attractiveness in as little as four weeks. In one research, age marks and redness disappeared one month after quitting smoking. According to a different research, pigmentation may become better four to twelve weeks after stopping.

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