Tobacco use has far-reaching health consequences, including an increased risk of developing skin cancer, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and other autoimmune disorders. (1)
If you are a smoker concerned about your appearance, this article will tell you why you should consider kicking the habit and how to do so. Putting an end to tobacco use is referred to as smoking cessation, quitting, or halting. (3)
All smokers who were suffering from hypertension and high blood pressure, noticed a decrease in blood pressure rate after undergoing a smoking cessation program done on 721 participants in a research study. (4)
Benefits of Smoking Cessation on the Skin
Kicking the habit of cigarette smoking can do the following wonders to your skin.
1. Alters the complexion
In one study, researchers observed rapid changes in the skin tone of participants following smoking cessation just 1 month after they stopped smoking. (5)
Whitening of fingernails and facial skin has been cited as a telltale indicator of smoking. But this discoloration is temporary and will go once you stop smoking. (6)
Another study also observed improvements in skin tone in people after they quit smoking. Skin melanin indices decreased 1 month after smoking was stopped. (1)
2. Reverses the skin’s biological clock
In one study, noninvasive instrumental assessments of skin smoothness, brightness, coloration, and elasticity were used to determine the average natural skin age, which fell from 53 to 40 years during the study’s 9-month follow-up period.
The study found that the skin’s biological age decreased within 3 months, and this reduction was maintained for 9 months. (5)
3. Reduces inflammation that causes skin diseases
A variety of immediate skin problems can arise from smoking. Positive changes after quitting smoking include fewer adverse health effects, skin ulcers, psoriasis, and pimples on the palms and soles.
According to a research study conducted in 2013, it was observed that there was a decrease in the recurrence of psoriasis and skin ulcers as a result of smoking cessation. (7)
After giving up cigarettes, there was a decrease in skin inflammation and an improvement in overall skin health. (1)
4. Promotes skin rejuvenation
5. Helps maintain skin health
Quitting smoking enhances vitamin C production and collagen induction. One study revealed that vitamin C levels were lower in smokers than nonsmokers, but quitting can increase these levels, leading to faster healing and better collagen creation. (10)
Collagen promotes the generation of fibroblasts in the dermis, which aids in developing new skin cells, contributing to the removal and replacement of dead skin cells and providing the skin with firmness, strength, and resilience.
What Can Be Done to Undo Skin Damage After Smoking?
Quitting smoking is the first step in reversing smoking-induced skin damage, without a doubt. The negative consequences of smoking can be changed once you stop or reduce cigarette consumption.
A diet high in antioxidants is essential for neutralizing free radicals. Vitamins A, B, B5, K, and C and folic acid can be found in carrots, mackerel, tomatoes, broccoli, sweet potatoes, spinach, citrus fruits, kiwis, and mangoes. (11)
Moreover, researchers have found that a diet high in polyphenols (in foods including fruits, vegetables, tea, and coffee) can help mitigate the negative health impacts of smoking over time. (12)
Consuming carrot juice is another effective method for removing nicotine from the system. Also, toxins from tobacco use can be flushed out of the body by eating berries.
Pomegranate increases blood flow, which helps the body make more collagen and elastin, and water helps counteract the drying effects of nicotine, so be sure to drink plenty of it.
Fruits, vegetables, noncaffeinated beverages, and dairy products (13) were the most frequently mentioned categories that exacerbated the taste of cigarettes. Consuming these foods before smoking makes cigarettes taste worse and aids in quitting.
To improve your appearance, try using glycolic acid or another alpha-hydroxy acid-containing skin care product.
Can You Tell If Someone Smokes Just by Looking at Their Face?
Nails and fingers: When a person often smokes, the tar in the smoke can stain their fingernails and other skin areas a yellowish color.
Mustache: A visible pattern of yellowing in the center of the mustache, especially in older people with white hair, indicates prolonged exposure to smoke.
Lips: The lips of heavy smokers get dark blue or black from the nicotine.
Teeth: Smokers’ teeth are stained brownish black on the inside and yellow on the exterior.
Premature wrinkling: Facial skin becomes extremely dry and wrinkly at an early age. (14)
Interesting Facts About Smoking
At least 60 of the 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke are known to cause cancer. (15)
Based on current smoking rates, over a billion people could lose their lives to the habit in the 21st century, up from 100 million in the 20th. Over 100 million people have died from smoking this century, and another 250 million will die by 2050. (16)
In the modern era, smokers who begin the habit as young adults and do not give it up have a life expectancy of 10 years less than nonsmokers. (16)
One study found that compared to nonsmokers, smokers had a higher intake of lipids, alcohol, and caffeine while eating fewer fruits, vegetables, and fiber. (17)
How soon does the human body feel better after quitting smoking?
● The body’s ability to taste and smell improves after just 2 days of abstaining from smoking.
● Within a week, the heart begins pumping oxygen-rich blood.
● The bones get denser and stronger after 2 months.
● After 2.5 months, softer skin, healthier hair, and brighter teeth occur.
● Coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath lessen after 4 months. (18)
● Quitting smoking for a year reduces the risk of heart attacks by half compared to continuing to smoke.
● Stroke risk is reduced to the level of never-smokers after 5 years.
● The chance of developing lung cancer is reduced by 20%–30% after 10 years for ex-smokers compared to current smokers.
● After 15 years of quitting smoking, a person’s heart disease risk is on par with individuals who have never smoked. (18)
What are the other advantages of giving up smoking?
Quitting smoking also raises health and happiness levels, prevents untimely death and extends life by as much as 10 years, and decreases the likelihood of developing numerous diseases and conditions, including COPD, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and poor reproductive health outcomes.
Smoking cessation was also found to be helpful for pregnant moms and their unborn children. (19)
The harmful effects of smoking extend to the skin in addition to the internal organs. Premature wrinkles, poor blood flow, a dull complexion, and decreased collagen and elastin formation are all characteristics of smokers’ skin.
Inflammatory skin problems and delayed wound healing are also common in this population.
If you give up smoking, you can reverse many of these problems. For example, your skin will look and feel like that of a nonsmoker within a year after quitting smoking, though you may still have some fine lines and wrinkles.
- Yazdanparast T, Hassanzadeh H, Nasrollahi SA, et al. Cigarettes smoking and skin: A comparison study of the biophysical properties of skin in smokers and Non-Smokers. Tanaffos. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7230126/. Published February 2019.
- E; UMNGF. [cigarette smoking and its influence on skin aging]. Przeglad lekarski. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23421102/.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482442/.
- Tsai S-Y, Huang W-H, Chan H-L, Hwang L-C. The role of smoking cessation programs in lowering blood pressure: A retrospective cohort study. Tobacco induced diseases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8534426/. Published October 22, 2021.
- Cho YH, Jeong DW, Seo SH, et al. Changes in skin color after smoking cessation. Korean journal of family medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3383505/. Published March 2012.
- (PDF) smoking and skin ageing: How aesthetic nurses can … – researchgate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/272444206/.
- “Quick wins”: The short-term benefits of stopping smoking. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321049328/.
- The Journal of Pathology – Wiley Online Library. https://pathsocjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10969896.
- Coma M, Valls R, Mas JM, et al. Methods for diagnosing perceived age on the basis of an ensemble of phenotypic features. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4000174/. Published April 17, 2014.
- Pullar JM, Carr AC, Vissers MCM. The roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. Nutrients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579659/. Published August 12, 2017.
- Lobo V, Patil A, Phatak A, Chandra N. Free radicals, antioxidants and Functional Foods: Impact on human health. Pharmacognosy reviews. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/. Published July 2010.
- Rudrapal M, Maji S, Prajapati SK, et al. Protective effects of diets rich in polyphenols in cigarette smoke (cs)-induced oxidative damages and associated health implications. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9311530/. Published June 21, 2022.
- AM; MCFJWECRJEL. The effects of foods, beverages, and other factors on cigarette palatability. Nicotine & tobacco research: official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17454706/.
- Chauhan V, Sharma R, Thakur S. Tell-tale signs of a chronic smoker. Lung India: official organ of Indian Chest Society. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3644846/. Published January 2013.
- Xue J, Yang S, Seng S. Mechanisms of cancer induction by tobacco-specific NNK and NNN. Cancers. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4074821/. Published May 14, 2014.
- Jha P. The hazards of smoking and the benefits of cessation: A critical summation of the epidemiological evidence in high-income countries. eLife. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7093109/. Published March 24, 2020.
- McClure JB, Divine G, Alexander G, et al. A comparison of smokers’ and nonsmokers’ fruit and vegetable intake and relevant psychosocial factors. Behavioral medicine (Washington, D.C.). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2687811/. Published 2009.
- Gov.il. https://www.gov.il/en/Departments/General/smoking-rehab.
- Benefits of quitting. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/quit_smoking/how_to_quit/benefits/index.htm. Published September 23, 2020.