What happens to your skin when you quit smoking?
Learn about the effects of quitting smoking on your skin and face. Discover the positive changes and benefits of kicking this unhealthy habit today.
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We’re often asked the question, “Does smoking affect your skin?”. The harm that smoking causes to our skin seems the least of the evils when compared to heart disease or lung cancer, but it is often one of the first tangible signs that smoking is causing you harm.
The great news is that when you stop smoking you can expect an almost immediate improvement in the way your skin looks and feels – in other words there is a significant and noticeable skin improvement after quitting smoking.
How does smoking do to your skin?
The harm that smoking causes to our skin seems the least of the evils when compared to heart disease or lung cancer, but it is often one of the first tangible signs that smoking is causing you harm.
The signs often show as early as the smoker’s mid-20s – but the great news is that if you quit smoking – your skin begins to repair itself almost immediately – but the later you leave it to quit – the more irreversible the affects might be.
Smoking bombards your entire body with a long list of harmful, toxic chemicals including carbon monoxide, cyanide, tar, and formaldehyde – the impact of which starves your body of oxygen, vitamins and nutrients. This affects every organ of the body – as well as the skin.
Nicotine also reduces blood flow to the lower living layer of skin, or dermis, which results in less oxygen being delivered. Skin becomes grey and sallow and the cell production deteriorates, leading to dry, flaky skin that is less resistant to external conditions.
Our skin begins to sag and wrinkle because the body cannot produce collagen effectively. Smoking starves the body of Vitamin C – a key component in the manufacturing of collagen – and interferes with the production of an enzyme called matrix metalloproteinase that regulates collagen production, which leads to skin that is lined and gaunt.
Thinking about how much you distort your face, your lips, cheeks, and eyes as you suck on every mouthful of smoke that you inhale. The sucking on the lips, the wincing of the eyes – no wonder we end up with the tell-tale signs of a smoker; hollow cheeks, crow’s feet and a tired upper lip.
Skin before and after quitting smoking
As already discussed smoking bombards your entire body with a long list of harmful, toxic chemicals which affect the skin. Skin becomes grey, saggy, dry and flaky.
However, within hours the skin benefits after quitting smoking begin to occur. Short term quit smoking skin improvement can be seen as your skin colour picks up a little as your circulation improves.
Carbon monoxide levels in your blood drop to normal and within weeks, your skin will be visibly benefiting from increased oxygen and antioxidant levels
Smoking causes smaller blood vessels to shut down (which is why smokers’ skin has a grey complexion).
As your circulation recovers and the level of nutrients and oxygen being delivered to your skin return to normal and you soon recover that healthy glow that you’ve been missing. The body’s ability to repair itself from the skin damage caused by smoking is remarkable – eventually you can end up looking ten years younger than you would as a smoker.
The picture above is one of a series from a study on facial changes caused by smoking – a comparison between smoking and non-smoking identical twins.
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Quit smoking skin improvement timeline
So how long after quitting smoking does skin improve and how long will it take for you to recover your glow, reduce the lines on your face, and get rid of that saggy look below your eyes?
|Within a day or so||Skin colour perks up|
|One Week||Your skin will be visibly benefiting from increased oxygen and antioxidant levels|
|One Month||You’ll notice significant visible differences in your skin with circulation recovered and normal levels of nutrients and oxygen being delivered to your skin. As skin cells turn over that ever-elusive glow returns.|
|6 Months||Having followed a simple skincare regime time will have already smoothed out fine lines, evened out dark spots, and your cheeks will look less hallow as they recover from the constant pouty/sucking action required of smokers.|
|1 Year+||It just gets better and better and better and you’ll look 10 years younger.|