While most smokers understand that cigarettes harm their bodies, some are surprised to learn the extent to which they do so. Not only can smoking cause lung cancer, research finds it’s also linked to a higher risk for cancers of the mouth, esophagus, pancreas, and more. It makes you more prone to common illnesses, like the cold and the flu. And it wreaks damage on your appearance, especially on your skin.
Fortunately, your body is remarkably resilient and, with time and help, can fix most impairments itself. You read it right; no matter how long you’ve kept up your habit, it’s never too late to reverse smoking’s impact on your skin. Here’s all you need to know.
How smoking impacts your skin
Smoking has several consequences on your skin. For one, smoking can change your skin color by increasing the production of the pigment melanin, which leads to dark spots on the face. It increases your risk of atopic dermatitis, a common type of eczema, which results in itchy red or brown patches.
Smoking can also weaken your skin’s elasticity by attacking the collagen and elastin that makes your skin smooth and supple. The lack of these fibrous components can cause your skin to harden, wrinkle, and sag. Finally, smoking can cause the unpleasant condition of smoker’s acne. Cigarette smoke drains Vitamin E from your blood—the antioxidant that prevents your body’s oil from becoming overly thick or sticky. The lack of Vitamin E produces breakouts of blackheads and whiteheads.
How to reverse smoking’s impact
Quit smoking gradually
Though quitting cigarettes will kickstart skin damage reversal, doing so cold turkey can result in severe withdrawal symptoms like headaches and tremors. To avoid that, it’s best to quit gradually by using alternative nicotine products like pouches and lozenges. Nicotine pouches are packets filled with food-grade fillings, flavorings, and nicotine placed between the gum and upper lip. The pouches you’ll see on
Prilla’s website here include top brands like ZYN and VELO, which are known for being entirely smoke-free. They also come in mild to strong nicotine strengths useful for lowering your dosage over time. Meanwhile, nicotine lozenges are candy-like tablets usually sold under brands like Nicorette and Commit. These dissolve once eaten to disseminate nicotine. This post notes they come in lower strengths of 2mg and 4mg, meaning they’re more suited to addressing immediate withdrawal symptoms.
Create a healthful skincare routine
While your skin will gradually take care of itself, you can boost the healing process and jumpstart improved skin cell production by crafting a great skin care regimen. While the exact products you’ll want to use will vary per your skin type, you’ll want to ensure you address smoking-specific concerns. For example, because smoking has increased your risk of skin cancer, you’ll want to continuously apply sunscreen with an SPF level of 50 to shield yourself from the sun and its carcinogenic UV rays.
You’ll also want to consider versatile products that have a range of benefits for your skin and can combat smoking’s repercussions. Our article shows that aloe vera gel is one such product, as it can calm inflamed skin patches, tighten your skin, and fade scarring. It also contains powerful antioxidants that can prevent acne and other skin irritations potentially caused by smoking.
Nourish your skin with the right food
Eating more antioxidant-rich foods as you quit smoking can help replenish any nutrients your skin lost, such as the Vitamin E mentioned earlier. Bell peppers, for example, can help with collagen synthesis. Meanwhile, strawberries possess a high level of phenolic compounds that reduce skin inflammation. If you don’t know where to start tweaking your diet to fit in such foods, a good rule of thumb is to “eat the rainbow.” The Food Revolution Network explains that this strategy involves eating foods of various colors, from red tomatoes to purple berries, to capture more nutrients in your diet that can reverse the effects of smoking on your skin.
Smoking damages your skin—but it’s never too late to fix it. Follow the above tips to revive your healthy glow.
For more articles about organic beauty, check out our website, The Natural Beauty Blog.
This article was last updated on October 2, 2023 .