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Most people think that having a smoking habit adversely affects only the lungs and the heart. But apart from known links to lung cancer and heart disorders, smoking also causes skin damage. The intensity of damage is directly proportional to the number of cigarettes one smokes in a day and the number of years one has been smoking for.
Here are 7 of the horrible things that smoking does to your skin
1. Premature ageing: The process of skin ageing is accelerated by a smoking habit. The chemicals that are ingested through the smoke cause your skin to age much faster, making it look loose, dull and coarse, with uneven colouring. Most smokers have a muted orange or grey tinge to their complexions.
2. Wrinkles and lines: The nicotine from smoke constricts blood vessels in the outer layers of the skin, thereby cutting off the supply of oxygen and nutrients. This causes the skin to develop visible fine lines and wrinkles at a faster rate.
3. Scarring and pigmentation: Since blood is not flowing properly to the outer layers of the skin, it is more susceptible to broken capillaries and veins, which can cause dark scarring and pigmentation on the face and other areas.
4. Darkening of the lips: Constant exposure to heat from smoking causes stark darkening and pigmentation in the lips, which also become dry and coarse.
5. Delayed wound healing: The presence of nicotine, tar and other chemicals in the blood causes cuts and wounds on the skin to heal at a much slower pace with an increased risk of infection, blood clot formation and death of skin tissue.
6. Increased risk of skin disease: Smoking makes the skin prone to various diseases and conditions like psoriasis, which happen as nicotine adversely affects the body's immune system.
7. High chances of skin cancer: Skin cancer and oral cancer are the two lesser known variants of the diseases that can be caused by smoking. Skin cancer is far more common among smokers than among non-smokers.
The harmful effects of smoking on the skin are not entirely discernible until after 10 years of prolonged smoking. Fortunately, your skin starts to heal itself when you kick the habit.