Information about the Effects & Risks of Smoking:

Smoking and Skin Damage - Can Smoking Related Skin Damage Be Reversed?

Smoking and skin damage

Smoking is harmful in more ways than one, and that it affects the skin’s aging process is common knowledge now. If you, as a smoker, suffer from discoloured skin, skin that appears dull, deep wrinkles around your mouth and/or eyes, or feel the loss of elasticity in your skin, your smoking habit, in all likelihood, is to blame.

While repairing or reversing the skin damage caused due to smoking depends on the extent of the damage in the first place, know that there are ways which can help control/minimize the extent of the damage.

Diet:

Smoking is believed to have an adverse affect the body’s ability to absorb vitamin A and vitamin C, and these micronutrients play an important role in protecting the skin from damage. Consequently, smokers should try to incorporate foods rich in these micronutrients. Good sources of vitamin A include liver, broccoli, carrots, spinach, egg, peas, etc; liver, and most fresh fruits & veggies are good source of vitamin C.

Water:

Drink at least 2 litres of water every day, as drinking water not only helps your body in flushing out toxins and improving your skin’s health, it can also help in reducing nicotine cravings. Make sure that your body is sufficiently hydrated at all times, and avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages as far as possible.

Exercise:

Studies have shown that exercising for 30 - 60 minutes each day (3 - 5 days each week) is amongst the best ways to reverse damage caused by smoking, and not only does it help improve skin tone, it also aids in heart and lung function. This is because exercising ensures effective delivery of nutrients and oxygen to all affected regions.  

Hygiene:

Maintaining good skin care (read hygiene) is crucial is you hope to fight the negative effects of smoking on skin. Good skin care includes ensuring that your skin is thoroughly cleansed and well moisturized as far as possible.

Gels, Creams, and Lotions:

There are a number of gels, creams, and lotions which claim to work as treatment for skin damage caused due to smoking, although there is little in the form of conclusive evidence to show that they work (or do not). Also, while some of these products might work on some, they might not necessarily work on others. In general, if you are looking for a product that can help, look for one which comes with vitamins A or C.

Medical Help:

If you have suffered from extensive skin damage owing to your smoking habit, you might just need medical assistance, in which case a trip to the dermatologist is called for. Your options at this point would include resurfacing treatments, high grade peels, or Botox/ Restylane injections.

What should go without saying is that your quitting smoking will ensure that your skin is not subjected to any more damage on account of your smoking habit. If you do quit smoking, it would also be in your (and your skin’s) best interest if you stay away from situations wherein you could be exposed to cigarette smoke. With this taken care of, your smoking and skin damage related woes will decrease considerably.