Information about the Effects & Risks of Smoking:

Does Smoking Make You ULGY?

Does Smoking Make You UGLY?

Although smoking might not necessarily make you ugly, it is true that it would affect the way that you look and feel in a negative manner. While there is plenty of conclusive evidence that links smoking with various diseases and illnesses that affect a smoker’s internal organs, not many people are aware of the damage that this habit can cause when it comes to physical appearance. Yes, smoking is known to affect a smoker’s skin, teeth, finger nails and hair as well.


When smoke enters our body a plethora of toxic chemicals such as hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, butane, formaldehyde, etc. enter the system. These chemicals then find their way to the skin through the blood stream. The carbon monoxide that enters our system through cigarette smoke reduces the oxygen content in the blood, thereby reducing the oxygen levels that reach the skin. This leads to skin getting a yellow and pale tinge.

Cigarette smoking also uses up a considerable amount of Vitamin C that is present in our system, and collagen (which is responsible for the skin’s ‘glow’) is also destroyed by smoking. This is also the reason why smoking is linked with incomplete or slow healing of wounds. Additionally, smoking is known to constrict and narrow the blood vessels and capillaries, which in turn results in the reduction of blood supply to the skin.

Research linking smoking and premature skin aging has been going on for decades, and the term ‘smoker’s face’ has been part of the medical dictionary since 1985. A smoker’s face can be described as follows:

And since the number of young people who carry smoker’s faces is fairly substantial, it is an indication that this condition is not related to ageing.

A recent study suggested that the flow of blood to the thumb went down by around 24 percent after one cigarette being smoked and by around 29 percent after two. A different study suggests that the flow of blood to the digital finger went down by around 42 percent after one cigarette. Another study that involved 50 subjects (25 identical twins pairs) where one twin was a non-smoker and the other smoked showed that the skin of the smoker was at least 25 percent thinner than that of the non-smoking counterpart.

It is now an established fact that smoking leads to the discoloration of teeth. Heavy smokers are known to suffer from yellowish teeth owing to the staining as a result of the nicotine present in cigarettes. Smoking is known to reduce the saliva flow, and since saliva plays an important role in cleansing the teeth and the lining of the mouth, the reduced flow leads to teeth discoloration. Tar and nicotine are the major culprits in teeth discoloration, and tar is also known to deposit on teeth.

Smoking is also known to initiate gum diseases, and this in turn, can lead to premature teeth loss. Gum problems due to smoking are mainly a result of bacteria accumulation in plaque. While plaque is already a big factor when it comes to dental problems, the bacteria only adds to the woes and this can lead to inflamed gums. The reduction in the Vitamin C coupled with reduced flow of blood then works in delaying the healing process. And it is common knowledge that gum diseases affect the teeth adversely. Besides, smoking also leads to perpetual bad breath.

Pale, yellow, and otherwise unhealthy finger nails are also a result of smoking. In case you suffer from yellow finger nails, and have ruled out bacterial infections and other medical conditions, then there is a good chance that your smoking habit is to blame. Two key constituents present in cigarettes find their way onto a smokers hand owing to their greasy and sticky properties, and these are tar and nicotine. While tar is linked to the brownish appearance, nicotine is linked to the nails getting a tinge of yellow. And there are numerous instances when smokers complain of brownish yellow stains owing to both. Also, although these stains can be removed through different processes, they do continue to build up with the passing of time.

For a head full of healthy hair, it is important that hair follicles get the required supply of oxygen, nutrients, and minerals. In the absence of any of these, hair growth is affected negatively. Different studies have led scientists to believe that the blood circulation that is affected due to smoking also affects the flow of blood to the hair follicles, and can actually damage or disrupt the circulation system which works in the delivery of blood to the hair follicles.

A study conducted by the University of Genoa (Italy) showed that there is a connection between hair loss and smoking. This study which was conducted on mice was carried out over a period of three months wherein the mice were exposed to cigarette smoke. A majority of the subjects in this study developed grey hair and alopecia. The report went on to state that the mice suffered from subcutaneous tissue’s reduced thickness as well as a scarcity in the number of hair follicles.

Another study which was carried out on over 700 human subjects in Taiwan (in Taiwan especially because Asian subjects are known to have considerably lower rates of hair loss due to heredity) showed that subjects who smoke have a greater hair loss rate as compared to non-smokers. A different report in the British Medical Journal which took into account 600 human subjects suggested that there is a ‘consistent’ and ‘significant’ link in between premature greying and smoking.

The longer that you continue to smoke, the more pronounced the physical effects will be. And in case you’ve already been smoking for many years, there is a good chance that you might not be able to reverse all the changes that have taken place. However, remember that it is never too late, and you can still work on repairing the damage. All you have to do is quit smoking.