Ok, I know that we all kind of know about smoking. I think we all have learnt from our elders, friends, TV, doctors, teachers etc etc that smoking is a bad thing to do. Yet, so many people still do it. I'm sure you're all aware by now (and if not where have you been? Living under a rock?) that smoking causes cancer, heart disease plus a long long list of other problems. I'm here today to talk about how it affects your skin and I guess controversially in a way, what to do if you do decide to smoke them little things.
The first thing you need to know is that smoking causes fine line and wrinkles. All the free radicals in the smoke can break down collagen and elastin fibres in the skin causing wrinkles and fine lines. Also, with the breakdown of elastin, this can cause sagging - which is not something that we really want. We also need to be aware the lines that it produces around the mouth, plus the yellowing of the teeth is never really a good look!
Smoking causes vasoconstriction in the blood vessels. This basically reduces the blood supply that can get to the skin and can make it look grey, dull and lifeless. Also, when we restrict the blood flow, we can prevent the skin from healing properly. Anybody concerned with scarring of any kind must be aware that it will take longer to heal. Especially if you struggle with spots and blemishes, those spots are going to take twice as long to heal up than a non-smoker.
Lack of Sleep
Regular smokers may not know why they feel so tired all the time. Smoking can cause a poor night's sleep as the body is going through a nicotine withdrawal. As you go through the night you might find that you are tossing and turning a lot due to the fact that your body is needing cigarettes.
Smoking can prevent the absorption of precious vitamins and minerals in the body - especially vitamin C which is needed for healing and repairing the body. Vitamin C is also a very important antioxidant needed in the body and helps with our immune system. You might find that you get a lot more coughs and colds when you smoke (caused by many factors, but a poor immune system is one!)
So now what...?
Well, if you're a regular smoker and are not planning on quitting, then maybe I can list a few things that you should be doing to help your skin. This will not reverse damage caused and I obviously recommend cutting back if not stopping, but try these tips to give your body some extra support whilst you're smoking...
Fill a giant water bottle up with fresh water (or use a 2 litre mineral water bottle already filled) and add some frozen berries, fruit, herbs and a couple of decafinated green tea bags. Keep this with you and sip it throughout the day. This will help hydrate your body and provide you with some much needed antioxidants.
Buy a good quality antioxidant facial mist to spray before and after smoking to get rid of some of the pollutants that you're surrounding your skin with
Use a very good sun protection with a high factor each day and if you can layer it up with something like the Nimue Element Barrier to create a wall against that smoke.
Ensure you do a regular, hydrating face mask once or twice a week so your skin stays looking plump and fresh. Your skin can very easily dehydrate when you smoke so try and put that water loss back into your skin as often as possible.
Protect your lips with a nourishing lip balm. You want to make sure they are protected and hydrated as much as possible. The skin around your lips and mouth is so delicate you want to really protect it from any pollutants from the smoke.
Regular facials monthly can also help to hydrate the skin, soften fine lines and give the skin a glow.
No, I don't ever recommend continuing to smoke, but I'm sure you're old and wise enough now to make your own decisions. So, if you decide to smoke, make sure you're following my tips to protect your skin as much as possible!
Thanks so much for reading