- The wrinkling: Smoking constricts the blood vessels, resulting in eventual premature wrinkling, as the body is robbed of vital nutrients and essential oxygen. It also results in the degradation of collagen and elastin, two fibers that give skin strength, suppleness, and that youthful glow. (Keep in mind that it often takes 10 years for the major consequences of smoking to show up on the skin, so what you don't see now can be misleading.)
- Smoker's face: Gaunt features, a sallow, gray-toned appearance, and deep lines surrounding the mouth and outer eyes? These are all symptoms of what's known as "smoker's face." The longer you smoke, and the more cigarettes you light up, the greater likelihood of wrinkles and sagging skin.
- Speaking of wrinkles: For smokers, wrinkling not only shows up on the face, but all over the body, too. From the neck to the chest to the arms, legs, and buttocks, no amount of wrinkle cream or sun protection will stop them from coming.
- Dried up: Nicotine acts as a diuretic, therefore causing drying of the skin. Not only that, but continual exposure to the heat from a cigarette, along with pursing of the lips and squinting of the eyes while taking a drag, contributes to a less-than-lovely leathered appearance.
The bad news is that there are still many other reasons smoking is bad for the skin. (I'll explore them in a future post.) However, the good news is that if you quit now, you can stop further damage from happening, all while restoring a healthy, nonsmoker glow.