We all know that smoking is bad for us, however that doesn’t stop 17% of men and 13.3% of women lighting up in the UK as reported by the office for national statistics. I was one of them until only recently, after taking up smoking at 14 (when I thought it was super cool) and continuing for 10 years, the longest I ever went without a cigarette was no more than a couple of weeks, I would hate to know how many I had in this time!
I always felt like a hypocrite preaching skin health and trying to live a healthy lifestyle while filling my body with toxic chemicals, but for anyone who is a smoker, it is so easy to convince yourself that you enjoy it and it’s not that bad.
This week’s post is part 1 of a 2-part blog looking at how smoking has a direct impact on the skin and premature ageing, I’ll follow this on next week with how I finally managed to quit and am now living a happier, healthier life as a non-smoker.
How does smoking effect the skin?
Smoking creates free radical damage within the skin which attacks healthy cells and leads to destruction. Remembering that the skin is the largest organ in the body and yet the last to get any nutrients, increasing the damage will have a direct impact on your skin’s brightness, healthy natural glow and collagen formatting abilities.
It reduces the blood supply to the body and therefore essential nutrients that collagen needs to synthesise, this results in premature ageing, commonly deep lines and reduction of volume in the face. There’s also the notorious ‘smoker’s lines’ around the lips and in turn the yellow teeth that come with it.
Smoking reduces hydration and Hyaluronic acid production which can lead to dryness. This again results in deep lines, a lack of skin hydration and reduction of the natural volume in the face.
Smoking can also result in zinc deficiency, lower levels of zinc in the body have been linked to acne.
What differences can you see in the skin once quitting?
I have always credited myself to having good skin due to my extensive skincare regime and frankly I’ve been blessed with some good genes to.
Even so, I am amazed at the difference I have seen in as little as a month, not only in my health, energy, ability to push myself when exercising and bank balance, but the physical benefits in my appearance have been beyond what I would have imagined…
- My natural skin glow has improved – even before applying my skincare products my skin is naturally looking healthier and more radiant, I have had a lot of compliments on this
- The dark circles around my eyes – I’ve always been self-conscious of dark eye rings which I mainly accredited to not getting enough sleep, but I have noticed that they have gotten a lot lighter and tighter with a visible reduction in fine lines
- My hair feels stronger – I’ve noticed that my hair feels fuller and seems to be growing longer (mainly by the terrible roots I have which are not due to be done for another few weeks!)
- My skin feels more hydrated – I would normally apply a hyaluronic acid moisturiser in the evening which I have now stopped doing and just stick to an antioxidant serum with no issues of dryness
- My teeth are whiter – I have always used whitening products e.g. toothpastes but didn’t notice that they made much difference, now I have seen the improvement and they feel so much smoother and less ‘fury’
- My spots have reduced – I am prone to some big ass spots, you know the super annoying ones that are rock hard and painful but they never come to a head so you can’t pop them? I haven’t had any since quitting!
Other improvements are that I can taste is so much better now, I love food but didn’t realise how much smoking reduced my taste sensations, this is probably my favourite thing to have come out of quitting! I can also work out harder & for longer which is giving me more body confidence, I don’t wake up with a horrific cough everyday and have now become aware of the way that smokers smell, it is not good!
I know it’s fucking hard…
Believe me I do, and to anyone who has never smoked it seems completely ridiculous that people readily inhale poisonous chemicals into their lungs. I knew all the health risks but did it because I thought that it felt good, I enjoyed it and having a cigarette with a drink at the weekend was the best combination.
I’m trying to appeal to your vain side (because I believe that everyone is a little vain) and if I’m being totally honest, the reason I wanted to stop was because I knew it was ageing me rather than slowly killing me! (Believe me I know how ridiculous that sounds!)
So next time you have a cigarette look in the mirror and imagine yourself in 10 years, when you hit 30 but you look 50 and have to think that you did it all to yourself.
So, look out for next weeks post, this is going to be about how I finally kicked the habit after 10 years, how it was easy and how I have no desire to smoke anymore! I was planning on saying the method, but I think it will be more fun to make you wait 😀
Thanks for reading and I will see you next Friday