Cigarette smoking is a dangerous lifestyle practice. Cigarette smoke contains nicotine and several thousands of dangerous toxins that negatively affect not only active smokers but also passive smokers most especially children. Cigarette smoke is harmful to all organs of the human body in so many ways. The skin is the largest organ of the human body and smoking can be detrimental to the skin in many ways. Examples of such harm are outlined below;
- Skin cancer: It is believed that smoking release toxins that damage the body cells and lead to a reduced immunity with subsequent inability or decreased ability to defend the body against unwanted interference. If you smoke you have more than 50% chances of developing skin cancer than if you did not smoke. It has been found that smokers develop squamous cell carcinoma (a type of skin cancer that is the second commonest after basal cell carcinoma) often on their lips.
2. Impairs wound healing: Smoking decreases blood supply and causes blood vessels to be inflamed (known as vasculitis). These decreases the body’s ability to repair wound, increases rate of wound infection and make surgical wounds to break down. Even when wounds heal, the tendency for scar to form is quite high.
3. Premature aging: Due to constant pursing of the lips during smoking, wrinkling tends to occur around the mouth. Also, occurs around the eyes due to damage of the collagen and elastin of the skin. Wrinkling generally occurs earlier in smokers. Due to loss of skin elasticity, sagging occurs earlier in people who smoke.
4. Disturbing skin conditions are increased: Smoking affects skin inflammation which more than doubles the risk of developing skin conditions like psoriasis.
Also Hidradenitis (or commonly called acne inversa) is inflammatory skin disease that affects people in areas of the body where skin rubs against skin, such as occurs in the armpits, groin and beneath the breasts in women. It is often misdiagnosed and causes boil-like swellings that drain pus. The condition is painful and can last several months or even years. Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for acne inversa.
5. Skin staining: Discoloration of the skin, teeth, nails and lips can occur from nicotine and other toxins present in cigarettes due to holding the cigarettes between same fingers and lips over the years. This is commonly referred to as tar stains.
6. Dull skin tone: Smoking decreases oxygen supply to the skin which gives makes the skin tone to be uneven and dull. Aside the decreased oxygen supply to skin, smoking also releases over 100 toxins that are harmful to the skin.
Smoking has both long-term and immediate effects which are harmful to our health. Smoking cessation is highly recommended.