Smoking causes wrinkles

Smoking can cause the skin to wrinkle and sag. (Image courtesy of Flickr user AriNow.) 

Many people know smoking can lead to a plethora of health problems. It can cause many different of cancers, trouble breathing and ultimately death. Another problem smokers face is cigarettes wreaking havoc to their skin.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, smoking causes wrinkles by narrowing blood vessels in the outer layers of skin. This narrowing of the blood vessels reduces the amount of oxygen the skin is able to get, thus forming wrinkles. Smoking also damages connective fibers such as collagen and elastin. Damage to these fibers causes permanent wrinkles.

It doesn’t take long for the wrinkles to start to appear. The Mayo Clinic found that smokers as young as 20 started developing facial wrinkles, visible under a microscope. Doctors say if you smoke 10 or more cigarettes a day for 10 years, you are more likely develop wrinkled skin with a yellowish complexion.

Smoking doesn’t just put wrinkles on your face. Smoking increases wrinkled skin on other parts of the body, including the inner arms. The Mayo Clinic recommended never smoking or to quit smoking immediately to prevent accelerated wrinkling.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are more than 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke. These chemicals are what cause damage to collagen and elastin. These fibers are important to the skin because they it give its strength and elasticity. Without them, they begin to sag and wrinkle prematurely, thanks to smoking.

The repeated exposure to heat from lighting a cigarette and the facial expressions that are made while smoking — such as pursing lips when inhaling or squinting eyes to keep out smoke — also contribute to wrinkles.

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About Sara Brown

Sara Brown is the Sampan health editor.
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