Yes, without a doubt, smoking causes wrinkles. So if you need another reason to quit smoking, add premature wrinkles to the list.
Smoking can speed up your skin’s normal aging process, contributing to the appearance of wrinkles and other changes in the appearance of your face. These changes include crow’s feet, pronounced lines between the eyebrows, uneven skin tone, a grayish tone on lighter skin, deep folds and bags under the eyes, wrinkles around the mouth and thinner lips.
The more cigarettes you smoke and the longer you smoke, the more likely you are to develop wrinkles and other age-related changes on your face. The other major factor that you can control that causes skin damage is sun exposure. The combination of unprotected sun exposure and smoking can cause even greater wrinkles.
How Tobacco Accelerates Skin Aging
Nicotine, other chemicals in cigarettes, smoking habits and other factors can contribute to the appearance of wrinkles and premature aging of the skin:
- Nicotine causes blood vessels to narrow, reducing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to skin cells.
- A number of chemicals trigger molecular events that remodel or damage the structures necessary for skin elasticity and health.
- Repeated puckering and puckering of the lips contributes to the formation of wrinkles around the mouth and eyes.
- Heat and non-inhaled smoke can dry out and damage the surface of the skin.
- These same factors can also lead to a decrease in the skin’s ability to repair injuries such as cuts or scrapes, increasing the risk of infection and wound healing.
The damage caused to the skin by tobacco cannot be repaired. But if you quit smoking now, you won’t accelerate the problem and you may be able to prevent the damage from getting worse.
Same risk for passive smokers and those exposed to third-hand smoke
If there are smokers around you, you don’t cut it either. You are exposed to the ravages of tobacco. Even more, if you are not in direct contact with a smoker in the same room as him when he smokes, there is still exposure to third-hand smoke. This smoke that sticks to the coatings of the houses: curtains, carpet, rug, sofa cover and bed.
Third-hand smoke is the residual nicotine and other chemicals left on indoor surfaces by tobacco smoke. People are exposed to these chemicals by touching contaminated surfaces or by breathing the gases given off by these surfaces. These residues are thought to react with common indoor pollutants to create a toxic mixture including carcinogenic compounds, posing a potential health risk to non-smokers, especially children.
Third-hand smoke clings to clothing, furniture, curtains, walls, bedding, carpets, dust, vehicles and other surfaces long after you quit smoking. Third-hand smoke residue builds up on surfaces over time. To remove these residues, hard surfaces, fabrics and upholstery should be regularly cleaned or washed. Third-hand smoke cannot be eliminated by airing out rooms, opening windows, using fans or air conditioners, or limiting smoking to certain areas of the home.
Non-smoking children and adults can be exposed to tobacco-related health problems when they inhale, swallow or touch substances containing third-hand smoke. Infants and young children may be more exposed to third-hand smoke due to their tendency to put objects in their mouths and touch affected surfaces.
Third-hand smoke is a relatively new concept, and researchers continue to study its possible dangers. In the meantime, the only way to protect non-smokers from third-hand smoke is to create a smoke-free environment.