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Cigarette smoking can cause a wide variety of health complications: heart problems, cancers, etc. And just recently, researchers prove that smoking cigarettes had much more effects than that: it could contribute to skin damage.

Cigarette smoking is no longer a habit. Nowadays, it has become an addiction, and possibly one of the strongest ones that there is on this earth. In addition to predisposing the smoker to cardiovascular diseases (such as hypertension, stroke and coronary artery disease that cause heart attacks), it also causes another type of damage, much more significant for beauty-conscious people: skin damage. Yes, a smoker’s skin suffers much more damage than the skin of a non-smoker.

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The More You Smoke, The Older Your Skin Gets

The most common skin damage reported as a result of cigarette smoking is premature skin aging. In fact, several types of studies – coupled with real life experiences – have proven that smokers’ skin tends to age faster. A study performed on 45 sets of identical twins revealed that when looking at pictures of twins in an attempt to find out which one of them is the smoker, the smoker-twin appeared older in more than half of the cases (57%, to be more specific). Smokers were seen as having more and deeper wrinkles compared to their non-smoking counterparts; and those wrinkles were much more pronounced in the upper eyelids and the jowls. Additionally, the study showed that the longer the subject had been smoking, the more wrinkles appeared, and in different other parts of the face (around the lips, under the eyes, etc.). This study was conducted by Case Western Reserve University and the University Hospitals of Cleveland; in collaboration with three qualified judges who were responsible for analyzing the photographs of the twins enrolled in the study.

The Smoker’s Facies

In case you were wondering why it was (or it is) so easy for the “experts” to differentiate a smoker from a non-smoker, the answer is, there is a “smoker’s facies”. A facies is a set of typical facial features that are common to a chosen group of people. And in the case of smokers, there are facial traits that we look at that indeed confirm what we already suspect.

A person’s skin tone could be the first clue that he/she is smoking. Smokers tend to have a pale or uneven skin tone, which is due to the fact that the skin is being deprived of oxygen. However, in younger people, this might not be as obvious because of all the hormonal changes that take place at puberty and that may correct the lack of oxygen supply to the skin. Nonetheless, as the person ages, the abnormal skin tone becomes more and more obvious. Not only do the skin color and tone change, but its elasticity also becomes affected, which contributes to the wrinkling of the skin in specific areas (forehead, under the eyes, crow’s feet eye wrinkles, cheeks, etc.). There is also the typical “smokers’ pucker”, which is – simply put – the wrinkled lines around the lips of chronic smokers. In smokers, you can also notice the formation of blotches of dark skin on the face (and the hands), called age spots. Though age spots can occur in anyone going through normal aging, they are generally seen much earlier in chronic smokers. Teeth falling and stained fingers are also commonly observed in smokers. 

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