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How does cigarette smoking affect facial skin?

Cigarette smoking causes premature wrinkling of the skin.  It deprives the skin of oxygen and nutrients and damages the collagen and elastin of the skin.  The more cigarettes you smoke and the longer you smoke, the more the skin will wrinkle.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)
If you've ever seen the face of an older, long-term smoker, you probably already know how smoking affects the skin. A smoker usually has the signature crow's feet, deep creases and tons of little lines around the mouth. Tobacco smoke compromises the production of collagen, elastin, and skin proteins, which make skin strong and elastic. Without the support of these skin components, the skin degrades faster and more severely. Tobacco smoke also produces reactive oxygen species (ROS) chemicals that accelerate skin aging. Nicotine may also be a culprit, because it constricts blood vessels. Constricted blood vessels block nutrients in the blood from reaching skin cells, causing cells to wither and die.
Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner
Cigarette smoking ages facial skin. Nicotine in cigarettes restricts blood flow to your skin, so less oxygen and nutrients can get in, causing your skin to become dry, pale and wrinkled. The toxins in cigarette smoke also break down the elasticity of the skin which causes sagging. The more cigarettes you smoke the more you damage your skin.
Ximena Jimenez
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist
Recent studies show that smokers have lower plasma concentration of antioxidants than smokers. It is known that antioxidants such as Vitamin A, C and E help protect our skin from the damage caused by aging, sun or smoking. Smokers have poor diets; low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and also have greater utilization of antioxidants to combat the damage cause by smoking.
Dr. Joshua A. Zeichner, MD
Dermatologist (Skin Specialist)

Cigarette smoking has been shown to be detrimental to the skin and a cause of premature aging, especially in women. Besides the direct harmful effects of the cigarettes on our bodies, the constant act of pursing the lips to inhale cigarette smokes leads to wrinkling around the mouth. Any repetitive action, like what is done when smoking cigarettes can lead to wrinkling. Often, cigarette smokers end up with exaggerated lines and wrinkles around the mouth. The appearance of these can be improved with cosmetic prodedures including lasers, botulinum toxin, and fillers, but the best treatment is avoidance and prevention!

Dr. Susan G. Bershad, MD
Dermatologist (Skin Specialist)
In addition to the harm caused to a smoker's skin, second-hand smoke is detrimental to children growing up around a smoker. Several forms of allergic reactions in children, including skin rashes called eczema or atopic dermatitis, as well as respiratory problems like seasonal allergies and asthma, can be triggered by harmful particles released into the air by cigarette smoke.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.