Everyone knows that smoking greatly increases the risk of getting lung cancer, but did you know that it harms your skin as well? It’s true. Smoking and alcohol are two major threats to the skin besides the sun’s infamous UV rays. Tobacco and other related chemicals are regarded as skin aging accelerators and one of the main causes of aging skin. The skin can show signs of smoking in less than 10 years. This may sound like a long time, but people usually start smoking at age 15 or 16. So, by your mid-20s your skin could be permanently affected.
Smoking leads to the narrowing of our blood vessels throughout our body, including all those that supply nutrients and oxygen to the skin’s outermost layers. Thus, smoking leads to the starvation of Vitamin A and other skin nutrients that act as immunity boosters and vital sources of oxygen.
Alcohol has very similar effects. Excessive drinking also harms the body and deteriorates the Vitamin A supply. Alcohol also makes the skin more vulnerable to bacteria and infections as it destroys the human defense system.
Vitamin A helps in generating new skin cells and replacing the dead cells. This vitamin also boosts the collagen production temporarily and can contribute to the youthful appearance of the skin.
A deficiency in oxygen and other essential nutrients allows the development of free radicals which are very harmful for the skin. These free radicals can slowly cause damage to the collagen and elastin contents which are the primary components of healthy and firm skin. This results in the appearance of fine lines and premature wrinkles.
While inhaling smoke, one has to repeatedly purse the lips. This can lead to wrinkles around the mouth as well. The heat of a burning cigarette or cigar is also very harmful for the skin.
Smoking has adverse effects on our nerve endings which can cause sensitivity and dryness. This results in dehydration. Eventually, this can be one of the most common wrinkle causes.
Alcohol, on the other hand, dehydrates the skin. It will slowly lose firmness, plumpness and its dewy appearance. Alcohol is a diuretic and a vasodilator. Alcohol consumption leads to the opening of our blood vessels which makes the face puffier and causes dark circles under the eyes. Too much drinking can cause diversion of the blood flow. This results in the outflow of oxygen and essential nutrients from our skin into our fundamental organs causing improper blood circulation.
Drinking has an adverse effect on the liver as well, which causes sallowness in the face. The liver is overstressed and fails to perform its duties of detoxification. Alcohol also encourages the development of scar tissues or “bad collagen” in the skin and liver.
There are better ways of taking care of your skin and the first step would be to avoid smoking and alcohol. Here are a few tips to keep your skin healthy:
• Diet and Nourishment: Proper diet is very important for healthy skin. Eat a balanced diet containing all the basic ingredients. Have adequate seed foods such as fruits and green vegetables. Organic food is also a good option as these foods are rich in additional nutrients.
• Adequate water: Water is very essential for the human body as it helps in releasing toxins. It also maintains the suppleness and elasticity of the skin.
• Quit smoking and alcohol: The faster you do that, the better for you. Obviously.
• Cleansing: Clean your skin regularly. This is important for both males and females. You also need to tone your skin and then moisturize it well.
• SPF: Use sunscreen with proper Sun Protection Factor. Try to use at least a SPF 15 when going out in the sun. You can opt for higher numbers as well.
• Proper Rest: Your body and your skin need rest. Remember, your skin is the largest organ of your body and it also needs to relax. Ample rest can give you fresh and glowing skin. Too much stress and anxiety puts everything at risk. Try to exercise and meditate in order to prevent unwanted stress.