Smoking and skin. Do you need to quit smoking urgently?

Everyone, without exception, has heard about the negative impact of smoking on health. This passion is still the main cause of a whole “bouquet” of deadly diseases that could be avoided. However, especially among heavy smokers, there is a collective opinion about the neutral and perhaps even positive effect of smoking, in particular for some skin problems. In this article, we will try to understand how tobacco use affects the skin and its appendages – hair and nails, as well as how smoking changes the course of dermatological diseases.

Pimples around the mouth

It has long been proven that tobacco smoke and nicotine tar can cause disruption of internal systems. But even knowing this does not stop people from smoking another cigarette. And if you can temporarily close your eyes to the state of internal organs, then the skin is a vivid reminder of the dangers of nicotine. Cellulite, small pimples around the mouth, loss of skin elasticity – these are just a few of the problems that can appear from cigarettes.

Skin problems faced by smokers

Every cigarette you smoke increases your risk of acne and other skin problems. When looking in the mirror, smokers may notice the following changes:

Uneven tone. Since smoking can impair blood circulation, the skin does not receive enough oxygen and the nutrients it needs. Because of this, the face looks dull, its shade is uneven. Due to vasoconstriction, circulatory disorders, the skin of the face often acquires a yellow color. However, yellowing can also be observed on the fingers and nails.
Mimic wrinkles. People who smoke often squint to keep tobacco smoke out of their eyes. The constant activity of facial muscles can lead to the formation of crow’s feet, wrinkles in the area of ​​the nasolabial fold.

Skin ptosis. In smokers, the synthesis of collagen and elastin is disrupted, so the skin quickly loses its elasticity and firmness. Due to smoking, the depth of wrinkles increases, soft tissues sag.

Hyperpigmentation. The skin of smokers is more exposed to ultraviolet radiation. Therefore, due to a bad habit, age spots may appear.

Acne around the mouth (more common in women)68. Smokers often develop non-inflammatory acne. Tobacco smoke, settling on the face, clogs the pores, this leads to the formation of open and closed comedones. They can resolve on their own within a few days or degenerate into inflammatory acne on the face.

Vascular network. Under the influence of nicotine, the vessels narrow all the time, circulatory disorders occur, they receive less of the necessary nutrients, this leads to the appearance of a visible mesh on the face.

Bruises under the eyes. Usually, blueness under the eyes is the result of improper functioning of the cardiovascular system or regular lack of sleep. Since smoking causes vasoconstriction, the heart has to function many times more. This leads to an increase in pressure, creating tension in the vascular walls, which can provoke the appearance of dark circles under the eyes.

And smoking often causes such problems as dry skin. Oxygen starvation leads to a rapid loss of moisture, which makes the first signs of aging more noticeable.

Why do pimples appear from smoking cigarettes?

In the course of research, it was found that nicotine and other components of cigarette smoke lead to impaired microcirculation, vasoconstriction and hypoxia (oxygen starvation). It also promotes the activation of chemotaxis (motor response to a chemical stimulus) of lymphocytes and neutrophils.68

Oxidative damage from smoke also affects sebum production. Scientists have found that sebum secretion in smokers is increased by 2-3 times. In addition, in fact, smoking leads to a change in its composition. Acne from cigarettes on the face appears because tobacco smoke causes an increase in oxidative reactions, a decrease in the level of α-tocopherol (vitamin E) in plasma. Due to the reduction in the amount of α-tocopherol, the degree of lipid peroxidation of the sebaceous glands increases, which plays an important role in the development of acne.68

Vitamin E is one of the main antioxidants that is carried by sebum to the skin to maintain low levels of sebaceous lipid peroxidation products. Particularly important among peroxide lipids is squalene, which is related to sebum. But its peroxides have a hyperproliferative effect on keratinocytes, therefore they are comedogenic.