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World No-Tobacco Day 2023: 5 Hazardous Ways Smoking Damages Your Skin

World No Tobacco Day 2023: Smoking releases more than hundreds of chemicals that cause severe complications inside. While lung problems, cancer is something we know about, it also seriously damages the skin.

No Tobacco Day 2023: 5 Ways Smoking Harms Skin Health (Freepik)

Advertisement We see almost every day on TV between breaks, or before a movie starts in theaters, there’s always a PSA (Public Service Announcement) here about how tobacco use is bad for your health. Common knowledge, right? However, people continue to smoke and use tobacco, which can lead to several serious health complications, including cancer. What many people probably do not know (a lot) is that smoking does not affect the respiratory system and lungs, but also has dangerous effects on a person’s skin. Skin health is also affected when a person smokes and uses tobacco.

Every year, May 31 is celebrated as World No Tobacco Day. It is no wonder why this day is celebrated, it is about raising awareness about its harmful effects and how one can try to stop this harmful habit. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this year’s motto is “We need food, not tobacco”. In addition, he stated that “the 2023 global campaign aims to raise awareness of alternative crop production and marketing opportunities for tobacco farmers and encourage them to grow sustainable and nutritious crops. It will also aim to expose the tobacco industry’s efforts to interfere with attempts to replace tobacco growing with sustainable crops, thus contributing to the global food crisis.”

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World No Tobacco Day: How does it affect the skin?

Tobacco use also harms skin health and can lead to further health problems. Speaking exclusively to India.com, Dr. RK Chopra, Senior Chest Medicine Consultant, Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune, shared about smoking and its dangerous effects on the skin. He said: “Tobacco smoke, in addition to having nicotine, a highly addictive chemical, contains many harmful substances that are toxic to cells in the skin, respiratory tract and virtually other organs in the human body. The body absorbs nicotine through the skin, the respiratory tract, and the intestinal mucosa. Keratinocytes are specialized cells that form the skin barrier and contribute to important immune functions. Nicotine leads to apoptosis (cell death) in these cells, damages blood vessels in the skin, and reduces blood flow.”

Additionally, nicotine alters the structure of skin fibroblasts that contain collagen protein, important for skin firmness, wound healing, and also alters the body’s immune response.

There are many harmful effects of smoking on the skin and the rest of the body. Quitting smoking can reverse or greatly reduce adverse effects on the appearance of the skin such as skin aging, skin pigmentation, alopecia, and skin cancer.

5 Ways Smoking Affects Your Skin

In a 2017 study on smoking and appearance, conducted by Andrew L Skinner of the University of Bristol, UK, the smoking status among 590 identical twins stood out. According to the study, one of the twins who smoked more was easily identifiable, while the twin who didn’t smoke had a fresher, brighter appearance. Therefore, smoking can negatively affect facial appearance and cause severe damage to skin health.

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  1. Premature aging of the skin: Smoking affects collagen and elastin, which keep skin plump and firm. Lu Yanget al in 2021, in a published review, found lower circulating levels of vitamin D in current smokers compared to non-smokers. Vitamin D plays a role in maintaining the skin’s barrier and helps repair tissue.
  2. Wrinkles: Smoking is an independent risk factor for the formation of wrinkles and the skin of the eyelids. This is also the result of the breakdown of skin collagen that sags the skin.
  3. Skin pigmentation: Due to the increase in melanocytes in the skin, there is more production of melanin which causes pigmentation in the skin. If prolonged, it can turn into age spots and dark spots.
  4. Flabby skin: The chemicals in cigarette smoke increase transepidermal water loss and the degradation of collagen and elastin fibers, causing the skin to sag and droop.
  5. Pale skin: Smokers can also have dull, pale and uneven skin due to reduced blood supply to the skin, starving it of oxygen and nutrients. There is a decrease in nutrients and antioxidants that depletes the natural skin.

When we smoke, there are hundreds of chemicals that are released into our bodies. they further affect skin cells, the respiratory tract and complicate long-term health. Smoking is not limited to physical health, it eventually affects mental health as well.

Published Date: May 31, 2023 9:37 AM IST

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