I quit smoking and my skin looks terrible

There are many reasons to quit smoking and one of them is certainly the damage smoking causes to skin. But some quitters report that when they stopped smoking, their skin looked worse! The most common skin-related side effect of quitting is acne.

pimply man smokingSpot the difference

How annoying that smoking can cause breakouts and that quitting could lead to even more! Scientists haven’t yet confirmed why kicking the habit results in spots developing. However, there are three likely causes of the problem.

Firstly, reformed smokers will be feeling stressed and depressed after they quit. Stress and depression are both associated with outbreaks in non-smokers.

Acne that appears after quitting may also be caused by dietary changes. Quitters often turn to fatty and sugary treats for comfort and to replace the hand to mouth aspect of smoking. But those treats are the very foods that are likely to result in breakouts.

Spots may also be the result of the skin improving after quitting. This is because smokers often lack sufficient oil in their skin to experience an acne breakout. When they stop smoking, the oils return and with them the potential for spots to form. That potential is realised when reformed smokers go through the stress of nicotine withdrawal.

Smoking and skin damage

Any consternation regarding acne outbreaks after quitting should be superseded by the shock of discovering just how much cigarettes damage human skin. There are several reasons why smoking causes so many issues and leaves addicts looking much older than their years.

The chemicals in tobacco impact circulation. The result is that those who smoke have less blood flow to their faces. This means that their skin receives less oxygen and fewer nutrients than it otherwise would. This why smokers’ skin can look pale or grey. Unfortunately, the chemicals in cigarette smoke also stain smoker’s fingers yellow.

It is now thought that smoking also reduces collagen production. It is collagen that keeps skin plump and elastic. With less collagen available, smokers’ skin starts to sag and wrinkle, causing them to look significantly older.

Smokers can also develop lines around their mouths. These are the caused by smokers pursing their lips repeatedly to drag on their cigarettes. This motion also results in fine lines appearing around the eyes.

Research has found a link between smoking and acne, particularly in women. Pores become blocked and so blackheads are also common. Any spots and blemishes that develop take longer to heal because smoking can affect the speed at which the body repairs itself.

The news gets worse for smokers

Not only can smoking cause skin problems, it can also exacerbate existing conditions and even trigger them. Those who suffer from psoriasis, discoid lupus erythematosus or hidradenitis suppurativa could find that their conditions are negatively impacted by smoking. Smokers are also at greater risk of contracting skin cancer.

Is skin damage caused by smoking reversible?

Sadly, the skin damage that smoking causes is not reversible but quitting will prevent further damage and so the process of premature aging will slow down. Better still, when smokers kick the habit, their circulation improves, and they often find that their complexions improve as a result.

The bottom line is that smoking causes untold harm to human skin and most of the damage cannot be undone. The sooner smokers ditch their cigarettes the better. Quitting may lead to outbreaks of acne in the short term. However, things usually calm down relatively quickly and further issues will be prevented.

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