Smoking and vaping are not only detrimental to one’s overall health but also have profound negative impacts on physical appearance. Although it is well known that these activities are the leading causes of various ailments, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), their effect on the deterioration of physical appearance should not be overlooked. According to the Pan American Health Organization, tobacco affects one’s looks almost immediately after beginning smoking. From dental issues like yellowing teeth and excess plaque to various skin issues ranging from premature aging to the development of different dermal sensitivities. With the skin being one of the most affected body parts in terms of appearance, below is a closer look at how it is impacted and ways to stop it.

How they affect the skin

One of the most immediate and noticeable effects of smoking and vaping on the skin is premature aging. Both activities can lead to the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin, which are crucial proteins that give skin its firmness and elasticity. The action of regularly pursing lips to take a drag also encourages the formation of wrinkling. As a result, smokers and vapers develop fine lines at an earlier age than non-smokers. Furthermore, these activities lead to a dull complexion and uneven skin tone. The toxins in smoking products can cause a decrease in blood flow to the skin, leading to a lack of oxygen and nutrients reaching the surface. This can result in a sallow, lackluster appearance, and hyperpigmentation issues.

Beyond the visible effects, smoking and vaping can also hinder the skin’s ability to heal and repair itself as blood flow is impaired. As a result, these activities compromise the skin’s natural barrier, making it more susceptible to damage from environmental factors such as UV rays and pollution. This can lead to an increased risk of sunburn, skin cancer, and other ailments.

Smoking and Vaping Affect Your Skin: What to Do About It

Ways to stop negative skin effects

Smokeless alternatives

One way to eliminate the risk that smoking causes to skin health is by switching to smoke- and tobacco-free alternatives. From pouches to lozenges, many oral alternatives avoid exposing the skin to any more irritants. Nicotine pouches are small, pre-portioned products containing nicotine. They come in different flavors that can replicate the experience vape juices offer. Among the most popular flavors are varieties of mints. To illustrate, ZYN Wintergreen is infused with menthol and sprinkled with subtle hints of sweetness, while Rogue Peppermint comes with an ice-cool mouthfeel and its mint candy taste. For more distinctive flavors, there are coffee nicotine pouches such as On!’s Coffee, which imitates the taste of creamy, fresh coffee. Apart from this, there is also LUCY’s Espresso, which has a delightfully rich java flavor. These flavored pouches also have the added benefit of improving cessation efforts, which can mean long-term skin healing.

Similarly, nicotine lozenges are an effective cigarette alternative. They also come in different strengths, including mini lozenges that offer between 2mg to 4mg of nicotine for different individuals. Lozenges also come in various flavors, such as refreshing mints like Wintergreen and Peppermint by Rogue and slightly more unconventional flavors like Crema by Revel. This alternative also delivers nicotine in a controlled manner, which minimizes vasoconstriction and provides more stable blood flow to the skin, ultimately improving the dryness and dullness caused by smoking.

Restorative skincare products

Preventive measures like using restorative skincare products can significantly slow down the aging process caused by smoking and vaping. Antioxidants like vitamins C and E, coenzyme Q10, and ferulic acid help neutralize harmful free radicals responsible for premature aging. Moreover, retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, assists in stimulating collagen production to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Retinol can be found in products such as the SkinCeuticals Retinol Cream and the Verso Super Elixir. A key benefit of these retinol products is their ability to increase cell turnover, meaning that they can help remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin to reveal fresh, new cells underneath. This improves the overall radiance and vibrancy of the skin that may have been dulled by smoking.

In addition, skincare products infused with hyaluronic acid have emerged as a solution to dry skin issues caused by smoking and vaping. While hyaluronic acid is a naturally-occurring substance in the skin, including it in skincare products provides multiple benefits. Its hydrating properties replenish the skin’s moisture levels, resulting in a plumper, more supple complexion. By restoring the skin’s natural moisture barrier, hyaluronic acid helps prevent water loss and strengthens its resilience against external damaging factors like cigarette smoke.

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