As the new year approaches we all start to think about new year’s resolutions and here is a very good reason to quit smoking, or to encourage those around you to kick the habit.
Smoking has long been thought of as a leading cause of premature skin ageing and ageing of the facial features, however there was never a solid study conducted into the facts until now.
Twinsburg, Ohio is the location of the annual Twins Day Festival, and over a period of four years the Department of Plastic Surgery at Case Western Reserve University had hundreds of pairs of identical twins fill out medical history and lifestyle questionnaires and took identical photographs of each twin.
Their purpose was to find identical twins of which one smoked while the other did not to see the visual evidence of the effects of smoking in terms of premature face and skin ageing.
In total, the researchers managed to find 79 pairs of identical twins with opposed smoking histories.
The results were astounding and the photographs taken by the researchers is proof that smoking certainly ages the skin and facial features much more quickly. It also shows that the face ages in a different way to a non-smoker.
The photographs of the smoker of the pair showed deeper more prominent wrinkles around the eyes, mouth and generally across the face, the skin on the face sags more, more signs of skin ageing such as age spots and a more greyish tone as well as larger darker bags under the eyes than the non-smoking twins.
In every case without fail, the non-smoking twin appeared years younger than their smoking sibling, giving strong evidence to suggest that smoking causes faster and more premature ageing.
Take a look at the three sets of photos below, and see if you can spot the smoker, the answers are at the end of this article.
So what’s the science behind why smoking ages the skin?
Smoking Dehydrates The Skin
Twenty years ago, a study was conducted that concluded that smokers have less moisture in the skin than their non-smoking peers.
The study confirmed that smokers had less natural fats within their skin, which is what keeps the moisture in the skin.
As our skin ages, it is more and more vital that the skin retains moisture to keep it elastic and to reduce wrinkles and other ageing signs, in smokers this does not happen and so the face and skin ages faster, making the smoker look older than their non-smoking friends and relatives.
Smoking Inhibits Blood Flow
Blood flow and circulation are important for healthy skin, as it carries fresh oxygenated blood to the skin to keep it younger and healthier for longer.
In smokers, the act of smoking and the intake of the harmful chemicals and toxins from cigarettes hinders blood flow thus reducing circulation and preventing the body and skin from getting essential nutrients to stay healthy and younger.
Therefore, the skin is no longer as supple and doesn’t have the same glow as a non-smoker.
The circulation is inhibited in a chain reaction starting with the build up of tar in the blood vessels and arteries within the body, and in the end the body as to work much harder to get the blood around it due to narrowed veins and arteries.
The reduced blood flow prevents the smoker from having that glowing, flushed look to their skin and causes the skin to look more yellowy or greyish in tone.
Make It A New Year’s Resolution
There literally are no benefits to smoking whatsoever.
Even the ‘stress reduction’ isn’t actually true, the fact that you are using a chemical or substance to temporarily reduce stress just causes peaks and troughs in stress levels and in the end, the craving for nicotine actually CAUSES the stress in the first place.
So what natural ways are there to help you (or your loved ones) quit smoking?
Well, of course the best remedy is good old fashioned will power, however some find it very difficult using this alone.
There are some herbal remedies that have been used for many years to help fight the urge to smoke, including lobelia and motherwort. In fact, just eating healthily can really help to fight the urge as the better you start to feel, the less you will want to spoil it by taking in those nasty toxins.
It helps to stop drinking alcohol too, as for many people this is when they fancy that ‘one’ cigarette, so for the first month at least, avoid those kinds of situations, like going to pubs and so on if you feel that your will power won’t be enough initially.
ANSWERS TO THE PHOTOS
- Photo 1 – The twin on the left is the smoker.
- Photo 2 – The twin on the right is the smoker.
- Photo 3 – The twin on the right is the smoker.