Saturday, March 30, 2013

Don't Smoke - It Hurts

Don't Smoke - It Hurts Your Skin In More Ways Than One!

It’s a fact!  Smoking nicotine jeopardizes your skin health in so many ways.  It causes delayed wound healing and premature skin aging.  It also increases your risk of developing psoriasis, vascular diseases, and skin and oral cancer.  Worse, these conditions are harder to treat among smokers.  Do you smoke?  Maybe this is going to motivate you to quit now.
Nicotine in cigarettes speeds up the skin’s aging process by constriction of the blood vessels which results in a decreased blood supply to the skin.  With impaired blood supply, the skin does not receive enough oxygen and nutrients including Vitamin A, its collagen production is diminished, its elastic fibres do not stretch and recoil as effectively, and new blood vessels fail to grow.  Vitamin A is essential for skin health and antioxidant activity.  Collagen is a protein that gives skin its structure and its appearance of youth and smoothness.  The end result is premature wrinkling and sagging of the skin from the face to the other areas of your body that only progress the longer and the more you smoke.  This process may also be responsible for vascular disease that involves delayed wound healing, wound infections and tissue death, formation of blood clots in the deep veins beneath the skin, and Raynaud’s phenomenon, a condition in which cold temperatures or strong emotions cause blood vessel spasms that obstruct blood flow to the fingers, toes, and sometimes the ears and nose, thereby leading to a discoloration of these areas and brittling of the nails.     

Smoking may also increase your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma, a nonmelanoma skin cancer.  Certain types of squamous cell carcinoma may grow slowly but they may also be difficult to treat.  Oral cancer, a type of squamous cell carcinoma, tends to spread quickly and is usually not detected until it has already advanced in stage.

Nicotine addiction is also linked to the development of other skin conditions like psoriasis and cutaneous lupus erythematosus most likely due to its effects on the immune system which may be mistakenly activating a reaction in the skin cells thereby leading to their rapid growth cycle.    

Smoking obviously does not only cause lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease all of which could either be a slow or a fast killer but it also puts you at risk for so many other dreadful health conditions.  Quitting, although difficult, is the only option if you are serious about improving your health and decreasing your risks of the above problems and even premature death.  Choose health.  It’s a lot more enjoyable than living with a disease that could otherwise be preventable.  

Need help quitting?  These resources may be able to help (USA):

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