Beauty Gone Up In Smoke

I Just Want To Look Good

In today's world, looking young, as well as feeling young, is something we hear about and see paraded before us in all forms of media. There are myriad methods to enhance our appearance, sculpt our bodies and lessen the visual effects of the years upon our lives. Perhaps the one area women focus on more intently that any other is aging skin. You may have a knock-out figure, but if your face is lined and beginning to look like a roadmap, then the net effect is less than desired.

It's a proven fact: Cigarette smoking ages skin faster than anything other than sun damage. There really is no kind or gentle way to say it. If you want to look younger (and maintain your health), avoid wrinkles and keep your skin healthy, then don't smoke. For smokers, the skin aging process begins long before it does in non-smokers, with lines and wrinkles appearing when the smoker is in their 30's. To try and erase the lines on your face while continuing to smoke can prove to be futile.

Smoking-Not An Equal Opportunity Venture

With all of the information available these days about smoking, one would think that the effects are equal when it comes to the sexes, but it is not true. Many years of research have provided information confirming that nicotine is more addictive to women and that women have a far more difficult time quitting than men. The risk for heart attacks, strokes and lung cancer is double for women smokers and three times the number of women who smoke die from lung cancer than from breast cancer. Another effect of smoking is early menopause and the aging effect on the face is greater and happens sooner in women than in men.

Smoker's Face-What Is That?

Smokers' face, a state of complexion that is gray, pale and wrinkled, has been the subject of research since it was first identified as an effect of smoking back in 1965. It has been determined that smoking adds between 10 to 20 years to your natural age. That's not a very desirable effect.

Smoking accelerates skin damage by increasing free-radical activity in the body. These unstable and powerful molecules damage DNA causing the cells in the body to act erratically which in turn produces responses that cause aging skin. Free radical damage that is most common and serious includes the prevention of oxygen and nutrients feeding the skin due to constriction of blood flow and the breakdown of collagen supply to the skin's structure by overproduction of a damaging enzyme. Collagen is the natural substance which creates elasticity in the skin. Although it does decrease with age, smoking accelerates the process appreciably.

More Free-Radical Destruction

Vitamin A, which provides protection from skin damage, is significantly reduced by smoking and that great antioxidant, Vitamin C, is hindered from absorbing. Add the squinting caused by smoke getting into the eyes and puckering lip lines from sucking on a cigarette, and you now have the right combination for smoker's face.

A woman who smokes can look forward to facing an uphill battle for beauty with the loss of vitality and glowing skin that happens as a result of cigarette smoking.