Introduction

The smoking of cigarettes has become a worldwide phenomenon for many decades now. Earliest archaeological engravings trace the previous forms of tobacco smoking to the Aztec and Maya of Central America and Mexico during the 9th century, though its history probably extends far behind this. Today, smoking is a norm in virtually every region of the world despite its many negative effects, which includes the ageing and wrinkling of skin.

Wrinkling Effects of Smoking

Many biochemical reactions occur in the skin when cigarette smoke is inhaled. Some of these alter the normal operation of bodily functions and cause skin to wrinkle, sag, and age quicker. For example, nicotine in cigarettes causes vasoconstriction (a narrowing of blood vessels) in the outer skin, which reduces the free flow of blood, depriving the skin of adequate oxygen and vital nutrients like vitamin A. Long-term repetition of this gradually leads to formation of visible wrinkles. Secondly, there are over 4,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke and many of them damage elastin and collagen (fibres which maintain skin elasticity and strength). Deterioration of these fibres brings about sagging and wrinkling. One last result of smoking is “crow’s feet”, which is a formation of wrinkles on the outer edge or corner of the eyes. The continual contact of a smoker’s face with the smoke from cigarettes (especially if smokers squint their eyes to prevent smoke from getting in) will eventually cause wrinkles to develop just outside the eyes, or on other parts of the face.

Prevention and Reversal by Quitting

Knowing the extent of skin damage that smoking causes, it is easy to see that immediate cessation will prevent wrinkles in smokers that don’t already have them. For those who have already developed wrinkles, cessation will prevent further developments and actually give the skin a chance to begin to repair itself and reverse the damage done. Research and clinical studies have shown that smokers who have stopped for nine months or more have visibly less wrinkled skin. The body is naturally programmed to fix itself, and absence of cigarette toxins will allow it to do its job. In addition, this prevention or reversal can be boosted by adjusting your diet to include skin-promoting nutrients and phytocompounds like zinc, vitamins C and E, aloe, green tea, blueberry, and carotenoids.

Tips for Quitting

Depending on the individual smoker’s physical, mental, and emotional disposition, options include quitting cold turkey, Nicotine Replacement Therapy, e-cigarettes, or medicines like varenicline and bupropion. Several necessary things must be kept in mind and practised to ensure success and bring back rejuvenation to your body and skin.

-Write down solid reasons why you want to quit and keep them in mind always.

-Tell everyone who knows you smoke that you’re quitting.

-Dispose of all paraphernalia like lighters and ashtrays.

-Be aware of situations and people that can tempt or trigger a craving to smoke.

-If you fail, don’t give up but rather remind yourself of your original reason for quitting and re-commit to the plan.