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How Smoking Affects Your Skin

Here in our Cheshire skin clinic, our dermatologists help with a myriad of body and skin concerns, from ageing, to hair loss, to pigmentation. Part of our approach to our patients’ care is to look into health and lifestyle factors that may be influencing the tone, texture and overall appearance of your skin – or potentially aggravating an existing skin condition. In this post, we’ll talk through one lifestyle habit, smoking, and how it may affect your skin. 

1. Ageing 

It’s well-known that smoking ages your skin, mostly through the development of lines and wrinkles. That’s because it affects collagen production, the protein responsible for keeping our skin firm and supple. Without it, our skin wrinkles. While age can also have an effect on collagen production, it’s been found that smoking speeds up this process.

Our most effective treatments for wrinkles include dermal fillers, which plump, sculpt and fill lines for a smooth, hydrated appearance. 

2. Dryness

Cigarette smoke contains hundreds of chemicals and unstable molecules, called free radicals. These can destroy the hyaluronic acid inside skin, which gives it that dewy, hydrated appearance. The result is dry, cracked skin that may even feel sore. 

One of the effects of dermal fillers is to introduce moisture into the skin – after all, they contain hydrating hyaluronic acid. But our dermatologists can also advise on an appropriate skincare routine, to get your skin looking and feeling its absolute best. 

3. Skin problems

Smoking likely compounds a number of skin conditions, but two that are particularly noted are psoriasis and acne. 

Psoriasis is a skin problem characterised by ‘silvery scales’, which sit on top of red, crusty patches of skin. The NHS estimates around 2% of the population are affected by it, and while there may be periods of remission, it’s a chronic condition that may last your lifetime. It’s caused by a build-up of skin cells. 

Acne is spotty skin caused by excess oil production. There are different types of spots, but many become sore, itchy or inflamed. Nearly all adults are affected by acne at some point in their lifetime, usually on the face, back or chest. 

While psoriasis isn’t always linked to smoking, research has shown that it can increase the risk of it developing, possibly because some of the chemicals in smoke lead to inflammation. And in the case of acne, it’s thought that nicotine may exacerbate oil production in skin. 

Our dermatologists can offer a range of acne and psoriasis treatments, from chemical peels to microneedling.  

4. Dullness

Smokers can often appear to have an ashy complexion, which may be because cigarette smoke inhibits blood flow and deprives cells of nutrients and oxygen. Those free radicals we mentioned can also be damaging, and smokers may have lower levels of the antioxidants that combat these. In addition, levels of vitamin A – which helps with cell growth – is reduced through smoking. 

As well as ensuring you get plenty of skin-boosting vitamins and minerals in your diet, we can help refresh and rejuvenate skin through chemical peels and microneedling, which enhance skin radiance. 

5. Wound healing

Smokers deprive their bodies of oxygen, which is essential for cell repair and wound healing. It’s possible this could be linked to conditions such as scarring, including acne scarring. 

Our dermatologists can help treat acne scarring with microneedling and chemical peel treatments.

Book today

Get to know Dr Nicole and how she can help with your skin, whether dermal fillers treatment or something else. Get in touch with our Cheshire skin clinic here and book in for a skin assessment with our dermatologists today.