The Long Term Effects of Smoking on Your Appearance
As if it did not need saying - smoking is bad for your health! As much as this is common knowledge, many are less aware of the more subtle effects of long term smoking.
It’s not always clear by looking at someone that they have smoked all their life, but our resources of predictive imagery certainly indicate that people who smoke look a lot older than people who do not. While everyone is predisposed to a different level and severity of aging, it's tough to deny that the average smoker will look older than the average non-smoker.
Is it provable? Yes.
Long Term Smoking Leads to Premature Facial Wrinkles
Smoking has been proven to increase the risk of premature development of facial wrinkles. This is said to be caused by the toxicity of cigarettes leading to slack skin and premature wrinkling. More specifically, wrinkles are more likely to occur in smokers on their cheeks, lips, and forehead. Smokers are also at higher risk of crow’s feet wrinkles, which consists of wrinkling in the corners of the eyes.
The referenced study factored 17 separate peer-reviewed journal entries from 1965 to 2008 that identified the correlation between wrinkle development and smoking. The overall conclusion was that there is a direct relation between the two and that smoking would result in a higher chance of premature development of facial wrinkles.
The conclusion suggests that there is no way to definitively gauge the extent of wrinkle development caused by smoking. Instead, smoking cessation experts should convey this cosmetic effect as being an enhanced risk for smokers.
Why Do These Wrinkles Develop?
These wrinkles are said to occur as a result of the toxins in cigarettes constricting vessels by effectively lowering circulation. This also occurs in the small blood vessels that are found at the uppermost skin layer. As the body can no longer send nutrients to these cells, the body will not be able to effectively create collagen. As collagen is responsible for the production of new (healthy) skin, the body will be on the path to quicker aging.
Smokers are known to have higher levels of matrix metalloproteinase 1, which is an enzyme. This particular enzyme is responsible for breaking down collagen. Thus, a smoker will not only be inefficiently producing new skin but they will be destroying any chances of efficient production as well.
These interferences in the body’s natural production of healthy new skin prevent the body from aging naturally. This ultimately means that smoking causes premature development of wrinkles in the face. The same skin-related complications are also to blame for sagging and dryness in the skin.
Greater Risk of Psoriasis
A recent study proved that smoking leads to a greater risk of psoriasis. While this risk is not said to be substantial enough to guarantee a large number of smokers end up with this condition, it is still significant and noteworthy.
The study found that smokers are approximately 1.9 times more likely to develop psoriasis than non-smokers. It also shows that previous smokers are 1.4 times more likely to develop psoriasis than non-smokers. It also notes that the increased risk gradually declines the longer the previous smoker lives as a non-smoker.
There is a wide range of oral problems that have been proven to occur or to be influenced as a result of long term smoking including:
- Bad breath
- Tooth discoloration
- Inflammation of the salivary gland openings on the roof of the mouth
- Increased build up of plaque and tartar on the teeth
- Increased loss of bone within the jaw
- Increased risk of leukoplakia, white patches inside the mouth
- Increased risk of developing gum disease, a leading cause of tooth loss
- Delayed healing process following tooth extraction, periodontal treatment, or oral surgery
- Lower success rate of dental implant procedures
- Increased risk of developing oral cancer
There were numerous studies conducted that lead to the conclusion that smoking influences tooth loss. In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry notes that in a 10-year time frame, men lose 2.9 teeth and women lose 1.5 teeth because of smoking.