smoker's skinIt’s No Smoking Day this month, so we thought it was a good time to look at what happens to your skin when you smoke and what can be done to repair the damage when you kick the habit.

Although compared to heart disease and lung cancer, damage to the skin may seem superficial, it is often the first sign that smoking is harming the body; and seeing your skin ageing prematurely can be a powerful reason to quit.

We see lots of patients in our aesthetics clinics distressed by prematurely aged skin due to smoking.

Our first message to them is of course to stop smoking. The many harmful chemicals in cigarettes cause vitamin depletion in the skin and reduced blood flow to the dermis – the lower layer of the skin, which means skin is being starved of oxygen. Collagen levels deplete and along with all the sucking, the result is the smoker’s signature hollow cheeks, puckered lips, and prematurely lined skin.

But it is not all bad news. If you do kick the habit the skin will repair itself, up to a point.

Within six weeks of quitting you should notice a difference in your skin as oxygen and anti-oxidant levels increase.

Supplements can help the repair process. Try lycopene, an anti-oxidant found in tomatoes and other red fruit, which has been shown to reverse skin damage caused by the sun. As the process of skin ageing from the sun is similar to that from smoking, lycopene should also help improve smoker’s skin. Omega 3 supplements to promote healing and moisture retention are also recommended.

For further improvements, a strict skincare regime should be adopted.

We recommend products containing Vitamin A and C to aid repair. We stock a number of medical-grade skincare products that will help. Products in the ZO skincare range are particularly effective. And, of course, a good broad spectrum sunscreen should be used at all times to protect the skin from further damage.

If damage is severe a treatment may be required and fortunately there are many excellent treatments to choose from.

Skin regenerating treatments can help reduce lines and wrinkles and improve the tone and texture of skin damaged by smoking. Depending on the severity of the damage, we may recommend collagen inducing treatments such as PRP and Sculptra. Dermapen microneedling is good for collagen induction and improving surface texture of the skin. Or, a peel may be required to resurface the skin, and possibly fillers to correct sunken cheeks.

The right treatments can make a very big difference to the appearance of the skin and repair a lot of the damage caused by smoking.

If you want to know more about repairing smoking damaged skin with products or treatments just give us a ring on 966 860 258 and book a free consultation.