how smoking impacts the skin

November 4, 2014

Smoking is one of the most controllable causes of disease and death today. It is also a major contributor to many skin conditions and complications, such as skin discoloration, breakdown of collagen and elastin, deep wrinkling, skin aging, poor wound healing and abnormal skin growths.

Our skin relies on oxygen in order to function properly. Air is pulled into our lungs, travels down to the smallest air sacs in the lungs, and is then carried throughout the body via the tiny and intricate network of capillaries. Without sufficient oxygen, the body and the skin suffer.

Nicotine in cigarette smoke causes vasoconstriction or blood vessel contraction, which limits the actual size of the vessel. Carbon monoxide in cigarettes bonds with oxygen, greatly reducing the amount available to the body. This combination of nicotine and carbon monoxide not only limits the size of the vessel, but also the amount of oxygen flowing through them.

some not so fun facts

  • Just one cigarette restricts blood flow for up to 90 minutes.
  • The body produces more blood vessels to compensate for the oxygen restriction due to smoking.
  • De-oxygenated skin often exhibits a grey or yellow tone.
  • It only takes 15-20 seconds for cigarette smoke to impact each part of the body.
  • Blood circulation is significantly decreased due to the vasoconstrictive nature of nicotine.

The sooner a smoker decides to quit, the sooner the vital organs and the skin start to heal. However, the breakdown of the dermal layers is not easily recovered by simply putting out the cigarette. Rebuilding of collagen, repairing elastin and improving the overall function of the dermis must be instigated.

Regular chemical peels will improve not only the production of collagen, but will also improve the tone and texture of the skin. Daily use of collagen-building topical products is also a vital component to reversing the signs of aging due to smoking. Integrating ingredients like vitamin C during the morning and retinoids at night, along with advanced peptides and epidermal growth factor, will prolong the benefits gained from monthly chemical peels.

The effects of cigarettes reach nearly every organ of the body, including the skin. The sooner a smoker puts down the cigarettes, the sooner the body will begin healing from the damage of the nicotine and various chemicals contained within. The skin, however, typically requires more attention. With monthly chemical peels and a comprehensive collagen-building daily care regimen, the skin can begin the recovery process.


smoking and the skin

October 26, 2012

We are now approaching the end of October, and while the month of November brings to mind fall leaves, pumpkins and giving thanks, it also marks the American Cancer Society’s annual Great American Smokeout.  November 15 is the date for this year’s 37th Great American Smokeout, reminding smokers to either mark this day as a time to quit smoking permanently or to refrain from smoking for just this one day.

Interestingly enough, most people begin to smoke as teenagers, thinking that it will make them appear older.  This thought couldn’t be farther from the truth!  In fact, smoking does exactly that!

Smoking is one of the most controllable causes of disease and death today.  It is known for directly contributing to heart and lung disease, but the damaging effects to the skin are less known and often ignored.  Smoking can cause poor wound-healing, collagen degradation, abnormal skin growths, oral cancers, deep wrinkling and premature skin aging, as well as a dull, sallow appearance.

Healthy skin function requires oxygen, and smoking causes a restriction of oxygen flow to the skin cells.  One cigarette causes vasoconstriction for up to 90 minutes.  Additionally, the carbon monoxide in cigarettes binds with oxygen and prevents it from reaching the skin cells.  Smoking also causes an increase in the enzyme responsible for breaking down collagen.  This accelerated degradation of collagen in conjunction with the repeated lip-pursing and eye-squinting during inhalation also contributes to increased severity of wrinkling and skin aging ……. especially in female smokers.

Professional treatments that encourage oxygenation and detoxification to the skin will improve the appearance and health of all skin types, especially those who smoke.  PCA SKIN’s Oxygenating Trio Treatment is an excellent choice, as it may be performed weekly and will increase oxygenation and the cells’ ability to detoxify, resulting in a radiant, healthy glow.

the benefits of oxygen

November 7, 2011

Oxygen has many benefits to the skin, one is its ability to help in the fight against acne.  Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in America. More serious grades of acne can cause permanent scarring and skin damage, but even mild to moderate acne can cause a person severe emotional damage. Using targeted methods to clear acne quickly can help truly change a person’s life.  One important piece of the acne-clearing puzzle is oxygen.

The bacteria that proliferate and fuel acne are called proionibacterium acnes (P. acnes).  These bacteria are anaerobic, meaning they cannot survive in the presence of oxygen. Many of the time tested acne-controlling ingredients work by delivering oxygen into the follicle where the bacteria thrive, therefore killing them off.  One of these ingredients is benzoyl peroxide.  Another oxygen-delivering ingredient is hydrogen peroxide.

If you remember skinning your knee as a child and having hydrogen peroxide put on your cut it would foam.  This was the hydrogen peroxide working to kill bacteria so your cut wouldn’t get infected.  Using a professional treatment that uses this same type of action will help alleviate bacteria in breakout-prone skin.  Choose a treatment that provides the skin with low level AHA as well as stabilized hydrogen peroxide to kill bacteria and detox the skin,  You can also use this on dull or sluggish complexions, as well as on smokers who’s skin is chronically deprived of oxygen.

So give your patients healthy skin with a breath of fresh air.