Great skin care products and treatments can take your skin from ragged to radiant, but some lifestyle habits – or “skin sins” – can wreak both short- and long-term havoc that requires a serious skin intervention. Breaking habits can be hard, but I’m here to give you the brutal truth – consider it your skin care wakeup call. This is a series devoted to addressing each of the 7 skin sins and the skin damage they can do. Up first: smoking!
All it takes is 10 seconds for smoking to accelerate your aging process. With the first puff, blood vessels are constricted and carbon monoxide begins to build in the bloodstream, restricting the flow of oxygen and other nutrients to the skin – it’s like cutting off the fountain of youth! Here are 6 side-effects those 10 short seconds can have:
1. Skin healing gets harder. When oxygen can’t reach your skin, it slows down the healing process. Daily free radical damage takes longer to correct and it can even cause increased scarring and redness.
3. Dehydration sets in. Lack of blood flow leads to dehydration and slowed skin cell turnover. Regularly exfoliating can help counteract this, but it will always be an uphill battle if you continue to smoke.
2. Elastin gets eliminated. Restricted blood flow triggers elastin to break down, creating premature wrinkles and causing facial features to look more gaunt.
4. Cellulite forms. Eventually, restricted oxygen supplies cause blood vessels to break down helping the formation of cellulite.
5. Lip lines deepen. Not only does repeated puckering reinforce lip lines with each drag, but lessened elastin supplies means those lines become more pronounced as skin is less able to bounce back.
6. Inflammation does damage. This one affects first and second-hand smokers alike! Smoking causes inflammation in the skin – a problem that not only worsens any existing skin conditions like acne or rosacea, but also accelerates visible signs of aging.
Look for another skin sin in my next blog. What’s your biggest skin sin? Tell me in the comments.