The Link Between Smoking and Premature Aging

Recent data show that 14% of Americans still smoke cigarettes, and most die-hard smokers picked up the habit while they’re young. If you’ve noticed wrinkles, sun spots, and saggy skin, there’s a good chance that your smoking habit is a big contributor. The good news is that stopping now can minimize the damage, and skin treatments can help smooth out your wrinkles. 

At the OB/GYN practice of Gae Rodke, MD, FACOG, we cover all aspects of women’s health, including cosmetic ones like wrinkles caused by the aging process. If you are or were a smoker, you may be seeing wrinkles appear. We can help you minimize the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles to restore your youthful look.

The link between smoking and wrinkling

There are hundreds of reasons to stop smoking, and if you’re trying to quit, you’ve likely heard them all. However, the link between smoking and premature aging is too clear to ignore. If you take pride in your appearance and want to minimize wrinkles, it might be a good idea to ditch the habit for good. 

Smoking speeds up aging in five ways: 

  1. It slows down healing, leading to more scars — including acne scars 
  2. It reduces blood flow, depriving your skin of oxygen
  3. It exposes your pores to smoke, which can dry out your skin  
  4. It reduces production of collagen and elastin, the proteins that keep your skin supple
  5. It causes smokers’ wrinkles, which form during the actual act of smoking 

Many people who smoke also spend more time outside. Chances are, they don’t put on sunscreen every time they take a smoke break, which only adds sun damage to the list of aging factors. Combined with the poor healing and skin dryness caused by cigarette use, this leads to further wrinkles and blemishes. 

Wrinkle types associated with smoking

Certain wrinkles are telltale signs that someone is being affected by their smoking habit. When you smoke, you pucker your lips to inhale from the cigarette, and squint your eyes as the smoke drifts upward. 

This causes dynamic wrinkles like crow’s feet and smoker’s lips. Smokers tend to develop deep crow’s feet as they get older, and it’s impossible to avoid pucker lines when you’re smoking multiple cigarettes a day. 

As mentioned above, smoking reduces skin elasticity and slows down healing, which only makes these wrinkles more pronounced as time goes on. To make matters worse, smoking increases sagging in other areas — particularly the breasts.

Solutions for smokers’ wrinkles

The first step to slowing down aging is to stop smoking. There’s no point investing in creams, facials, peels, and skin treatments until you’ve taken care of the root issue. As long as you continue smoking, your face will age faster than a non-smoker’s. 

Once you’ve quit cigarettes, you can begin looking into treatments to alleviate the existing damage. Dr. Rodke specializes in using noninvasive radiofrequency treatments to treat wrinkles, including those caused by smoking. 

Votiva by InMode® and Morpheus8 work by stimulating blood flow to the area, which increases collagen and elastin production. After a series of treatments, your skin will be noticeably tighter, firmer, and more supple. 

To learn more about premature aging and how it’s treated, get in touch with Dr. Rodke. You can schedule a consultation by calling 212-496-9800, or visit the contact page for more information.

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