“Smoking is Bad for You”
Everyone has heard that “Smoking is bad for you.” Usually the conversation is geared toward lung cancer, emphysema and other causes of early death. However, smoking is bad for just about everything. Even if you’re young, the smoke that you inhale now can have effects for years to come.
One of the effects that doesn’t get as much attention is the effect that smoking can have on your skin. Nicotine causes constriction of blood vessels. This leads to a decrease in the blood supply to the skin. Less blood means fewer nutrients, fewer healing growth factors and less oxygen. All of these things lead to skin that is less able to correct or heal injuries caused by the sun, air pollution and all of the other daily assaults that our skin takes. In addition, smoking increases the number of free radicals in your body, which accelerates aging. As a result, the skin of smokers ages faster than that of nonsmokers. This means earlier wrinkles and sagging skin.
We recommend that all of our surgical patients stop smoking, especially in the period around their procedure. The decreased blood supply causes a slowing in the healing of surgical wounds and can lead to an increase in complications, including infections and chronic wounds.
“But What About Vaping?”
I have many patients ask about “vaping” and whether that is safer. While I much prefer Vaping to smoking (both for your health and my comfort), I will still make the same recommendations unless you’re using a zero nicotine e-liquid. Because there is no tar and none of the side products of the combustion found in cigarettes, you are inhaling fewer harmful chemicals. However many of the injurious effects of cigarettes are related to the nicotine, which is also found in most e-cigarettes. I do understand that vaping can help people to stop smoking and as such can be beneficial, but the point should be to stop, not to just transition to a new habit.
In closing, I’ll say that if you don’t smoke (or vape) now, that’s awesome! Don’t start. It’s not easy to stop. If you smoke, you really should consider stopping – both for your health and for your looks!