Tobacco Smoking:  An Unglamorous Way to Premature Aging

Tobacco Smoking: An Unglamorous Way to Premature Aging

In my book there are only two things that are bad for you no matter what: sun tanning and smoking. All the rest is about moderation and balance. Tobacco smoking is well known to be a factor for morbidity (basically is bad for you) and can take a huge toll on skin health.

🚭Did you know that tobacco smoking damages our skin twice? Yes! by direct contact with the epidermis and when its metabolites reach the skin via bloodstream.

🚭What is in tobacco smoke? The smoke is composed of two phases: particulate and the volatile gas. The main toxic components of the solid phase are nicotine, phenol, quinoline, aniline, toluidine, nickel, catechol, N-nitrosodimethylamine, benzo-pyrenes, benzanthracene and 2-naphthylamine. The volatile gas phase contains toxic molecules such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen oxides, acetone, formaldehyde, acrolein, ammonium, pyridine, 3-vinylpyridine, N-nitrosodimethylamine, and N-nitroso-pyrrolidine… a lot! Isn’t it? 🚭What does tobacco smoking do to our skin? PREMATURE AGING! The degree of premature aging is linked to the amount of smoking. The more packs per day the faster you age. The ‘‘smoker’s face’’ has a significant amount of wrinkles, bony contours, gray/yellowish discoloration and it is thin and fragile with a huge tendency for sagginess and laxity. In addition, the skin is a dehydrated and inflamed. These deleterious changes happen in the skin of passive smokers (those non-smokers that spend time around smokers) as well as in areas that are sun protected... that bad!

🚭Which are the mechanisms behind tobacco smoking skin damage? OXIDATIVE STRESS is a big component of smoking damage. Free radicals not only damage skin structures but also deplete cellular defenses. What does this mean? It means that our damaged skin does not have the capacity to protect itself or even worse, to repair damaged structures triggering a fast vicious cycle of destruction.

🚭Smoking decreases synthesis of collagen I and III (the most important collagens in the dermis) and induces the synthesis of a non-functional elastin fiber similar to what solar radiation does (solar elastosis).

🚭Smoking also increases expression of proteins that degrade ECM components such as MMP-1, 2, 3, 7 and 8 and prevent the expression of their inhibitors (TIMP). What does this mean? It means that the skin is unable to restore damaged collagen while the healthy collagen is destroyed rapidly. To make it even worse, the cellular response to TGF-beta1 is altered (main inducer of collagen synthesis). This means that even when the signals for collagen production are there dermal fibroblasts are unable to see them and therefore they do not engage in collagen synthesis.

🚭Can antioxidants in skincare products prevent tobacco smoking skin damage? No really. The level of oxidative stress is so much larger than the AOX capacity to repair and restore that it is not likely to induce visible improvements in skin quality.

🚭What is the best solution? Stop smoking! And then engage in a efficacious skincare routine that will probably need in-office procedures to repair the damage.

🚭FUN FACTS: (1) The tobacco plant name is Nicotiana tabacum. It was named after the French ambassador to Portugal Jean Nicot who brought the plant to his country. (2) Nicotine exists in small quantities in tomato, potatoes and eggplants. (3) Tobacco smoking ages hands and results in Harlequin nails. #skincarescience #flawlesscanvas_skincare #theskinbiologist #beautyscience #healthyskin #skinhealth #freeradicals #smokingskin #unhealthyskin #skicarejunkie #skincaretips