Haven’t we all drooled over Carrie Bradshaw every time she took a drag off that cigarette while sipping on her favorite Cosmopolitan? Well, most of us have grown up watching the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker on the television, and in the same breath, have also tried our hands at various cocktails, often not knowing how it’s hampering our bodies. This article will help you understand the various risks caused due to excessive smoking and drinking that lead to bad health and terrible skin and hair problems. The result – it can all make you look way older than you are. Read on to know more.
How Does Smoking Affect Your Skin?
Yes. Smoking not only attacks your lungs and their capacity to absorb clean oxygen, but it also wreaks havoc on your skin. To begin with, smoking can lead to premature wrinkles and speed up the process of aging. A few of the changes that one can be seen on a smoker’s face are:
- Fine lines on the outer corners of the eyes, better known as crow’s feet (1)
- Clear, pronounced lines between the eyebrows
- Wrinkles around the mouth with thin lips
- Swollen eyes with deep creases under it
- Uneven skin coloring, mostly paler tone
- With the loss of vitamin A levels, the skin begins to lose its moisture
It is not just your face that gets affected because of smoking. There are other reasons to worry too:
- Yellowing of teeth is one major problem because of long-term smoking.
- Bad breath and multiple gum diseases are common to smokers.
- Smokers lose teeth twice faster than non-smokers.
- Stained skin and fingernails because of continuous use of tobacco.
- Studies done in Taiwan showed that people who smoked tend to go bald prematurely, especially Asian men.
- High risk of developing cataract as you age.
Here, we have listed five main ways in which smoking affects your skin.
- Nicotine found in cigarettes narrows down the blood vessels, hence, reduces the flow of oxygen to different skin cells, depriving them of required nutrients. (2)
- With over 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, the collagen and elastin of the skin get severely damaged, leading to saggy skin.
- As your skin loses its elasticity, it’s not just your face that gets affected, but also the underarms and the breasts that take a toll.
- With continuous lip pursing and squinting, fine lines develop around the eyes and the mouth.
- Dry, damaged skin with age spots is common for smokers because of excessive exposure to sun and heat.
Smoking is directly linked to skin cancer, lung and heart diseases. It also leads to several skin disorders, the most prominent being psoriasis, hidradenitis suppurativa, and cutaneous lupus erythematosus.
These diseases are not the milder kind that you might want to overlook. Instead, they are long-lasting, with severe damage to the body, and life-threatening in some cases. In addition, these diseases further lead to delayed wound healing, as there is little or no formation of new blood vessels.
It has been observed that those who smoke tend to get more severely affected by inflammatory skin diseases, such as acne, than those who don’t. The treatment of such problems is often longer and, in some cases, ineffective too.
So before you pick up that fag, think twice about what you’re leading yourself into. The damage done to your skin cannot be reversed, but you can always put a stop to it by quitting smoking.
How to Get That Glow Back?
Once you decide to put out that cigarette, it is only a matter of time that your skin will regain its original vitality. However, a few baby steps will help ensure a smoother and more effective journey. Here are a few tips that you could try to get that radiance back.
As tobacco burns the vitamins in your body, your first step should be getting that back. Try these vitamin C-rich foods and see the wonders:
- Guava: Easily available and extremely tasty. Have the entire fruit for the pulp and vitamin C or have its juice – it will increase your intake of vitamin C. (3)
- Parsley: Have it fresh to retain its nutritional value.
- Red and green peppers: Available throughout the year and are rich in vitamin C.
- Have any fruit that’s sour, such as orange, strawberry, lemon, kiwi, lychee.
- Drinking carrot juice helps flush out the nicotine left in the body.
- Eat pomegranate as this improves blood circulation and helps your skin gain its collagen.
Apart from changing your diet, you could also try out these steps to ensure that your skin regains its smooth texture in no time.
- No staying up till late at night. Get to bed by 10, and reach your optimal 8-hour sleep goal.
- Avoid the sun. And even if you have to be out in the harsh sun, wear sunglasses and don’t forget your SPF.
- Drink as much water as you can. As smoking dehydrates your body, you need all the H2O to replenish the water reserves and remove the toxins from the body.
- Avoid chemical-ridden heavy cosmetics. Apply a basic moisturizer, and you’re done.
Fun fact: Smoking causes impotency in men!!
Not so Cool Side of Drinking
If your idea of partying is mostly to chill and grab that bottle of beer to mingle with the crowd, you’re not alone. Most of us love doing that. But that one bottle soon turns into another, and by the time you get home, you’re reeling with nausea and a headache. But that’s just what you’re feeling from the inside. Ever wondered what all that alcohol in your body is doing to your skin? Let us tell you that.
- Too much alcohol dehydrates your skin of its natural oils, making it dry and cracked.
- The pores of your skin can also get dilated due to dehydration, leading to blackheads and whiteheads. These can later turn into acne, leaving permanent scars if left untreated.
- The capillaries or the tiny facial blood vessels get dilated and often burst because of the pressure of carrying too much blood to the surface.
- Bloodshot eyes, dull complexion are some of the milder effects that can last for days.
- The quality of sleep gets severely affected. This is because, after a few hours, a neurotransmitter known as norepinephrine is released in the body that energizes you rather than putting you in a state of slumber.
- Imagine what all those empty calories are doing to your body. Yes, helping you gain weight.
Here’s what we recommend as your best choices and the worst ones you can make:
- Your best bet is the lighter-colored spirit such as vodka, gin, and tequila. These are easy on our bodies and have minimum additives.
- The next in line is beer. As beer makes you feel fuller, it is usually consumed less; hence, a better drink. Beer contains antioxidants and has anti-aging benefits. (4)
- It is advised to choose a cocktail when you don’t have a clear spirit or beer on the menu. Although a cocktail looks fancy in hand, it has a high sugar content that can lead to skin inflammation and acne.
- White wine is equally high in sugar as any other cocktail. It’s best to avoid it if you don’t want the collagen and elastin of your skin to break.
- You should avoid that glass of red wine too. Although it is considered the healthiest drink, it is mostly unfiltered, and hence, doesn’t get processed by the body.
- If you see someone passing on a glass of a dark spirit to you, make a U-turn. These are the worst spirits to have as they leave you with a mean hangover and dull skin.
You can’t always be the buzzkill. But how do you ensure what you’re drinking isn’t affecting your body. Follow this checklist.
- Stick to one type of alcohol and make sure to drink it slowly.
- Keep drinking water between your drinks. This will keep you hydrated, and you wouldn’t have to worry about the hangover the next morning.
- Always drink after you’ve eaten something.
- Include supplements in your diet. These help in the regeneration of cells and help restore your body’s vitamin levels even after you’ve had your fill.
- Follow a healthy nighttime skincare regimen. Always use a cleanser before going to bed at night, followed by a moisturizer that’s rich in antioxidants. This will keep your skin hydrated and fresh.
While we have all known the ill effects of smoking and drinking on the internal organs of our body, rarely do we talk about how these can cause damage to our skin and hair. In today’s age, when we are all moving towards healthier eating habits – many of us have turned ourselves into vegans and abstain from animal produce – we must also move towards a life that is free of smoking and drinking alcohol. Smoking and drinking can give you premature wrinkles, dry and acne-prone skin, and dull hair. In this article, we enlist a full checklist of things that you can do to reverse the damages such as easting more fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C, staying hydrated, exercising regularly, taking food supplements, and using anti-aging skincare products.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much time does it take for the skin to get its glow back after you quit smoking?
Once you decide to quit smoking, you will begin to see immediate effects. In the first few weeks, your complexion will become brighter. Give it another six months, and your skin will have its original vitality back.
Does smoking affect hair?
Smoking causes oxidative stress and reduces blood flow to hair follicles. This may result in hair loss.
How long does it take for the skin to get normal after I stop drinking?
It usually takes about 28 days for your skin to renew itself. You need to be consistent on your way to no drinking and must also follow healthy eating habits.
What other non-alcoholic options do I have in drinks when I go out with friends?
There are plenty. For starters, there’s Virgin Mojito that you could try. It looks exactly like your alcoholic Mojito but doesn’t have the spirit in it. A lot of bars now also offer fruit beers and wine. These might not give you the same kick, but you can easily have them without worrying about the hangover the following day. Again, these look exactly like the original drink.
- “Surprising Ways Smoking Affects Your Looks and Life” -webmd.com
- “ Smoking and its effects on the skin” – dermnetnz.org
- “How Smoking Can Damage Your Skin” – verywellmind.com
- “Effects of alcohol on skin and how to repair the damage” -goodto.com