Smokers might find relief in skin enhancement procedures

Smokers might find relief in skin enhancement procedures
Smokers might find relief in skin enhancement procedures

When we talk about the potential harms of smoking, we mostly focus on the damage it does to internal organs - mainly, the lungs and heart - and tend to overlook its external effects. However, smoking can change your skin in more ways than just those dreaded "smoker's lines" around the mouth. A new study published reveals that quitting smoking doesn't just add a few years to your life, but also your skin. 

Aging twins
While smokers might be prone to early aging, every one must age sometime. So instead of focusing solely on those who smoke, researchers sought out a group composed of both smokers and non-smokers in order to fairly compare the effects of aging on the skin. According to TODAY.com, the study's subjects came from an unlikely place - the Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio. After finding 79 pairs of identical twins - with one long-time smoker per pair - three plastic surgeons assessed their faces for signs of damage and early aging. 

The plastic surgeons found that the twins who smoked looked considerably older than their non-smoking siblings. Some of the telling signs of aging included wrinkles around the mouth and chin, jowls - or drooping of the lower cheeks - and sagging of the lower eyelids. 

One plastic surgeon told the news source that these effects might be caused by decreased blood circulation and reduced oxygen to the skin, which worsens the more one smokes.

Hope after skin damage
The effects of smoking can last long term, but there might be ways to restore the skin through plastic surgery procedures. For instance, wrinkle fillers - or soft tissue injectables - can help fill in the lines around the mouth and create a more youthful appearance. Temporary fillers include either collagen or hyaluronic acid, both of which are naturally occurring substances. However, the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons recommends quitting smoking before undergoing a plastic surgery procedure, because nicotine can increase the likelihood of serious complications. 

The study's researchers also insisted that one of the best ways to improve your skin - and overall health - is to quit smoking, no matter how long you practiced the habit. 

"We tell people, as soon as they stop smoking, the repair to not only to their skin but their lungs, their heart vessels - it starts to repair itself," Dr. Robin Ashinoff, medical director of of dermatologic surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, told the news outlet.