The Smoking Effect (and How to Reclaim Your Skin!)

For the most part, smoking has become passé. But that wasn’t the case 20 years ago. The fact is, a good percentage of us in our 30s and 40s today enjoyed a good nicotine fix in years past. We were young. We were invincible. Of course, since then, we’ve gotten smarter and swapped that bad habit for a healthier lifestyle. While we may be healthier, however, chances are the damage to your skin has already been done and is showing up on your face as wrinkles, skin spots, and loose skin. That’s according to a recent study that compared pictures of identical smoking and non-smoking twins.

The Smoking Study

How much damage can we really attribute to smoking? A lot, according to the study “Facial Changes Caused by Smoking: A Comparison Between Smoking and Nonsmoking Identical Twins,” which appeared in the November 2013 issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

In the study, researchers recruited 79 sets of twins as study participants at the annual  Twins Day Festival over the course of four years (from 2007 to 2010). To be included in the study one twin was required to have a history of smoking for at least 5 years more than the other. The researchers gathered data through questionnaires and professional standardized photographs taken onsite at the festival. Three judges evaluated faces, using a scale of 0 to 5 to grade wrinkles and other signs of aging. They found that smokers demonstrated heavier signs of premature aging across the board compared with their non-smoking siblings. Facial features that showed a difference included the upper and lower eyelids, cheeks, the lines around the mouth (nasolabial folds), jowls, and lips. The researchers attribute excess aging characteristics to the overall loss of elasticity in the skin and suggest that signs of aging are also the result of cigarette toxicity.

Your Skin Solutions

So what’s a former smoker to do to wipe away that toxic past? Thankfully there are solutions for every skin flaw.

Wrinkles Away. If you’ve got smokers lines around the mouth or crow’s feet, don’t fret! Moderate lines and wrinkles can be filled in an instant with one of the FDA-approved hyaluronic acid fillers on the market today. If those lines and wrinkles run deep, adding a laser or chemical peel treatment will give you the full treatment needed for gold standard rejuvenation.

Skin Support. If your skin is showing signs of losing its elasticity, there are plenty of pick-me-up solutions. On the minimal side, dermal skin needling and acupuncture can provide modest firming results with minimal downtime. Nee a little more lift? Try the ultrasound power of Ultherapy. For extreme skin sagging and maximum results, a surgical facelift may be your best bet.

Feature Fix. Whether it’s your eyes, your cheeks, or both that have lost volume and are showing signs of premature aging, a variety of technologies and techniques can make your profile pretty again. The eyes can be rejuvenated using lasers, injectables, and surgical treatments, where necessary. The cheeks (midface) can benefit from fillers, surgery or both.

What’s Right for You?

Your course of treatment is best determined in a collaborative effort with your cosmetic doctor who will be able to effectively create an individualized plan that meets your expectations and budget. Are you ready? Find a doctor today!