Although smoking is best known for causing lung cancer,that is not the only risk or damage that it does. This gross habit (that I quit 2 years ago)is also among the biggest threats to your skin. Next to sun and chemicals, tobacco is one of the major accelerators of your skin natural aging process, and it is thought to be one of the fastest acting threats. I only smoked for 3 years after a break(UGH how stupid), and I swear I started to see some aging early. Young people start showing signs of early skin aging after as little as 10 years of smoking. If you think this is a long period of time, you should keep in mind that many young people start smoking in their teen years (16-19 year olds) and are still below 30 when the first signs appear.Looking old in your 20's? *Gasp*
Smoking causes the narrowing of blood vessels throughout your body, including those that supply the outermost layers of the skin with oxygen and nutrients. Thus, your skin is slowly starved of vital oxygen and other substances. Over time, the lack of oxygen and nutrients( vitamin A specifically) would allow the formation of harmful free radicals that slowly damage the elastic fibers and collagen, which keep the skin strong and flexible. The result is aging before your time. It is also thought likely that the repeated pursing of lips when inhaling smoke helps build wrinkles around the mouth, while the heat of the burning cigarette tip is also damaging the skin.