Besides contributing to an increased risk of cancer, coronary artery disease, stroke and chronic pulmonary disease, cigarette smoking has several direct and indirect effects on the skin. The following effects have been recently described in the medical literature:
Cigarette smoking can alter a personís physical appearance drastically.
- provokes premature skin ageing and facial wrinkles. Even if smoking is stopped, it takes years till its effects on the skin are ameliorated.
- is linked to a significant decrease in skin moisture, contributing to dry skin.
- contributes to complexion color changes, leading to a gray-ish skin pigmentation
- leads to a yellowish nail pigmentation due to tobacco by-products
Cigarette smoking may be a risk factor for or aggravate several skin diseases.
- impedes wound healing. Studies showed a decreased healing rate after surgeries and a greater incidence of wound slough after face lifts in smoking individuals.
- has been shown to reduce blood flow, especially in the extremities, and it is the most powerful risk factor for atherosclerotic peripheral vascular disease, which may lead to ulcera
- may increase the risk of psoriasis, especially pustular psoriasis
- is a predisposing factor for the development of oral yeast infections
- has been associated with condylomata acuminatum, possibly because of its effect on the immune system
Unbalanced nutrition and excessive dieting over many years decrease the supply of important metabolites and thus may cause premature skin ageing.
A diet low in energy (< 1500 kcal/ day) may not offer all the nutrients necessary to protect the skin from premature ageing.
Recent studies show that a high sugar intake may be associated with greater skin wrinkling. According to these studies, sweet milk desserts, ice cream, red meat, soft drinks, cakes and pastries seem to be associated with increased skin wrinkling and ageing.