Attention Smokers! Know The Deadly Effects Of Smoking On Your Skin And Ways To Reverse Them

If you are a regular and heavy smoker, take note. Apart from your lungs and other organs, even the skin bears the brunt of nicotine. The skin absorbs nicotine from cigarettes causing adverse effects like premature ageing, delayed wound healing, and increased infections, apart from deadly diseases like cancer and lupus. Read on to know how smoking can kill your skin and surprising ways to reverse them.

Updated Jun 14, 2023 | 07:28 AM IST

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People who smoke regularly do not have much collagen or elastin, key proteins for their skin’s health

New Delhi: Apart from ageing and sun exposure, one of the ways you can get serious skin issues is by smoking. And not just only that, tobacco also takes a big toll on your appearance. Doctors say smoking leads to narrowing your blood vessels, significantly reducing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to your skin.
According to studies, people who smoke regularly do not have much collagen or elastin, key proteins for their skin’s health.

How does smoking affect your skin?

Statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention1 say more than half of adults who smoke say they have tried to quit smoking within the last year. However, fewer than 1 in 10 succeed in doing so.
A few ways your skin gets affected by regular smoking are:

Premature ageing

Smoking takes a toll on collagen and elastin and causes oxidative stress in skin fibroblasts, killing the cells that form these two skin-tightening enzymes.
Studies2 say smokers are also deficient in vitamin D, an important nutrient that helps maintain the skin barrier and tissue repair.


Smoking accelerates the formation of melanocytes, which causes age and dark spots or pigmentation. Smokers mostly have dull, pale skin that may appear bluish or gray due to restricted blood flow to the skin, which deprives it of oxygen and other nutrients.
This causes uneven skin pigmentation.


Smoking increases the risk of infections on the skin as immune cells that are responsible for promoting the rebuilding of tissue get destroyed.
According to studies, smokers have a higher human papillomavirus load, apart from other deadly diseases.

Skin cancer

Skin experts say heavy and chain smokers also have a heightened risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma3.


An autoimmune disease, lupus, can be life-threatening and regular smoking is a risk factor for developing it. Doctors say there may also be a dose relationship between cutaneous lupus and smoking.
According to experts, smoking may induce keratinocyte activity like apoptosis and pro-inflammatory cytokine production4.

Ways to reverse the deadly effects of smoking

Doctors say the easiest way to reverse the damaging effects of cigarettes on your skin is to just stop smoking once in for all. It is also possible to reverse the harmful effects in the following ways.
  • Eat a diet rich in antioxidants like carrots, mackerel, tomatoes, broccoli, sweet potatoes, spinach, citrus fruits, kiwis, and mangoes which are good sources of Vitamins A, B, B5, K, C, and folic acid.
  • Apples are a great source of minerals that help strengthen your skin tissues.
  • Berries are another source of tobacco-removing toxins from the body,
  • Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated and reverse the dehydrating effects of nicotine.
  • Have a glass of milk before smoking as helps you quit
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.
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