Smoking Wrinkles: Their Causes and Treatment
There are many health concerns that are associated with smoking, but one risk you may not have taken seriously is the development of smoking wrinkles. Most people associate these wrinkles with lines that form around the mouth, but the unhealthy habit is known to cause wrinkles around the entire face. This is because smoking wrinkles are caused by a number of factors; not just the pursing of the lips to inhale smoke from a cigarette. Smoking wrinkles can be avoided by quitting the unhealthy habit, but it’s important to understand the facts behind how they form. This is important, because unlike wrinkles caused by aging skin, once smoking wrinkles form, they can be harder to treat because chemicals contained in tobacco smoke can cause irreversible damage to skin tissue on a cellular level.
What Causes Smoking Wrinkles?
The most commonly known wrinkles from smoking (those around the lips) are formed much in the same way that crow’s feet wrinkles around the eyes are formed: from making repetitive facial expressions that cause the collagen to weaken in the area. Collagen is the natural protein in your skin that keeps it elastic and firm, but as you age, your skin produces less collagen, which causes wrinkles to form.
When you smoke, you create repetitive puckering motions to draw in the smoke, and creases begin to form around your mouth and under your nose – slowly, and unnoticeably at first, in much the same way as the development of skin damage from sun exposure. While these wrinkles form over time, smoking wrinkles begin to appear at a more rapid pace than crow’s feet and other types of wrinkles because of the toxins that contained in cigarettes. Chemicals like benzene and carbon monoxide deplete skin cells of essential nutrients, and constrict blood vessels in the skin.
Toxins in cigarette smoke also deplete the skin of vital moisture, which makes it drier and more prone to premature aging. Smoking wrinkles usually deepen quickly once they are formed, giving the skin around the mouth a puckered, saggy appearance.
Treatments for Smoking Wrinkles
If you have already quit smoking and want to reverse the skin damage caused by wrinkles from smoking, you can begin with a glycolic acid peel that will remove dead and discolored skin cells from the surface of your face and rehydrate parched skin. These peels contain alpha hydroxy acids and vitamins such as vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant, and vitamin A, (retinol) which stimulates cell turnover and boosts the development of new collagen. These masks are available at major skin care retailers online or in store, or you can ask your dermatologist if a professional peel is a better option to treat your smoking wrinkles.
Another option for smoothing out smoking wrinkles is to invest in injectable fillers such as Botox. These fillers are injected just under the wrinkles and work in two ways: they either deaden the nerve connection to the muscles, which prevents muscular contractions that cause the wrinkles. If you are not certain which treatment for smoking wrinkles will work best for your skin type and tone, consult your dermatologist.
Side Effects of Smoking Wrinkles Treatments
While these treatments can be highly effective for treating smoking wrinkles, there are a number of side effects that can occur as well. Skin discoloration, redness, and peeling can occur with glycolic acid peels, and injectable fillers and Botox can cause pain and redness at the injection site and do not last longer than a few months.
Concerned about lines and wrinkles? Take a look at Advanced Dermatology.