If you currently smoke or use other tobacco products, one of the best things you can do for your overall health and the health of your skin is to quit. Depending on how long you’ve smoked and how much you smoked over that period, you might have smoking damaged skin. Smoking cigarettes is one of the leading external causes of wrinkles and other age-related skin changes.
While you can’t fully erase the damage smoking does to your skin, you do have some options for improving the look and health of your skin once you give up the habit.
Laser Skin Treatments
When you smoke, the ingredients in tobacco interfere with your blood circulation. When blood doesn’t flow as easily as it should to areas of your body, such as the skin and face, it’s not uncommon for those areas to suffer damage. The skin often loses elasticity, so that it becomes less supple and firm. Wrinkles appear more easily, and the skin’s texture can become uneven.
One way to combat changes such as uneven skin texture and wrinkles is with a laser skin resurfacing treatment. A few different laser treatment options are available. The one that might be right for you depends on the extent of the skin damage and how dramatic you want the improvement to be.
Fractional CO2 lasers offer a less invasive treatment option. The lasers help to repair the outer layer of skin and help to encourage the production of collagen in the dermal layer. The skin is left intact, and usually, only a single treatment is needed.
Ablative, non-fractional CO2 lasers can be a good option for people with more extensive skin damage due to smoking. Ablative laser treatments completely remove the outer layer of skin, allowing new skin cells to develop. The result is a considerably more youthful and refreshed appearance, but downtime can be significant.
Fillers and Injections
As you know smoking = wrinkles. Some of those wrinkles develop as a result of the loss of elasticity in the skin while others form because you often make the same movements over and over again when you take a puff on a cigarette.
How you can treat wrinkles and smoking damaged skin after you quit depends on the type of wrinkles involved. Lines and creases that develop as a result of gravity and a loss of elasticity can be filled in with a dermal filler such as Restylane or Juvederm. Dermal fillers often contain hyaluronic acid, which provides instant volume and can immediately reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Wrinkles that develop as a result of repeated facial movements connected to smoking can usually be treated with an injectable such as Botox (or a similar brand). While dermal fillers restore volume to wrinkles, Botox and other injectables like it temporarily prevent certain nerves from communicating with certain muscles. As a result, you can’t make the exact movements that lead to frown lines, crow’s feet or smoker’s lines. The results are temporary and usually last for a few months.
Another way to give your skin a boost after quitting smoking is to take good care of it at home. An at-home skincare routine should start with wearing sunscreen (at least SPF 30) everyday. Washing your face daily to remove makeup, dirt and other debris, will also help improve its health and overall appearance.
Depending on your particular skin concern, there might be a particular skincare ingredient that can help you. Your dermatologist might recommend or prescribe a lotion or serum with Retinol or skincare products that contain alpha hydroxy acids to help increase skin turnover and to help minimize or improve wrinkles.
What’s Inside Matters, Too
It’s not just what you put on your skin that matters. What you eat and drink can also determine how well your skin bounces back after you quit smoking. Keep hydrated by getting in the habit of drinking water throughout the day. Having a glass of water when you first get up and a glass during meals can help.
Also, pay attention to your diet. Try to eat foods that contain plenty of vitamins and minerals. Fruits that are high in vitamin C can be particularly good for your skin, for example.
Your dermatologist can be a great resource and ally as you go through the smoking cessation process. Dr. Diane Walder is a leading dermatologist in the US. She offers a wide variety of non-surgical treatments at her practice in Miami and can help you decide which one is most appropriate for you. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Walder or one of her associates, call 305-866-2177 today.