The Beauty Benefits of Smoking Cessation
You don’t need us to tell you the dangers of smoking—cancer, emphysema, heart disease, stroke, the list goes on. Though quitting can be a long road, it’s a worthwhile one—one that can begin to improve your health just minutes after you’ve put out your last cigarette.
What’s going on inside your body (improved breathing, decreased inflammation, lowered blood pressure and more) is profound and meaningful to your overall wellness. But your efforts affect what’s on the outside too—visible proof of the gift you’ve given yourself in tossing your pack for good.
As you enjoy more and more smoke-free days, take the time to catch your reflection and see just how worth it your resolve has been.
When you stop smoking, you’ll have…
Tighter, brighter skin.
Over the years, you may have noticed dull, dry and even yellow skin. That’s because smoking narrows blood vessels, which decreases blood flow and limits the oxygen and nutrients that can reach the skin’s surface. Many of the thousands of chemicals in tobacco smoke also destroy collagen and elastin, the connective fibers that keep skin wrinkle-free. Lines on your face are one result, but research also shows that smokers have accelerated signs of aging from the neck down, including sagging skin on the inner arms and breasts.
When you quit smoking, blood and nutrient flow to the outer layers of your skin improves almost immediately. Though your skin will never fully return to its original pre-smoking state, most of what’s damaged can be vastly improved, including collagen and elastin renewal. In fact, even just a few days after you’ve kicked the habit you’ll likely see your complexion become brighter and rosier, and you may find that your skin appears less saggy.
As we age, our hair tends to thin. Our body functions slow down, including blood flow to the scalp that prompts new hair growth. The toxins in cigarette smoke speed up that thinning process by damaging hair follicles and affecting hormones that regulate hair growth.
Research has also shown a significant and consistent link between smokers and early graying. On the upside, smoking cessation halts the accelerated loss and may slow graying. (If your hair isn’t exposed to all of that smoke, it will smell nicer, too.)
Smoking deprives your nails of oxygen and nutrients, just like your skin, resulting in brittleness, dryness, slow growth, discoloration, cracking and peeling. Amazingly, all of these issues are reversible when you quit. It’s nice to know that your nails can look their best once again, but quitting smoking offers them another benefit: Healthy hands that are crack- and peel-free are less susceptible to developing fungus, which is not only a health concern but can be painful as well.
It’s nice to know that your nails can look their best once again, but quitting smoking offers them another benefit: Healthy hands that are crack- and peel-free are less susceptible to developing fungus, which is not only a health concern but can be painful as well.
Remember: The tar and nicotine in cigarettes has to pass through your mouth to get to your lungs, which means yellow, stained teeth and smoky breath. But dentists agree that all of those effects are completely reversible once you quit.
To boost your brightness even more, brush with a mix of three teaspoons of baking soda and two teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide.
A more positive perception of yourself.
With every cigarette you skip, you’ll be one step closer to seeing these changes to your appearance. Do whiter teeth and a brighter complexion stack up to lowering your cancer risk and improving your heart health? Certainly not. But seeing signs of a healthier you, the very thing that defines your true beauty, may boost your belief that you can—and will—reach your goal and that it’s never too late to quit.