Celebrity skin and the effects of smoking

There are of plenty reasons smokers use to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes: Vanity is just one of them.

And while some say that smoking helps you maintain weight – which studies have found is a myth by the way – few would argue that cigarettes are good for your skin.

Celebrity Skin Secrets

On an anecdotal level, celebrity non-smokers Gwyneth Paltrow (aged 41), Barack Obama (52), Charlize Theron (38), Matt Damon (43) and vaping fan Leonardo DiCaprio (39) all look younger than their years. According to Robin Wright, who played the most beautiful woman in the world in The Princess Bride:

“If you get enough sleep, cut back on cigarettes and red meat, you look better the next day.”

Even John Hamm, who plays one of pop culture’s best-known smokers, Don Draper in Mad Men, hasn’t had a cigarette since he was 24. “It’s glamorous on film, but it’s not glamorous waking up and smelling like an ashtray,” he told People Magazine.

Rock-star non-smoker David Byrne, despite a silver head of hair, has aged little since his Talking Heads heyday. He says on the subject “The true face of smoking is disease, death and horror – not the glamour and sophistication the pushers in the industry try to portray.”

Meanwhile some have argued that Kate Moss (left) has seen her skin suffer as a result of years of traditional smoking.

The effects of smoking on skin

If you don’t believe us, here’s a gallery to show the effect of smoking on skin. The first picture is of formerly identical twins, only one of whom smokes. The difference in appearance is startling.

To quote the Virtual Medical Centre:

“Studies suggest that tobacco smoke exposure decreases capillary and arteriolar blood flow, possibly damaging connective tissues that help maintain healthy skin. Skin fibroblasts (the cells in connective tissue that form collagen and elastin) are damaged by tobacco smoke.”

In plainer terms, what that article is referring to wrinkling, sagging, discoloration and even compromised healing of wounds. Here’s what the article had to say on the always difficult subject of wrinkles:

“Numerous studies have found that premature wrinkling is associated with smoking. There is evidence that the more an individual smokes, the more the premature ageing effect occurs, so heavy smokers will experience more premature wrinkles than those who only smoke occasionally. One study, in which eight judges individually rated the age of smokers and non-smokers from their photographs, reported that smokers were, on average, rated as being 2.7 years older than their actual age, while non-smokers were rated at 0.7 years younger than their actual age. Another study reported that moderate smokers were almost twice as likely to wrinkle prematurely than non-smokers, and heavy smokers were almost three times more likely to wrinkle prematurely.”

Smoking damages your looks

This document from anti-cigarette group ASH also lists disfiguration of the lips, gums and even tongue as potential side effects from smoking as well as lacklustre hair:

“Smoking can make people more prone to acne and delay the healing of blemishes,” it says. “Women, in particular, have been found to have more frequent and severe acne, which worsens the more they smoke.51 Smoking is also considered a trigger for acne inversa, a chronic inflammatory skin disease that can be quite disfiguring.” 

And much has been made of the discoloration of fingers that have held cigarettes for too long.

Tobacco smoking was once synonymous with old-school Hollywood and glamour, but now countless celebrities are ditching the cigarettes and embracing a healthier life.



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