Smoker’s skin and non-smoker’s skin – The skin after quitting smoking

In this article you will learn how smoking affects your skin and how you should take care of your skin after quitting smoking.

Smoking and the skin

Smoking is considered one of the unhealthiest habits, yet it is widespread and embedded in everyday life. While it mainly harms the lungs, most consumers forget that the skin suffers as well. When smoking a single cigarette, we inhale more than 4,000 chemical substances, 200 of which are toxic to the human organism and 40 of which are carcinogenic. With such a high number of harmful substances, it is not surprising that smoking not only affects the lungs. Regular smoking also changes our largest organ, the skin. It is attacked from the inside as well as from the outside, looks pale and impure and ages faster. But if you stop smoking, you can counteract the damage and revitalize your skin after you stop smoking.

Smoker skin and non-smoker skin

If you compare the skin of a smoker with the skin of a non-smoker, you can clearly see that tobacco smoke damages the skin. Increased smoking causes deposits to form in the blood vessels, which eventually leads to poorer blood circulation and oxygen supply to the skin. The smoke produced by smoking also clogs the skin pores, making it more difficult for the skin to absorb oxygen. This makes the skin look pale and cold. In addition, tobacco smoke inhibits the formation of new collagen fibers in the skin and at the same time promotes the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibers. The skin loses elasticity and fullness, which becomes noticeable through an increased formation of wrinkles.

The pH value of the skin also changes as a result of regular smoking. The acid mantle of the skin is destroyed and it becomes more susceptible to external influences.



What happens to the skin after quitting smoking?

Smokers have sallow, pale or grayish skin. The chemicals carbon monoxide and nicotine contained in cigarette smoke are responsible for this. They cause the blood vessels in the body to constrict. As a result, blood circulation is disrupted and skin cells are not supplied with enough fresh oxygen and minerals, leading to a loss of natural, healthy skin tone and a dull complexion. However, when you stop constantly inhaling carbon monoxide and nicotine, the blood can once again circulate and supply every area with sufficient nutrients – leaving your skin looking fresh and rosy again.


The average heavy smoker is usually considered older than he actually is. This is due to the toxins contained in every single cigarette, which significantly accelerate the aging process of the skin. Nicotine deprives the skin of its natural supply of vitamin C, which is necessary for the production of collagen. At the same time, the toxic substances attack the skin’s elastin and collagen fibers, which give the skin its firmness, elasticity and strength. If these are damaged or if no new fibers are formed, the skin slackens and forms more and more wrinkles.

The circulatory disorder already described is another factor that contributes to the skin’s graying and accelerates aging. Even if one stops smoking, the wrinkles caused by smoking cannot be eliminated. However, with abstinence, the skin regains its vitality and color and is able to rejuvenate and repair itself. The skin cells are regenerated.

Cigarette smoke can cause the skin to lack oxygen and cause blood vessels to constrict. During smoking, the fine smoke particles settle on our skin and clog the pores – tension, dryness and cracked skin are the result. After stopping smoking, the pores of the skin can open again, so that smoke can be excluded as a reason for dry skin..

Numerous studies have shown that people who smoke suffer more frequently from acne and skin impurities. The skin’s own defenses are weakened by the lack of nutrients and oxygen, and so germs can penetrate the skin barrier much more easily, causing blemishes. In addition, pimples heal much slower and worse due to insufficient blood circulation. So if you stop smoking, you reduce the risk of blemishes and acne.

The right care for the skin after quitting smoking

Even though the skin regenerates itself after smoking cessation, it should be supported with appropriate care. The skin of smokers needs a lot of moisture, exfoliation and a good sunscreen. These steps are considered the basis for any skin care routine.

The right serums additionally help in the production of collagen and elastin. From a dermatological point of view, these are the same aids as for non-smokers. Early wrinkle treatment is useful and probably needs to be repeated more often because smokers’ skin ages faster. In any case, a complete and regular skin care routine is advisable.

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