We have all read and heard about the dangerous effects smoking can have upon our health and bodies. From physical cravings to yellowing teeth and nails, these problems can range from cosmetic annoyances to potential deadly illness. Despite these frequent warnings, however, smoking continues to pervade our society. The damage of smoking can be seen, even years after a person may have quit, because of its long term effects. No one likes to be labeled, but after years of lighting up, sometimes the “smoker” of a group can be identified from a mile away, even without a cigarette in their hands.

It is a fact of nature: if you are a smoker, you will look like a smoker.

Do You Look Like a Smoker?

Your skin is a reflection of your overall health Smooth texture, even tone and the overall elasticity and color are all a result of good health and a conscience effort to take care of your body. Although there are hundreds of reasons your skin may not look its best on any given day, overall when healthy your skin should be firm, toned and even in color.

People who are “seasoned smokers” tend to have telltale signs and depending on how many cigarettes are smoked in a day and how many years the person has been smoking, these can range dramatically in severity. From lines around the lips, eyes and cheeks to a gray coloring of the skin, smoking ushers in premature aging.

It is the toxins within a single cigarette that are absorbed directly into your blood stream and impact the appearance and condition of your skin. The blood cells begin to narrow and constrict, impacting the development of healthy new skin cells. With the reduction of oxygen to the cells, they can no longer efficiently remove waste or regenerate. Over time this will lead to a significant reduction in the collagen production within the skin and cause trademark sagging skin tissue that is associated with extended smoking.

Reversing the Damage?

So you have made the pro-active choice to quit smoking and better your health. Years later your skin still makes you look ten years older than you actually are and you just don’t like the image staring back at you in the mirror. What can you do? Is there a way to reverse the damage?

Repairing the damages from smoking is a long term commitment and will require patience above all else. Remember that years of smoke damage requires years of repair for every part of your body and that includes the skin. Start by providing your skin with what smoking robbed of it for so long – healthy blood to promote healthy development. Exercise and a healthy diet play a huge role in this because it will increase circulation and bring healthy nutrients back to skin.

Dramatic results may not be possible, depending on the level of damage, but there are steps you can take to minimize the effects. Consult with a dermatologist before beginning any skin care program and learn all your options before deciding on a course of action. Remember a well informed decision can save you time and money in the long run.

Understand what the damage is and focus on those key areas. Fine lines and wrinkles can be the result of reduced skin cell production and the accumulation of dead skin cells on the surface. Smoking dehydrates the skin so boosting the moisture in your skin cells will be a major component of any skin care plan. A peel or deep exfoliation may be required to remove that excess build up of grime and debris and get your plan off on the right foot.

Expensive skin care treatments are not always an option for the average consumer and there are options still available. Cosmeceuticals are intensive skin care products that are one grade below pharmaceutical options (which require prescriptions to obtain). These products contain alpha hydroxyl and glycolic acid ingredients which are designed to seek out free radical damage and dramatically reverse skin damage. These products penetrate the outer skin layer and begin to repair the skin from the deepest levels.

Remember that you may not be able to reverse all or even most of the damage to your skin but you can take positive steps towards regaining that healthy glow from your youth. Be patient with your body and your skin, allowing it the time it needs to repair itself. Create a plan and stick with it, even if you don’t see dramatic results right away. By learning why your skin is damaged and making the choice to help your skin rejuvenate itself, you have already taken the most difficult step. Commit to your health and to your body by not “looking” like a smoker any longer!

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