We all know that smoking can have all kinds of negative repercussions on overall health, and that these effects are well-documented. It’s not easy to quit smoking though, and many people make attempts that are ultimately unsuccessful.

In an effort to aid smokers in their transition to a smoke-free life, or simply to provide an alternative to the cigarettes themselves, products such as nicotine gum and e-cigarettes have appeared on the market. E-cigarettes (electronic cigarettes) are cigarette-shaped devices that deliver nicotine through “vaping.” The only byproduct that is released is water vapor. These devices are, in some ways, much healthier than traditional cigarettes. They remove the problem of secondhand smoke, for instance.

But there is still a lot of controversy surrounding e-cigarettes, mostly regarding their potential health risks and the issue of allowing them indoors. Regular cigarettes are known to rapidly accelerate skin aging, but are e-cigarettes less of a culprit? Or are they just as bad as traditional cigarettes in this respect?

The Effect of Nicotine

When it comes to accelerated aging related to cigarettes, the real culprit is nicotine, not smoke. Nicotine is known to narrow the blood vessels and deprive them of nutrients and oxygen. If that sounds scary, it is. Smokers experience rapid decline in skin quality, with dull, sagging, wrinkled skin, and brittle hair due to the effects of nicotine. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is not limited to only traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes also contain nicotine and can have similar effects, though it’s not yet clear how severe the effects are, as research on these products is minimal thus far.

Other Chemicals

Nicotine and smoke are not the only factors that make cigarettes harmful to the body and encourage premature aging. They also contain a cocktail of harmful chemicals, many of which are carcinogenic. While e-cigarettes are thought to be healthier than cigarettes, they still contain many of these chemicals. Some of these are linked to serious health problems like high blood pressure and heart disease, as well as accelerated aging.

Wrinkles and Stains

Staining of the teeth is common with tobacco use, and while it is true that e-cigarette use will bypass this issue, there are other potential issues that can still occur, such as “smoker’s wrinkles” around the mouth. Because “smoking” an e-cigarette requires the same motions as a traditional cigarette, the repetitive puckering motion of the mouth can cause vertical lines known as smoker’s wrinkles to form.

Little Research

Unfortunately, the amount of research that has been done on e-cigarettes to this point is still fairly minimal. They are a newer product, and little is known about their long-term effects on health. If possible, it is best to stop using nicotine products entirely, as there are many risks associated with the chemicals in e-cigarettes, as well as traditional cigarettes. However, if you are unable to cease the use of nicotine products, e-cigarettes are probably a better option than cigarettes or chewing tobacco.

Skin Treatments

For people who have experienced accelerated aging over the years from tobacco use, there are options for people who have quit and want to improve the appearance of their skin. There are many popular anti-aging treatments that can help improve overall skin quality, wrinkling, and sagging skin, including:

Everyone’s needs are different, and only a qualified plastic surgeon can advise you on which procedures are likely to work best for you.

Moving Forward

Unfortunately, due to the negative effects of nicotine on healing, smokers and e-cigarette users are generally not eligible for skin treatments or plastic surgery until they have stopped using nicotine products for at least a few weeks or month prior to treatment. Considering the aesthetic repercussions of these products, it is not a good idea for patients to continue using the products after they have healed.

If you would like to discuss your anti-aging options with a qualified facial plastic surgeon, come to Batniji Facial Plastic Surgery in Newport Beach (949-650-8882) or Beverly Hills (310-467-2180) and meet with Dr. Rami K. Batniji. Dr. Batniji is a board certified and experienced specialist. He can advise you on your goals and help you to come up with a plan of action and the treatment that is right for you. Call either location today to schedule your consultation.