The medical risks associated with smoking are numerous–various cancers of the lungs and mouth, heart disease, and stroke can all be caused by years of tobacco use. A lesser-known result of smoking is premature wrinkling of the skin on the face and other parts of the body.

Smoking causes wrinkling because the nicotine found in cigarettes causes narrowing in the blood vessels in the outermost layers of the skin. Without adequate blood flow, the skin does not receive the oxygen and nutrients it needs for growth and regeneration. In addition, chemicals in tobacco smoke damage collagen. This reduces elasticity in the skin, causing wrinkling and making them more visible. Repeated exposure to heat contributes to wrinkling as well, and the actions one performs while smoking (pursing lips, sucking in) have an effect on aging.

Smokers with heavy wrinkling of the skin should also know that in a 2006 study smokers with a large number of facial wrinkles were more likely to have severe lung damage than less-wrinkled smokers. Please consider seeing a physician to discuss possible lung damage.

People looking to get rid of their smoker’s wrinkles should first immediately quit all tobacco use to prevent the skin damage from getting worse. They should then consult a physician to discuss various treatment options which may include dermabrasion, lasers, or injectable fillers.

Dermabrasion is the most effective remedy for deep wrinkling caused by decades of smoking. In this procedure, the skin is sanded down using a high-speed brush. The skin is raw and sensitive after the procedure and may take up to two weeks to recover. Lasers and injectable fillers are more effective for newer, shallow wrinkles.

If you have finally kicked the habit and are interested in exploring options to improve smoker’s wrinkles, seek out a board-certified facial plastic surgeon. Dr. Batniji is available for consultations at his practice, Batniji Facial Plastic Surgery, located in Newport Beach, California.  Contact him today at 949-650-8882.