Tips: 7 Ways to Improve Your Skin after Quitting Smoking
Congratulations on kicking the habit! Smoking cigarettes is one of the most harmful behaviors on the planet. Smokers have a high risk of developing serious diseases such as heart disease and lung disease, along with other health issues like infertility, immune disorders, and arthritis.
Beyond these health concerns, smoking was very detrimental to your skin. The cigarettes may be a thing of the past, but many ex-smokers will notice that their aging symptoms and skin damage caused by years of smoking continue to persist.
While completely reversing these effects may not be possible, there are some simple steps you can do to minimize their appearance.
1. Eat Better
The food you eat can help (or harm) the appearance of your skin. Vitamin A and vitamin C are very important to skin health as they protect the skin from free radicals while supporting collagen development (a key aspect of keeping aging at bay). Unfortunately, most smokers have deficiencies in both vitamins as the act of smoking can lower the body’s’ ability to absorb these two vitamins. Try to change your diet by eating foods that are high in both vitamins, like broccoli, oranges, and green leafy vegetables.
2. Take Vitamins
Another way to make sure your skin has enough healthy vitamins is to take daily supplements. Vitamins A and C are extremely important (as stated above), while vitamins K and D can also be beneficial to skin health. Look for a well-known daily vitamin with high levels of each of these essential vitamins.
The best way to contract skin dryness or dullness (issues common to many ex-smokers) is to make sure your body stays properly hydrated. Proper hydration is essential keeping the skin looking youthful and vibrant. Focus on increasing your long-term intake of water. Drink at least 8 eight-ounce glasses over the course of a day (more if you undertake physical activities).
4. Use Sunscreen
Every time you step out into the sun your skin is being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays. The long-term aggregation of UV exposure can result skin damage, aging symptoms, and skin cancer development. Protect your skin from the sun by wearing a high sun protection factor (SPF) sunscreen every day. Choose a broad-spectrum formula, which will shield the skin from bot ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. For more information, see our guide to picking the best sunscreen for your skin type!
5. Cleanse & Moisturize
Maintaining a sound daily skin care regimen is a great way to rejuvenate and restore the skin. Two of the biggest pillars of any routine should be cleansing (to remove built up dirt and debris) and moisturizing (to lock hydration into the skin). Regularly exfoliating can also help your skin appear more vibrant as older appearing skin is removed to expose a fresh new layer.
6. Consider Anti-Aging Products
Adding anti-aging products into your skin care regimen can help subdue any early onset aging you’ve acquired through smoking. There are many great over-the-counter products to consider including antioxidant-rich serums or alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) containing creams. More powerful topical products like Retin-A, a prescription strength retinoid, is also available through a dermatologist.
7. In-Office Treatments
Finally, there are many great cosmetic treatments which can counteract severe skin damage and aging. Long-term smokers may benefits from in-office treatments like Botox, dermal fillers, dermabrasion, and laser skin resurfacing.