Beauty

6 ways smoking ruins your looks

Cigarettes are notorious for the damage they do internally, but the news is just as bad on the outside.

Smoking is bad for you – we all know that part. Shame, it doesn’t stop plenty of people from getting in on the action.

For years, TV and print campaigns have hammered the deadly consequences of this habit into our brains, but there’s one that’s often ignored (and its one many of us care about the most). Our looks.

A new initiative from the Queensland Government shines the spotlight on the physical effects of smoking, with their campaign ‘Your Future’s Not Pretty’. “Basically, we took someone and aged them to be what they’d look like if they smoke for the next 15 years,” says Dr Jeannette Young, Queensland Chief Health Officer.

The campaign video shows young women being made under, so they can see the negative impact toxic cigarette chemicals have on a woman’s skin, hair, eyes and nails. It’s an eye-opener, to say the least:

So how exactly do you go from fresh-faced to far from it? Let’s break it down…

Your hair loses its amazing-ness: The chemicals in cigarettes attack the DNA that’s hanging out in your hair follicles. That means hair becomes thin, grey, weak, dry, brittle and dull – all the exact opposite of the hair Gisele Bundchen flips in front of the camera.

You’ll age before your time: Plenty of us drop serious cash on hyped-up beauty products that promise to turn back the clock, stop wrinkles forming, and keep us looking 22 until we’re 50. Smokers tend to look older than they actually are (which stops being a fun thing once you turn 18) because those nasty toxins they’re breathing in decrease the blood supply to your skin. You need that stuff to keep tissue looking, and feeling, healthy – that’s why smoker’s skin often looks wrinkled and sallow.

You’ve increased your risk of psoriasis: The dry skin disorder is an immune disease that’s often passed on genetically, but smokers bump up their odds of suffering from it by 20% (or 50% if you’re a long-time pack-a-day smoker – eek!).

Your teeth will never forgive you: Yep, nicotine essentially rots your teeth. Your teeth will begin to stain shades of brown and yellow, but the underlying decay that’s occurring can lead to oral cancer and gum disease in the long run. That’s seriously scary stuff.

You’ll perma-paint your nails yellow: Trust us - it’s not your colour. The yellow stain is a two-fold effect; partly due to the chemicals in cigarettes, and partly from the orange filter that touches your fingers when you hold one. On a deeper level, nails become brittle and prone to breaking – which we all know is the absolute worst.

The bags under your eyes won’t be designer: It goes like this – cigarettes inhibit your ability to get a good night’s sleep, which means tossing and turning all night, and that leads to fluid pooling under your eyes. Cue dark circles and unwanted bags. Pass!

Call us conceited, but we care too much about our looks to throw them away on a packet of cigarettes…