4 Ways Smoking Kills Your Looks

It's been well-documented that smoking ruins your health, affecting everything from your lungs to your taste buds to your heart. A persistent smoking habit might even kill you. But did you know that puffing on cigarettes can also wreak havoc on your looks? Actors may appear sultry and glamorous when lighting up on-screen, but in real life, the tobacco habit can downgrade you from hot to "not." Here's a rundown of just some of the ways smoking is a blight on beauty:

  • It ages your skin. Smoking does this in a couple of ways. First, inhaling nicotine causes tiny blood vessels closest to your outermost layer of skin to narrow. With impaired blood flow, your skin is deprived of oxygen and important nutrients that keep it healthy and elastic. Second, those funny faces you make when you smoke-squinting your eyes and pursing your lips-contribute to a bad case of wrinkles over time.
  • It wrecks your smile. Who wants to look at a mouthful of stained teeth? Friends and loved ones of smokers have no choice. But not only does nicotine turn your teeth an unlovely shade of brown, research shows that smokers lose more teeth than nonsmokers. Smokers also are at higher risk of oral cancers, which can mean unsightly sores on the lips, tongue, or gums. And gum recession and bad breath won't do wonders for your social life.
  • It causes eye problems. Heavy smokers are at much higher risk than others of developing a cataract. A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that causes loss of vision. People with cataracts may be able to make out blurry images. In serious cases surgery may be required, but loss of vision may be permanent. Smoking also causes your eyes to become bloodshot due to chemical inflammation. Your eyes may itch as well.
  • It takes the shine out of your hair. Everyone wants a lustrous head of hair, right? Well, if you smoke, you're risking your mane. Studies have shown that female smokers are more likely to go gray early, while male smokers are more likely to go bald. The likely reason? Toxic chemicals in cigarettes damage hair follicles and play havoc with hormones.

If health risks won't lead you to quit, maybe vanity will. Get yourself to a mirror and take a long, honest look. Is that next puff worth squandering your appearance on? Save your health and save your looks-quit smoking today.



National Institutes of Health

New York Times

American Dental Association

American Academy of Periodontology

Smoking Cessation

University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey