Why People Who Smoke Look Old

You know why babies look so young? They don’t smoke! Also they’re babies! Ok Jules wrote this joke didn’t he? Hey puffy people, Julian here for Dnews! We all know smoking can dramatically shorten
your lifespan and give you a whole host of terrible diseases. But did you know it can also make you look
like you chose poorly when trying to figure out which cup is the Holy Grail? For non-fans of Indiana Jones, in which case…
why?, what I’m trying to say is that smoking can make you look older than you are, and
not in a good way, like a beard might. And that’s not just anecdotal. In November 2013, a study in the Journal of
the American Society of Plastic Surgeons compared 79 pairs of twins at a Twins Day Festival
in Twinsburg, Ohio. That’s a lot of twins. Anyway, they only chose pairs where one was
a smoker and the other a non-smoker, or, if they were both smokers, that one had smoked
for five years longer than the other. The researchers took photographs of the twins
to plastic surgeons, and asked them to point out “specific components of facial aging”
related to smoking, and to figure out which of the two was the smoker. 57 percent of the time, the surgeons got it
right and pointed out parts of the face which reflected smoke-related aging the most. Specifically, smokers were more likely to
have redundant or saggy eyelid skin, bags under the eyes, baggy skin on the cheekbones
(also called malar bags or festoons), nasolabial folds (or laugh lines), upper and lower lip
wrinkles, and jowls. But, why? Why does smoking make you look like Rip Van
Winkle? Well, part of it has to do with nicotine’s
effect as a vasoconstrictor, meaning, it narrows your blood vessels, allowing less blood through. Since oxygen is carried through the body by
blood, your skin receives less oxygen. Skin cells need oxygen to rebuild themselves,
and when it is restricted, they do a worse job, causing noticeable changes in the condition
of your skin. In addition, smoking lowers the number of
red blood cells in your body. Too few red blood cells, a condition called
anemia, can cause a loss of color in the skin, making it appear grayer or lighter, also called
pallor. While smokers might not always be clinically
anemic, they do see similar effects. Additionally, smokers tend to have saggier
skin overall, but especially in the face. This is because skin firmness and suppleness
is dictated by how much collagen is produced by the body. Collagen is a type of structural protein in
tissue, and a study from 2002 found that certain types were synthesized about 20% less in smokers,
leading to premature facial wrinkling and poor wound healing. And don’t forget, poor wound healing also
means more scarring. With saggy, scarred, pale skin, it’s no
wonder smoking makes you look older. So, don’t start smoking kids. We can’t do episodes like this without our
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music to life indoors and out. Check it out at themonsterblaster.com/dnews. So what if you want to quit smoking. Well, we have a video about the best ways
to do that, here. Did you ever smoke and noticed, you know,
things weren’t so great up here? Let us know about it in the comments, subscribe
for more and I’ll see you next time on DNews.