Most people know the common health complications associated with smoking, like lung cancer and heart disease. However, there are also a number of ways that smoking can affect your skin, many of which are quite serious.
Smoking can cause your skin to age more quickly. You’re more likely to develop wrinkles, crow’s feet and drooping skin at an earlier age. You can also be subject to broken blood vessels and uneven skin coloring, and your skin can become dry and coarse.
Smoking makes wounds heal more slowly. When you smoke you have a greater risk of graft or flare-up failure, wound infection, blood clot formation and death of tissue. Smoking also contributes to leg ulcers, specifically diabetic foot ulcers and arterial ulcers.
Smoking makes you more susceptible to viral infections like genital warts. If you smoke and have genital warts, there is a greater chance that you could develop cancers associated with the wart-virus. This includes cervical cancer, vulvar cancer, intraepithelial cancer and penile intraepithelial cancer.
Smokers are twice as likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. If you smoke, you also have an increased risk of developing oral leukoplakia (precancer) and oral cancer. Smokers make up 75 percent of the cases of oral cancer.
Smokers have a higher risk of psoriasis, a scaly skin condition. Psoriasis is often more severe and extensive in those who smoke, especially if they have metabolic syndrome as well. There is a form of localized psoriasis called palmoplantar pustulosis (or palmoplantar pustular psoriasis) that is more common in smokers than in those who don’t smoke. This condition produces painful, pus-filled lesions on the palms and soles.
Smoking can increase the risk of many different types of vascular disease, which affect the body’s ability to sustain proper blood flow. Some vascular issues associated with smoking are:
- Raynaud’s syndrome
- blood clots
- Systemic sclerosis
- Buerger disease
Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus
If you smoke, your risk of developing discoid lupus erythematosus increases tenfold. With this autoimmune skin condition, your face can develop scaly red lesions that scar. This type of lupus also causes hair loss.
This skin conditions can affect more than just the surface of your skin or your appearance. The damage that smoking causes to the body are often things that can’t be repaired. For a healthy life, avoid the dangers of smoking.
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