Self-care · March 30, 2023

What Happens to Your Skin When You Quit Smoking?

If you want to quit smoking and live a healthier life, then good for you. It is not an easy road to go down when you finally decide to give up the cigarettes, but in the long run, it will benefit you greatly.

Not only will your body be a lot healthier, e.g. prevent diseases such as lung cancer (a major risk factor), and heart disease, as well as lower blood pressure, but it will also do wonders for your skin.

When you decide that quitting smoking is the way to go, you will notice the skin benefits the longer you keep away from that cigarette smoke.

Today, we will discuss how smoking affects the skin, what the benefits of stopping smoking can do, and what other things you can do to help your skin recover when you actually stop smoking.

How Does Smoking Affect Your Skin?

If you have seen the back of a cigarette packet, you have seen some awful images of what smoking can do to the body.

Pictures of diseased lungs, dirty fingers, skin cancer spots, and sore mouths from gum disease, seem to be plastered all over the packets to help scare people off.

But one thing that may not be talked about enough, but is still relevant, is how smoking affects the overall look of the skin.

A lot of skin damage can happen when someone smokes, and depending on how long they have smoked for, that damage can get worse and worse as the years go on.

Multiple skin conditions can develop and there is a higher risk of getting something that cannot be reversed, especially if they are too far along.

Below are some ways that skin is affected by smoking, so if you really need a push to quit smoking and you are in two minds, then these points below may just make you sit up and start taking care of your overall health, not just your skin health.

Crow’s Feet

As we get older, our skin cells don’t turnover as much as we want them to, which is why it is important we take in the right nutrients and take care of our skin.

We are more susceptible to crow’s feet around our eyes, but that can be made even worse by smoking.

Chemicals found in tobacco cause internal damage to the skin structure and the blood vessels around the eyes, deepening the appearance of crow’s feet.

Skin cell turnover is decreased so people look a lot older than they appear.

You need collagen production to help your skin look plumper and full. If you restrict that production and starve your body of vitamin C (which helps with producing collagen) through smoking, then your skin will take the hit.

Poor Skin Tone

Nicotine reduces the blood flow to the dermis layer of the skin, which means that less oxygen and nutrients are being delivered to the skin.

This makes the skin have a grey complexion and gives the appearance of sallowness which can make people look gaunt.

Blood flow is necessary for the skin to have a healthy glow and stop the look of sagging skin which contributes to premature ageing.

People’s intake of tobacco smoke will make this greying of the skin even worse as time goes on, which can make people self-conscious about what they look like.

Sagging Arms and Breasts

Not only will sagging skin affect the face, but it will make sure the body looks older than it is as well.

Your skin will lose elasticity, so any parts of your body that were taunt and firm will start to drop down.

This can be harder to rectify if smoking isn’t stopped, so no matter how many creams and scrubs you use to help firm up your skin again, the issue comes from inside so you will need to look at what smoking cessation options are out there to get your figure back.

Age Spots

Age spots can happen to anyone, especially if they spend a lot of time in the sun without the proper SPF protection, however, for smokers, these age spots can be a lot worse.

They can make skin look uneven and make it look a lot older than it is.

People can go for treatments such as laser skin resurfacing to reverse the effects, but if they continue to keep smoking, it isn’t going to make much difference as they will just come back.

Stained Fingers

You can tell a smoker by their fingers as they will be stained yellow from where they have held their cigarette.

Not only with your fingers be stained but your fingernails will have yellow caked inside which won’t come out after one scrub.

Luckily, the skin repairs slightly after quitting smoking, so these stains can reduce, but you will have to actively clean them properly too, so you can make sure that they have been eradicated.

The Skin Benefits of Quitting Smoking

After reading through what smoking does to your skin, hopefully, you are putting down the cigarettes and rethinking what you should be doing.

If you are teetering on the edge, then here are some benefits to quitting smoking that might sway you in the right direction.

Slows Down The Ageing Process

It will take a while for your skin to repair itself, but you will notice that the bad skin you had before starts to get better once you quit smoking.

The collagen production will start up again, vitamin C will be able to get back into your system and you won’t look at gaunt as you used to.

Reduces The Discolouration and Staining

As mentioned before, your fingers will get stained and your skin will look discoloured from the smoke.

Once you stop, this will start to repair once the oxygen and nutrients get back to your skin and start healing you.

Your skin will appear brighter and the glow you used to have will come back, but you will need the help of skin care products and attention to get it looking fresher.

Increased Cell Turnover

You want your cells to turn over to help your body function and look good, so when you put down the packet of cigarettes you will start to get this up and running again.

You will get more blood flow to your skin, meaning that wrinkles will look less and any wounds you may have, e.g. acne scars will start to repair properly.

What Else Can be Done to Help The Skin?

If you really want to make sure that your skin heals itself properly, then you are going to need to do a few more things that can set the wheels in motion so that you are happy with your skin.

Eat a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet contributes to a healthy body, but another added benefit is supporting your skin in its recovery.

Make sure you get enough vitamins and minerals as well as drink enough water to keep your body hydrated since dehydration can cause the skin to sag and look older as well.

Prioritising Keeping Fit

Regularly taking part in cardio-based exercises has been shown to help improve the condition of the skin giving it a fuller and plumper appearance.

Using Sunscreen

Skin will age more when exposed to the sun if it is not protected properly.

You need vitamin D from the sun, but you have to make sure that you are protecting yourself also, as smoking will make your skin worse, so you need to keep it protected once you quit smoking to stop any additional problems from cropping up.

Getting Enough Sleep

Your skin will repair itself when you are asleep, just like your other organs will.

This is why a sleep schedule is important and will help your body maintain itself, as poor sleep can make the body not function properly and cause the skin to look sallow.

It is important that you put a priority on self-care to support yourself, and sleep is a main factor in that.

Create a Targeted Skin Care Routine

We all have different needs for our skin, so if you want to keep your skin looking good or repair it after you have been smoking, then you will need to find out what skin care products would be best and use them daily.

Speak to a dermatologist if you are unsure about what products you should be using and at what strength, they will put you on the correct path for your skin health.


So, what happens to your skin when you quit smoking? Quite a lot which is a positive for those who want to get off cigarettes.

It won’t be easy as smoking is classed as an addiction that can be hard to shake, but if you stay focused on the goal at hand, then you will do wonders for yourself and your health.

Whilst taking care of your skin is important, you also need to think of the benefits it will bring when it comes to your overall health.