Smoking causes wrinkles by upsetting the body’s mechanism for renewing skin. Dermatologists say the finding confirms the long-held view that smoking ages skin prematurely. Skin stays healthy and young-looking because of a fine balance between two processes that are constantly at work.
The first breaks down old skin while the second makes new skin. The body breaks down the old skin with enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases, or MMPs. They chop up the fibers that form collagen – the connective tissue that makes up around 80 percent of normal skin.
Researchers suspected that smoking disrupted the body’s natural process of breaking down old skin and renewing it. To test their idea, they first made a solution of cigarette smoke by pumping smoke through a saline solution. Smoke was sucked from cigarettes for two seconds every minute. fine drops of this smoke solution were added to dishes of human fibroblasts, the skin cells that produce collagen.
After a day in contact with smoke solution, the researchers tested the skin cells to see how much collagen-degrading MMP they were making and they found that cells exposed to cigarette smoke had produced far more MMP than normal skin cells.
The also tested the skin cells to see how much new collagen they were producing and found that the smoke caused a drop in the production of fresh collagen by up to 40%. this combined effect of degrading collagen more rapidly and producing less new collagen is probably what causes premature skin ageing in smokers. In both cases, the more concentrated the smoke solution the greater the effect on collagen.
You would have to be living under some rock for the last few decades to not understand that smoking is not good for you. However, the reason I put this article in as it provides some documentation for the “crow’s feet”skin wrinkling that is so characteristic of people who have smoked for a long time. I believe this is due to oxidative damage induced by the smoking. Individuals who participate in excessive cardiovascular aerobic type activity, such as marathon running, who do not use optimalantioxidant protection will have very similar skin damage.
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