How smoking and sun affect your skin’s look and feel

You can buy products to maintain youthful skin, restore youthfulness to aged skin, remove blemishes, lighten/brighten/darken skin, minimize or eliminate wrinkles, and tighten sagging or puffy skin. But as effective as these are, they work better on skin that is already healthy.

Skin health and beauty- big business

Browse social media or news sites online and you notice skin health and appearance is a priority for most people. Sales for skin care and appearance products and services is a multi-billion dollar industry. If you’re on social media, you’ve probably seen posts from friends who are involved in direct selling companies for skin care, maybe you are also.

(By way of disclosure, I am a consultant for a direct selling company offering skincare products and makeup but won’t discuss any of those products in this post. However there will be other affiliate links through which this blog can earn a commission if you make a purchase through them.)

As a family physician, I treat skin problems frequently. Some of these are primary skin problems, but some are the result of lifestyle habits, other medical conditions, and even medical treatments. While some of these may be unavoidable, others are preventable.

This post will look at two avoidable risks to skin health and appearance-smoking and ultraviolet light. 

HOW SMOKING AND SUN AFFECT YOUR SKIN'S LOOK AND FEEL

Skin Deep- cells and layers

First let’s take a deeper look at our skin, it’s more complex than you may realize. It has two layers-

the top layer, the epidermis

the lower layer, the dermis

Layers of the Skin diagram

The layers of the skin (epidermis and dermis), as well as an inset with a close-up view of the types of cells in the skin (squamous cells, basal cells, and melanocytes). Source: National Cancer Institute Creator: Don Bliss (Illustrator) This image is in the public domain and can be freely reused. Please credit the source and, where possible, the creator listed above.

Skin disease and trauma involve damage to one or both layers of the skin- the dermis or epidermis, or to the individual cells- squamous cells, basal cells, or the melanocytes-the cells with pigment that give our skin color.

Cancers can develop in any cell of the skin. Melanoma is cancer of the melanocytes.

(This photo is for illustration only and should not be used to diagnose a skin lesion. See a physician if you have a skin lesion that concerns you. )

photo of melanoma skin cancer

a melanoma skin lesion-Source: National Cancer Institute Creator: Unknown Photographer- This image is in the public domain and can be freely reused. Please credit the source

Smoking

I’ve previously discussed 7 reasons to be smoke free. One of those is skin health.

By decreasing circulation, smoking robs skin of nourishment and oxygen; this weakens skin , making it susceptible to infection, cancer, and aging.

Skin experts wrote in the Journal of Dermatological Science

“Smoking is associated with many dermatological (skin) conditions, including

  • poor wound healing,
  • premature skin aging,
  • squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma,(cancers)
  • acne,
  • psoriasis, and
  • hair loss

Tobacco’s effect on  skin appearance include

  • Facial wrinkles and furrows (eg, crows’ feet at corners of the eyes,  smoker’s lines around lips)
  • Baggy eyelids and slack jawline
  • Uneven skin coloring: grayish, yellow with prominent blood vessels (telangiectasia)
  • Dry, coarse skin.

Long term, the skin of a 40-year-old heavy smoker will resemble that of non-smoking 70-year-old. !

Other potential hazards from tobacco use include

  • increased risk for bacterial, yeast, and viral skin infections
  • impaired circulation increasing the risk of frostbite, Raynaud’s syndrome, and blood clots (thrombosis)
  • thrush and gingivitis

DermNet NZ offers this gallery of photos illustrating these ways tobacco use can damage our skin.       ALERT: These photos are graphic.

No Smoking sign with pumpkins

Ask your doctor about safe and effective ways to help you stop smoking.

Ultraviolet light

Basking in sunlight may enhance our mood, but too much of it can damage our skin.

The signs of photo-aging are obvious to physicians-

  • yellowing or sallowing of the skin complexion
  • dry and rough texture with wrinkling,
  • unevenly pigmented skin tone with dilated blood vessels.
  • stretched out
  • easy bruising

Visit this link from the Canadian Dermatology Association to see what photoaged skin looks like

Photoaging

Photoaging is premature aging of the skin caused by repeated exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV), primarily from the sun but also from artificial UV sources, such as tanning beds. Besides aging, excess sun exposure can cause

  • Burns
  • Rash due to increased sun sensitivity when taking certain medications
  • Cancers- skin cancers are the most common type of cancer.

How to limit UV light exposure 

  • Use a broad spectrum sunscreen, SPF 15 or higher
  • Wear hats, sunglasses, sun protective clothing
  • Avoid sun exposure, especially from 10 am to 4 pm
  • No tanning bed use.

Learn more about the effects of sun exposure from familydoctor.org at this link.

What sun exposure does to our skin.

In future posts, I’ll talk more about what hurts our skin, and what helps our skin.

As always, I appreciate your time and interest in exploring and sharing the HEART of health with me. And I would especially appreciate if you will share this post wherever you hang out.

Thanks!

Dr. Aletha

a cute monkey checks out his face in a mirrow

We all care about our appearance, including this cute monkey. Photo by Andre Mouton on Pexels.com

A Message of Life from Eugene Peterson

The Presbyterian pastor, best known for authoring The Message Bible, died October 22 at age 85, a week after entering hospice care for complications related to heart failure and dementia.

This post featuring Bible verses from the modern language version The Message was originally published over a year ago. I am reposting it today in honor of the author Eugene Peterson who passed away this week.

Proverbs 18 The Message (MSG)

Words Kill, Words Give Life

Fools care nothing for thoughtful discourse;
all they do is run off at the mouth.

Many words rush along like rivers in flood,

but deep wisdom flows up from artesian springs. 

The words of a fool start fights;

do him a favor and gag him.

Fools are undone by their big mouths;
their souls are crushed by their words.

Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy;
do you really want junk like that in your belly?

13 Answering before listening

    is both stupid and rude.

15 Wise men and women are always learning,

    always listening for fresh insights.

17 The first speech in a court case is always convincing—

    until the cross-examination starts!

20 Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach;
    good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest.

21 Words kill, words give life;
    they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.

The Message (MSG)Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Better the poor whose walk is blameless than whose lips are perverse Proverbs 19:1 from YMI
a shareable image from YMI- Why Am I?, a platform for young people to ask questions about life and purpose; a part of Our Daily Bread Ministries

A Message of Life from Eugene Peterson

Eugene Peterson- offered Words of Life

Eugene Peterson has completed his “long obedience in the same direction.”

The Presbyterian pastor, best known for authoring The Message Bible, died October 22 at age 85, a week after entering hospice care for complications related to heart failure and dementia.

About his death, Peterson said this,

“I have no idea how it’s going to work out. But I’m not afraid, I’ll tell you that.

I’ve been with a lot of people who are dying. I think those conversations are some of the best I’ve ever had. These are people who have lived a good life and who have embraced their faith. They’re not afraid.”

He was the author of more than 30 books, including the bestselling A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, where he explored discipleship and perseverance in the Christian life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Message was the second title in the history of NavPress to sell more than a million copies, and has gone on to sell 20 million.

Peterson’s influence among the church extended long after his nearly 30-year tenure as pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian in Bel Air, Maryland.

 

 

His popularity famously reached U2 frontman Bono, and the two appeared in a film about the Psalms in 2016.

“I discovered Eugene Peterson’s The Message through the Psalms,” Bono said. “In the dressing room before a show, we would read them as a band, then walk out into arenas and stadiums, the words igniting us, inspiring us.”

 

 

 

 

 

Peterson was ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), taught at Regent College and held degrees from Seattle Pacific, New York Theological Seminary, and Johns Hopkins University.

Last year, CT published an excerpt from one of Peterson’s final works, As Kingfishers Catch Fire.

The story of our faith, our very existence, begins and ends with joy.

Joy at the beginning, joy at the end, joy everywhere in between.

Joy is God’s creation and gift. No authentic biblical faith is conceivable that is not permeated with it.”

His family saw Peterson live that divine joy through his final moments on earth.

“With full and overflowing hearts, we give thanks for the gift of his life,” they stated, “knowing that his joy is now complete.”

(from CT Christianity Today)

 

 

 

Please join me in extending sympathy and gratitude to the Peterson family, and prayers for their comfort and healing.

Dr. Aletha 

exploring the heart of health with faith, hope and love

 

 

 

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