What happens to your skin when you quit smoking?

young woman refuses cigarettes shows with hands a stop symbolPatients who have been smoking for years may visit Dr. Kenrick A. Spence and Dr. Fernando Ovalle of Hillcrest Plastic Surgery in Orlando, FL, to find options for treating the unwanted signs of aging. Unfortunately, smoking is known to have an impact on your skin, and stopping smoking can provide improvement. However, some of the damage has already occurred, and restoring a youthful appearance might only be possible with plastic surgery.

What happens to the skin when you stop smoking?

When you smoke, the nicotine in cigarettes narrows your blood vessels. This restricts blood flow and makes your skin pale. It also damages collagen and elastin, the fibers which give the skin strength and elasticity. In addition, the facial expressions you make repetitively when smoking, like pursing your lips or squinting your eyes, can contribute to wrinkles.

Smoking also diminishes the body’s ability to repair itself, speeding up the aging process and can cause patients to look older than they really are. When patients stop smoking, they not only enjoy the health benefits but may have some aesthetic benefits as well.

So what exactly happens with your body when you quit smoking?

Within 20 minutes of quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure will drop. Twelve hours after quitting smoking, the carbon monoxide levels in your blood return to normal. Within two to three weeks, your circulation improves dramatically and lung function improves. Within several months, your coughing and any shortness of breath you experienced will decrease. The tiny hair-like structures which move mucus from the lungs, called celia, regain their normal function, which helps reduce your risk of infection. A year after quitting, the risk of coronary heart disease is about half that of a smoker’s. Your stroke risks also decreases.

What is done about the signs of aging caused by years of smoking?

Our team at Hillcrest Plastic Surgery in Orlando, FL, may recommend surgical or nonsurgical solutions for a patient based on their unique situation and budget. Injectables may be used to fill fine lines and wrinkles, or complete procedures such as a brow lift or facelift may be recommended to achieve the desired results. Call 407-999-2585 to request a consultation visit with our team. Find out if you are a good candidate for any of our treatment options.

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