Smoking, an accelerator of skin ageing

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Smoking accelerates skin ageing and encourages the appearance of small wrinkles. This is the conclusion of a study carried out on 82 volunteers, half of whom were regular smokers.

The smoking level of the 82 volunteers was quantified in “pack years”. For example, smoking a packet of 20 cigarettes per day for a year is equivalent to one pack year. The same quantity smoked for 15 years is expressed as 15 pack years.

The researchers gathered a range of information regarding the state of health and lifestyle of those taking part in the study. This included any medication being taken, exposure to the sun or to UV rays on tanning beds and, in the case of women, the number of pregnancies.

Each individual was photographed on 5 separate occasions on the inner side of the arm, close to the armpit.

The results showed only two variables have a significant impact on skin ageing in the areas not exposed to the sun: these are age and the number of cigarettes smoked per day.

Among those over the age of 45, the degree of skin ageing was shown to be far higher among smokers than among non-smokers and this was even more pronounced after the age of 65.

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