Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Smokers Age Faster and Wrinkle More than Non-Smokers
It used to be thought that smokers developed smokers lines above their lip because of the way they dragged on the cigarette but now we know that smoking causes more wrinkles because of the lack of oxygen to the skin. Carbon Monoxide is a main component of smoke (yes the same gas coming out the tailpipe of your car-the next smoker you see, just think that they are sucking on that tailpipe and sending that poisonous gas to their heart). Carbon monoxide binds to the red blood cells faster than oxygen, so the body believes it is not getting enough oxygen. It does two things. 1. It conserves oxygen and closes down the small blood vessels to non-essential organs, which is largely the skin. That is why smokers have a gray cast to their skin color and develop wrinkles and also why the color of their skin improves dramatically when they stop smoking. 2. The body adjusts to the lack of oxygen by creating more red blood cells. A simple blood test will show a high red blood cell count. This affects smokers when they quit because without the carbon monoxide to bind with the excess of red blood cells, the quitter can experience too much oxygen and have headaches, tingling in the fingers and toes from the blood vessels opening up. A tip to quitting is to go give blood when you stop. If not, the body will even itself out after a few weeks. Just another good reason to quit.