LET’S TALK ABOUT TABOOS: SKINCARE FOR SMOKERS
Skincare has a few basic tenets that don’t change too much. Remove your makeup before sleeping. Cleanse (preferably, double-cleanse). Tone, treat skin issues, and moisturize. These are all essential steps that everyone can go by, with a few tweaks for specifics.
Choosing to smoke or not is an individual decision. Where a smoker’s skin is different (sorry, it is different), is its exposure to heat from cigarettes, and damage from the chemicals in cigarette smoke. Our goal is to help combat some of the skincare issues that arise specifically when and if you smoke. Everyone should have a great skincare routine that is customized for them, so here’s what you need to watch for.
Dull Skin: Where Did My Glow Go?
Smoking constricts the capillaries (tiny veins) in your skin, and also causes you to produce fewer red blood cells, reducing oxygen flow. This causes skin to become dull, discoloured, and lose it’s glow. You might have noticed dark spots as well - the chemicals in smoke make you more susceptible to age spots and hyperpigmentation by depleting essential vitamins which protect you from UV damage and pollution. Whoever you are, it’s important to always wear sunscreen. This is even more important if you spend prolonged periods smoking outdoors.
For dull skin and dark spots, vitamin C is your friend! It helps to fight free-radicals (pollution), and restores even tone. Here are some products to help you get some needed vitamin C:
Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop
Vitamin C can be an issue for people with sensitive skin. This formula is made to be non-irritating and gentle, so anyone can use it! Besides ascorbic acid (the source of vitamin C), it also boasts centella (an incredible repairing ingredient), a huge hit of antioxidant-rich botanical extracts, and peptides (which encourage collagen production). A true multi-tasking product!
By Wishtrend Pure Vitamin C 21.5% Advanced Serum
If you need a serious dose of vitamin C, this serum has a relatively high concentration of ascorbic acid. It is also composed largely of sea buckthorn water (70%). Sea buckthorn is a great source of fatty acids, which help keep your skin barrier healthy, and thus prevent moisture loss. It’s also high in vitamins which condition and tone, restoring your skin’s healthy glow.
Dehydration: Low Flow
The addictive ingredient in cigarettes, nicotine, is a diuretic. This means it promotes dehydration and reduces blood flow. Reduced blood flow in your skin means less oxygen and less nutrients, resulting in dry skin.
A convenient way to continually refresh and re-moisturize skin is to use a hydrating mist. These mists often also contain beneficial botanical extracts, and help to strengthen your skin barrier. They’re portable, so spritz them on your skin whenever it needs a pick-me-up.Pyunkang Yul Mist Toner
This is the brand to use if you have sensitivities to certain ingredients and need to stick with the basics. This mist is 93% coptis japonica root extract, a traditional medicinal plant with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties to calm irritated skin. It also contains a tried-and-true moisture-retaining superstar, sodium hyaluronate.COSRX Low pH PHA Barrier Mist
Your skin barrier (or moisture barrier) has two main jobs: keep moisture in, keep bacteria out. Smoking weakens your skin barrier and can throw off its pH. It’s actually slightly acidic, and it’s important to keep it that way so it doesn’t get imbalanced. Enter the pH balancing mist. This low pH mist returns your barrier to its proper, slightly acidic state, helping it to function as it should. The formula contains a whopping 98% coconut fruit extract which is full of fatty acids and vitamins, further strengthening your skin and preventing moisture loss.
Blackheads: Clogged Up Pores
There’s no other way to put it - smoking clogs pores. The t-zone (the forehead down to the nose area) is frequently exposed to the chemicals in cigarette smoke, which build up in pores and cause blackheads. In order to release the buildup in the skin, try using a purifying clay mask. Exfoliants also help to remove dead skin and surface debris that block pores and make skin dull.
Cosrx BHA Black Head Power Liquid
This is a skincare favourite - an exfoliating liquid that uses a mix of willow bark and betaine salicylate to buff off dead skin and dirt. As a bonus, it also contains niacinamide, an anti-aging, brightening ingredient that can help skin look plumper and healthier.Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask
Kaolin is a type of white clay with purifying properties. Like charcoal, it draws out impurities and dirt, leaving pores clear and reducing their appearance. It’s also moisturizing, great for dry skin.
Aging: Smoker’s Lines and Crow’s Feet
The decrease in oxygen caused by smoking causes collagen and elastin to break down faster. This isn’t good, since collagen and elastin are what keep skin plump, elastic, and smooth-looking. Long term smoking can also cause something called “smoker’s lines”: vertical lines around the mouth caused by damaging smoke and the repeated movement of the lips required to puff at a cigarette. Crow’s feet, or lines that emanate from the outer corner of the eyes are also common, as the skin around the eyes is delicate and often the first place lines and wrinkles appear. Look for products that encourage collagen production (like peptides) and are high in anti-oxidants that replenish lost vitamins and protect skin.Huxley Brightly Ever After Essence
This is the essence to use if you need something that does everything. Cactus seed oil helps moisturize and fights free-radicals from smoke and UV rays. Niacinamide is both anti-aging and brightening, and sea buckthorn is high in vitamins, giving skin an all-around boost.
Benton Fermentation Essence
Fermented ingredients are anti-aging staples - they absorb well, are effective, and are unlikely to irritate. Benton’s fermentation essence uses two types of yeast ferments (galactomyces ferment filtrate and bifida ferment lysate) which have been found to be highly effective. This product is also full of moisturizing ingredients: sodium hyaluronate, allantoin, and panthenol, with ceramides to lock it all in!
Customizing your skincare products to address whatever issues you have can go a long way to making your skin feel and look healthier. The most important thing is to use skincare that works for you!