How Smoking Causes Early Aging and Premature Wrinkles

Does Drinking And Smoking Increase Signs Of Aging?

How Smoking Causes Early Aging and Premature Wrinkles

If you’re regularly ingesting large amounts of alcohol, you are putting yourself at risk for developing noticeably increased signs of physical aging. This increase in aging symptoms occurs as alcohol attacks the various components of your body and deteriorates your natural beauty.

Common aging symptoms associated with excessive alcohol consumption include:

  • Regularly dry skin
  • Increased severity of wrinkles
  • Rosacea (a red darkening of the skin)
  • Psoriasis (sores breaking out across your skin)
  • Bloating and puffiness
  • Red eyes with severe bags
  • Brittle, dry hair

Beyond these beauty problems, organs in your body can suffer from severe damage due to sustained exposure to alcohol.

Regular excessive consumption of alcohol causes cardiovascular problems including heart attacks, strokes, and hypertension; severe liver damage that can cause cirrhosis; inflammation of the pancreas, resulting in severe pain, nausea, vomiting, and fever; and interference with the proper functioning of the kidneys.

As this physical damage ravages your body, its vital components will begin to work improperly or even shut down. As this occurs, your body will begin looking and feeling prematurely aged. It’s not uncommon to see a person with a lifelong addiction to alcohol who looks 15-20 years older than their natural age.

Alcohol Also Directly Affects Your Mental Processes

Studies by the National Institute of Alcohol and Abuse and Alcoholism has found that an addiction to alcohol severely ages the brain, slows its neurological processes, and causes serious cognitive issues.

People who have struggled with alcohol addiction often suffer from lapses of memory, difficulty creating new memories, or even retaining long-term memories. Much of this damage is caused by an increase in stress hormones in the body generated by persistent exposure to alcohol.

These stress chemicals create a state of crisis readiness that causes your heart rate to increase, your mind to race, and high levels of emotion to run rampant. Unfortunately, a state of sustained stress wears down on your mind and causes irreparable damage. Much of this damage will be focused on the nerve cells in the hippocampus, the center of emotion and stress management.

As a result, people who regularly ingest excessive alcohol often find it harder and harder to regulate their emotions and their levels of stress, making themselves feel older and less able.

Smoking Ravages Your Body

Heavy or lifelong smokers often experience a whole litany of early aging symptoms. And when smoking is combined with drinking, these symptoms only increase in their severity. Common beauty problems caused by smoking include:

  • Thinner hair that goes gray more quickly
  • Yellow-stained teeth
  • Cavities and other dental problems
  • Baggy eyes
  • Increased risk of psoriasis (a skin condition that causes skin cells to grow too quickly, resulting in thick, white, silver, or red patches of skin)
  • Premature wrinkles
  • Yellow fingers
  • Scars caused by minor cuts that heal more slowly

These physical and beauty concerns are nothing compared to the severe physical damage caused by smoking. Smokers often experience severely decreased eyesight, cataracts, and poor tastes of scent or smell.

Smoking also causes severe damage to the lungs, including emphysema; damage to the cardiovascular system, including poor cholesterol, heart damage, and restricted veins; gingivitis and gum inflammation; increased risk of cancers; high risk of developing diabetes; and potential infertility or impotence.

All of these problems will leave your body in a devastating state, aged beyond its years.

Smoking Will Damage Your Brain

Studies have shown that smoking, alcohol, seriously impacts the functioning of your brain and causes severe premature mental aging. A study published in Molecular Psychiatry found that smokers had a much thinner cortex than people who didn’t smoke. This area of the brain is responsible for such important processes and language and perception.

While the cortex naturally thins with age (the main cause of aging-related mental deterioration), smoking appeared to severely increase this speed. Thankfully, quitting smoking appeared to help restore some of the thickness of the cortex, but not all.

Quitting Now Can Help

Thankfully, quitting smoking and drinking may help halt premature aging symptoms and even decrease their severity.

So, even if you have suffered from a lifelong addiction to either tobacco or alcohol, there are still benefits to quitting. If you need help in your quest to quit, please contact us at Vertava Health today.

Our helpful counselors can help you find a alcoholic detox and rehab treatment option that is right for you.


Premature Aging: The Four Biggest Culprits to Watch For

How Smoking Causes Early Aging and Premature Wrinkles

It happens to all of us: A random backache, a wrinkle, a new slang phrase you have no idea the meaning of — something that leads us to question, “when did I start to get so old?” As a mother of teenagers, I of course have had my own experiences, but as a family medicine doctor, I often help patients navigate the part that comes after: The “how do I make it stop?” phase.

Meet Mona Brownfield, MD, Family Medicine Provider

Sun Exposure

Now, don’t get me wrong. Daily sunlight can have quite a few advantages for our mental and physical health, but we don’t need that much sun to experience the benefits — ten minutes is plenty enough to get our recommended vitamin D. Anything beyond, without proper sun protection, starts to put our skin at risk for cancer and premature aging.

Aging Effects: Paper-Thin Skin, Sagging Skin, Dark Spots

One of the biggest misconceptions I hear is sun exposure just makes your skin thick and leathery, when in fact, the opposite can be just as true.

Too much sun exposure can break down our skin’s elasticity causing it to be thick leather or thin tissue paper.

Not only that, UV rays can damage collagen proteins in the skin, leading to sagging or loose skin, and speed up the production of melanin (cells that give the skin its color) causing dark age spots.

How to Prevent It

Sunscreen. I know, that’s not the most exciting answer, especially with a multibillion-dollar skin care industry, but sunscreen and other forms of sun protection are the best way to prevent sun damage and premature aging.

I’ve found the easiest way to make sure I’m protecting my skin is to build it into my morning routine. There are a lot of creams and makeup products available with a sun protection factor (SPF) or 35 or more that can make it an easy integration. There’s even clothing with SPF ratings as well.

Just remember to protect your hands — they’re easy to forget but can be one of the first spots to age.


The health reasons alone should be enough to avoid smoking — after all, it’s considered the number one cause of preventable disease, disability and death according to the World Health Organization — but in terms of premature aging, smoking is definitely not one to preserve our youth.

Aging Effects: Wrinkled Skin, Sagging Skin, Yellowed or Grayed Skin, Undereye Bags, Stained Teeth, Thinning Hair

Not only does smoking break down our skin’s elasticity and strength, it can shrink the size of our blood vessels and limit the oxygen our skin receives, leading to wrinkled, sagging skin.

We don’t often consider DNA in our hair follicles to be a living thing, but toxic chemicals found in cigarettes can actually damage that DNA and cause hair to thin, turn gray or fall out altogether.

And nicotine, the most popular chemical associated with tobacco, is the reason for stained teeth and skin, leading to that aged yellow look.

Exposure to Loud Noise

Long-lasting exposure to loud noises isn’t usually one that’s on my patients’ radar until they start to experience its adverse effects on their hearing. When I say loud noises, I’m not just talking about rock concerts and industrial machinery, which are usually the first things people think of; I’m talking about boats, lawn mowers, movie theaters and even vacuuming.

Aging Effects: Hearing Loss

Exposure to loud noise can damage the little hair cells in our ears that carry sound to our brain. Once those hairs are broken, they can’t regrow, and the less hairs we have, the worse our hearing.


Stress has a fascinating way of impacting our bodies, whether it’s the more obvious physical stress or the subtler emotional stress. In terms of short-term effects, stress can boost our energy and focus.

Think about the last time you had a quick deadline to meet — did the adrenaline kick in to get it done? While stressful, a moment of stress here and there isn’t problematic.

It’s the chronic, long-term stress that can wear our bodies down and lead to premature aging.

Aging Effects: Memory Loss, High Blood Pressure, Aged Immune System

Research has found the hormones produced with chronic stress can age our brain and immune systems.

Those who are constantly stressed have higher instances of dementia and memory loss, as well as more damaged cells within their immune systems.

Stress also lends itself to high blood pressure, making you more susceptible to heart disease and other conditions typically found in older populations.

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