Stoptober campaign focuses on skin disease research

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Stoptober is a UK-wide campaign to get the nation to quit smoking. We, the British Skin Foundation, are asking that Stoptober participants get a friends, family & colleagues to sponsor your efforts and raise some money for skin disease research at the same time.

Broken Cigarette - Credit freerangestock.com

We have known for a long time now that smoking is bad for your health often affecting the heart and lungs. But what does it have to do with skin?

  • Both smoking and passive smoking can have a huge effect on the skin, causing it to age and wrinkle ahead of its time.
  • The danger is that the damage caused by smoking is not immediately apparent or visible.
  • The skin gets a lot of its elasticity from collagen. Smoking enhances an enzyme in the skin (matrix metalloproteinase-1) which degrades collagen, meaning the skin loses its elasticity and develops lines.
  • What’s more, smoking also causes blood vessels to constrict, limiting the amount of oxygen that can reach the skin. This lack of oxygen reduces production of collagen and elastin (which also gives the skin its structure) and negatively affects the skin’s health and appearance generally.
  • Besides premature ageing of the skin, smokers, particularly female smokers are more susceptible to what is known as ‘smoker’s acne’. Researchers writing in the British Journal of Dermatology observed that this specific form of acne was characterised by blocked pores and large blackheads but the spots themselves were less inflamed than ‘regular’ acne.
  • Psoriasis patients that quit smoking are likely to notice a positive effect on their condition.

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