Smoking your skin

Published: Monday 31 July 2000

Here is yet another reason why women should not smoke. A recently-published study says that smoking causes wrinkles by upsetting the body's mechanism for renewing the skin cells. Normally, the skin remains healthy, as there is a balance between skin cells lost and new skin cells formed. But it appears that cigarette smoke selectively enhances enzymes called matrix proteases (MMPs) that chop the fibers that form collagen, the supporting structure of the skin.

The result is a drop of over 40 per cent less production of collagen. The combined effect of more degradation and less production sets off a process of rapid premature ageing of the skin, says dermatologist Akimichi Morita from the Nagoya City University Medical School, Nagoya, Japan ( Archives of Dermatological Research , Vol 292, No 2).

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.