How Smoking and Alcohol Affect Beauty

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Shahnaz Husain

Pollution in the air can lead to a build-up of toxins in the system. Our lifestyle and habits compound the problem further. One of these is smoking, a habit that is difficult to quit. What we may not realize is the extent of damage that smoking can cause to the body. In fact, it can affect almost every part and every organ of the body. We have all heard about the damage caused to the lungs due to smoking. Actually, it also weakens our immune systems and leaves us prone to disease. Alcohol also has a detrimental effect on our health and beauty. According to an expert, alcohol is a toxin and hardly has any nutritional value. It can also affect the health harming liver function, reduces immunity, causes damage to cells. All these can affect the appearance too in terms of early ageing, dull skin and hair. Alcohol is also a diuretic, so you can get dehydrated, leaving the skin dry and dull.
As for smoking, there are hundreds of chemicals in cigarette smoke. These are potentially dangerous and are known to lead to many medical conditions, some of which are a threat to life. Among these are respiratory conditions, cancer, heart disease and puts you at risk to suffer heart attacks and strokes. Smokers can develop chronic coughs, leading to breathing difficulties, emphysema and lung cancer. The chemicals present in cigarette smoke poses a real danger from free radicals, which enter the body through the bloodstream and pose a real threat to health……and also to beauty, as they adversely affect the skin and the supportive tissues, like collagen. Therefore, apart from many adverse effects on the body, cigarette smoking is damaging to the skin, mainly because it depletes the vitamins, minerals and even trace elements needed to make new collagen, which is essential for keeping the skin firm and youthful. Recent research also indicates that tobacco smoke increases the production of an enzyme that also breaks down collagen. Therefore, smoking can lead to premature ageing of the skin. Actually, smoking leads to a dull and sallow skin and definitely interferes with the glow and vitality that we associate with a healthy skin.
Smoking and free radicals, therefore, hasten the formation of visible ageing signs on the skin, like lines, wrinkles and sagging skin. Smoking also affects blood flow and hampers the delivery of nutrients to all parts of the body, including the skin and the hair follicles. It also interferes with the excretion of wastes from the body, leading to a build up of toxins. Even non-smokers are adversely affected by what is called second-hand smoke, due to proximity to smokers.
There are many therapies and methods that are advocated for giving up smoking, like nicotine replacement, with nicotine patches, or nicotine gum. However, I feel that one’s personal decision and will power are most important. Without these, one can get overwhelmed by self-pity and go back to smoking, or drinking. Making the decision to quit is an important step.
Along with the decision to quit smoking, make the decision to detoxify the body too. Many of us lead sedentary and stressful lives too, without any exercise. So, bringing about changes in our lifestyle is another positive step one can take. You can take up Yoga. Combined with Pranayama, or breathing exercises, yoga helps to improve oxygenation, purify the organ systems, reduce stress and induce relaxation of both body and mind.
And, when you give up smoking or drinking, treat yourself to a deep tissue massage at a salon or spa. It will not only be most relaxing, but will also help to detoxify and cleanse the system. You will be well on your way to feeling good and looking great.
The author is international fame beauty expert and is called herbal queen of India