Stop Smoking? Don’t Even Start!

By Lorraine Saint John How smoking plays havoc with your skin

When I used to partake in the practice, most of the advice I read to try and counteract my habit would be to "take large doses of antioxidants" or to "detox with milk thistle" or "take lots of vitamin C! Which led me to believe that I was protecting my body whilst simultaneously carrying out this terrible lifestyle choice. My advice? Don't bother starting at all or stop as soon as you feel brave enough.

Let’s be straight; cigarette smoking is just about the worst thing you can do to your body.

No smoking cigarette murky


It affects the circulation, skeletal, nervous, reproductive and the respiratory systems negatively. There is absolutely no way that your body can function optimally, whilst it is being voluntarily barraged with pollutants and compounds such as:

  • Formaldehyde (embalming fluid)
  • Ammonia (toilet cleaner)
  • Acetone (nail polish remover) my personal favourite!

Smokers have increased nutritional needs due to their intake of carcinogens and other cancer causing chemicals so it's not just lung cancer to be concerned about but also high blood pressure, strokes emphysema, osteoporosis and decreased fertility.

But I'm going to focus on the effect smoking has on our largest organ - the skin.

Skin Trade

Because the toxins in cigarette smoke are absorbed directly into the bloodstream, the body then releases free radicals which scavenge and spread causing an inflammatory response which circulates throughout your body and causes blood vessels to constrict water content also decreases, resulting in dehydration. Oxygen levels reduce to dangerously low levels and immunity to illnesses is reduced. 

When you smoke, the organs, including the skin, become starved of oxygen and hurriedly poisoned by high levels of carbon monoxide.

Vitamin C helps to preserve collagen and elastin fibres that successfully keep skin supple, plump and youthful. With each cigarette, at least 30-45mg of this essential antioxidant is used up thus begins the rapid decline of your skin.

Smokers can use vitamin C and E lotions, serums and oils for strengthening and brightening skin and exfoliate regularly and gently to keep skin cells rejuvenated, particularly with enzymatic peels and scrubs.

Yes, quitting is tough and your mind needs to be supported as well as your body. In my studio, I have supported many through smoking cessation therapy programs and watched them become luminous and radiant with rude health.

However, try your best not to rely too heavily on nicotine patches or gums as these are nothing but a crutch to prolong the inevitable which makes it easier to relapse.

Your body expects you to be well; your body can be well. You place so many demands upon it, so do what you have to do to keep up! Why not feel and look and be your very best by making good healthy choices daily?

So do your skin some good, treat yourself to a regular facial or an intense but relaxing facial massage but best of all, give yourself a great reason to kick the habit!

Lorraine Saint John is a Beauty & Nutritional Therapist and director of Bespoke Health Studio.  She can be contacted on  or @bespokehs