We all know the risks of smoking in terms of cancer, heart disease and raising your cholesterol and blood pressure, but it also wrecks havoc on your complexion. Not only does smoking dull your complexion, smokers are more prone to having wrinkles around the mouth and developing under-eye bags before non-smokers, reveals a recent study focused on smoking in identical twins. Skin damage from smoking is easily identifiable but also reversible with treatment as long as you quit smoking.

Fifty-seven percent of the time, judges from the study correctly identified the twin who smoked and said he or she looked older. The judges were also more likely to identify the twin who had smoked longer if both twins smoked. Findings from the study were published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

This is just more evidence that smoking can make you look older and develop more wrinkles. In addition to reducing the risk of heart attack, lung cancer and stoke, the fact that it definitely makes you look older is just another reason to stop. Toxins from smoking can speed up the breakdown of collagen, protein fibers that support skin and assist it stick together. Smoking also reduces the amount of oxygen going to the skin.

skin damage from smoking

Skin damage from smoking is easily identifiable, such as fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth. The damage is also reversible with cosmetic procedures as long as you quit smoking.


Seventy-nine sets of identical twins were photographed at a twin festival in Twinsburg, Ohio, to make up the control group. Dr. Bahman Guyuron, the head researcher also affiliated with University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University — along with his colleagues— revealed the twin’s photos to a trio judges trained in deciphering appearance differences. Judges were asked to grade each twin’s facial features and wrinkles related to the signs of aging.

Highlights and parameters of the study include:

  • Forty-five twin pairs included a non-smoker and a smoker
  • About three-quarters of the twins were women
  • On average, the twins were in their late 40s
  • The smokers typically had more signs of facial aging and wrinkles, albeit a small difference
  • Jowls and the upper eyelids showed the most difference
  • Forehead wrinkles and crow’s feet showed the least difference

Other skin aging factors — alcohol habits, work stress, sunscreen use — were similar among non-smoking and smoking twins. Researchers didn’t know if differences in fat distribution affected facial appearance, although weight was similar between smokers and non-smokers.


Radiant, smooth and wrinkle-free skin is achieved with an array of treatments and procedures offered by a dermatologist. The best treatment plan for individuals is decided by focusing on:

  • Skin issue
  • Skin tone
  • Goal of patient
  • Efficacy of treatments

Often times, treatment solutions vary immensely based on the severity of the skin damage from smoking.

Fraxel laser treatments are often ideal treatments for improving skin damage from smoking. Fraxel is a brand of fractional lasers used to treat an array of skin conditions, including environment damage. Fraxel laser treatments target and repair sun damage and aging skin, eradicate fine lines and wrinkles, and improve uneven complexions.

These fractional photothermolysis procedures treat microscopic volumes of skin with each pulse, a technology in which Fraxel pioneered in 2001. Downtime is also shorter for healing since it’s a fractional treatment. To determine if Fraxel treatments are right for you, make an appointment with your dermatologist.