Plastic surgeons have been concerned about the affects of smoking on their patients for quite some time. Patients who are undergoing plastic surgery are often encouraged to quit the habit, and many practices even make it a requirement prior to having surgery. This is because a nicotine habit can delay healing, whereas quitting even shortly before the procedure can aid in a fast and healthy recovery.
There was a recent study done that shows just how noticeable the effects of smoking are on those who use cigarettes. The study took twins with different smoking habits and compared the difference in signs of aging between them. Seventy-nine pairs of twins were included in the study, with 57 of them being women. For each pair, one was currently a smoker, while the other either had never smoked before, or had been free from smoking for at least five years.
In the beginning of the study, a professional photographer took photos of the twins, who had filled out questionnaires about their lifestyles. Plastic surgeons analyzed these photos without knowing their smoking history. They were able to identify specific signs of aging among those who smoked, which were more dramatic in the lower, two-thirds of the face. The most commonly identified issues were sagging of the upper eyelids, bags under the eyes, pronounced nasolabial folds, and wrinkling around the lips. In nearly all pairs, participants who smoked were easily identified with more wrinkles and other signs of aging than their non-smoking counterparts.