Research over the years, has proven the correlation between smoking and the dermatological side effects it has on our skin. Smoking escalates the process of skin aging, thereby making smokers look older than their non-smoking counterparts. This exceedingly addictive habit has its claws stretched across all aspects of the human health, and has affected millions across the globe.
It is also logical to conclude that, if the external appearance of an individual looks unhealthy, the internal state of health will not be too good either. Smoking steals the natural glow from the skin and makes it look dull and dehydrated. No amount of cosmetic, or makeup, works too well in covering up what lies beneath the surface. This article will discuss, as to why smoking causes dark circles under the eyes and how to rectify the problem.
How Does Smoking Cause Dark Eye Circles
Low Skin Collagen
Smoking induces the secretion of (MMP) or Matrix Metalloproteinases, which when produced within reasonable limits is helpful for the body. However, when produced in excess, it causes the breakdown of vital collagen in the skin. Collagen is an essential natural protein and acts as the main component for connective tissues and is found in fibrous, and elongated tissues such as the skin, blood vessels, bone, ligament, etc. The most abundant collagen is found in the scar tissue, which helps strengthen, heal and repair the skin. When smoking obstructs the production of collagen or breaks it down, the skin on the face especially gets affected.
The reason being the facial skin is the thinnest, while the skin under the eye is the most sensitive on the face. Aging is a major reason for developing dark eye circles. With aging, the skin around the eyes becomes increasingly thin, however, in the case of habitual smokers, constant smoking breakdown the collagen and makes the skin weak, and thin. It also affects the blood vessels under the eye, and the collagen present in these vessels, which is why they become bluish due to the lack of blood circulation. This bluish tinge appears as dark circles around the eye. Lack of collagen also reduces the elasticity of the skin, thereby causing wrinkles to form faster in people, who smoke regularly.
Vasopressin is a protein secreted by the pituitary glands into the blood. This protein has many beneficial roles to play within the body, and is crucial for the regulation of water, salts, and glucose present in the blood. However, when secreted in excess this protein leads to the constriction or shrinking of blood vessels, which causes lesser blood to circulate. This leads to vasoconstriction and has its negative impact on the blood vessels situated under the eye as well as other parts of the skin where blood vessels exist.
Ischemia Under the Eye
Vasoconstriction under the eye, further result in minor Ischemia, wherein enough oxygen does not reach the blood vessels under the eye, because of its thinning or clamping up. Since it is the veins which carry oxygenated blood to different parts of the body, the blood vessels under the eye, will turn bluish gray due to lack of blood and oxygen supply. Lack of oxygen will, in turn cause the skin to age faster, apart from the aging caused by the oxidants already present in the chemicals of the cigarette smoke. Nicotine is one such chemical which acts as an addictive agent as well as an oxidant, which is why it constricts the blood vessels under and around the eye.
There are certain homemade remedies which can be tried so as to lighten the dark circles. Here are some mentioned below:
Tea Bag Therapy
Place water-soaked dark tea bags on your eyes and let it remain for about an hour. Tea contains antioxidants which recharge the blood vessels, thereby increasing the blood circulation. Do not use green tea as it does not have much caffeine content. Dark tea has more caffeine which helps absorb the excess water in the skin and helps lighten the skin.
Cucumber has a soothing effect on the eye. It also helps lighten the skin to an extent. Cut two thin slices of cucumber which must first be cooled in the fridge. Let these slices stay for 15 minutes after which place fresh slices from the fridge.
Lemon has citric acid which is amazing for bleaching the skin and lightening pigmentation. Apply some lemon juice, though you must mix it with some water or black tea. Apply this concoction around the eye, and repeat this process every other night. You will notice remarkable changes within 2 months. There are under eye creams rich in vitamin K, which have proven to have beneficial results as well.
When it comes down to selecting the best cure for dark, and puffy eyes, I believe that prevention is the better option. Quitting smoking will prevent any further health issues from cropping up. Dark under eye circles are just the prelude to the major problems that arise, due to habitual smoking. Giving up smoking will ensure that, the skin will gradually regain some of its old freshness, gloss, and charm. All you need to do is look after your health, and your skin.
Once the damage has been done to the blood vessels, the only way to rectify the process is to reduce the intake of harmful chemicals. The answer lies in simply reducing the number of cigarettes smoked in a day or by quitting on cigarettes forever.