A Smoking Habit Could Be Aging Your Hands - Here's What You Should Know

It's no secret that smoking, whether it's cigars, cigarettes, or vaping, is extremely bad for your health. This has been known since at least 1964 when the Surgeon General released a report linking smoking to lung cancer and heart disease (per PBS). Therefore, smokers cannot claim ignorance of the damaging and often fatal effects of smoking. If you smoke, it's time to quit. Get thee to a nicotine patch!

Aside from the major diseases tied to smoking and nicotine, there are also some minor afflictions that you may not have realized were caused by the tiny white death sticks. Most smokers live with something colloquially referred to as "smoking fingertips." A good look at a smoker's fingers may reveal that they look jaundiced or stained yellow. According to Healthline, yellow-stained fingers are caused by long-term smoking. Fortunately, there are ways to remove the stains. However, smoking can also damage your hands and skin in ways you can't scrub off. In fact, smoking can make your hands look and feel decades older.

Nicotine reduces the collagen and elasticity in your skin

If you want to look fresh and youthful every day, research suggests that smoking is not the way to achieve this. In reality, smoking can make your hands look older, saggier, and in poor condition. "Smoking reduces the collagen formation, results in collagen degradation, and reduces skin circulation," researcher Dr. Bahman Guyuron told CNN. "Additionally, nicotine reduces skin thickness. All of these reduce skin elasticity and (cause) premature aging." For your hands, this means the toxins in smoke can destroy collagen, making the skin less supple and firm, per Tobacco Free Life

In addition, smoking can result in your hands developing psoriasis (itchy, scaly, red patches) by irritating or affecting the immune system and triggering inflammation. If you already have psoriasis, smoking can make it worse. It may also result in blotchy skin and spider veins on your hands, known medically as palmar telangiectasia. A study published in Dermatology found that out of 30 people who smoked at the time, 15 had palmar telangiectasia. With all of these negative effects, your hands can end up looking and feeling decades older than they should. Therefore, it's best to avoid smoking to maintain healthy, youthful-looking hands.

Smoking may lead to chronic hand pain and deformities

According to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, smoking nicotine is linked to several conditions that can accelerate the aging process of your hands. These conditions include Dupuytren's contracture, which causes permanent bending of the fingers. In addition, smokers are at a higher risk for bone fractures and prolonged healing from those fractures, as reported by the North Florida Surgeons Hand and Wrist Center. Smoking is linked to osteoporosis and a reduction in bone mineral density, which can make some fractures unable to heal without surgical intervention.

Speaking on the Doctors' Circle YouTube channel, Dr. Sharat Honnatti warned that smoking can cause nerve damage and numbness in your hands "because smoking will directly result in damage to blood vessels ... and the nerves will suffer in turn. You'll feel a numbness in the hand ... Treatment would be a total cessation of smoking." If you're a mother, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand stated that smoking while pregnant can pass on hand defects to your unborn child. The baby could be born with "extra fingers (polydactyly), fused fingers (syndactyly), or a missing finger."

If you're spending big bucks on colorful manicures or fun and flirty finger jewelry, it will all be for naught if your hands are damaged due to smoking. Do your hands a favor and quit.