We all know the health risks involved with smoking – cancer, lung disease, heart attack, etc. – but smoking also affects the skin tissue by leaving it more coarse, dry and wrinkled than a non-smoker’s. The color is somewhat greyish-yellow and dull-looking.

Skin aging is almost synonymous with the loss of moisture. Along with sunlight, crash dieting, alcohol, stress, etc., smoking depletes the moisture reservoir. One way it does this is by robbing the body of Vitamin C which is essential for the formation of collagen fibres. Collagen in turn, is essential for the retention of water in the deeper layers of the skin. Smoking also depletes the B Vitamins, necessary for a smooth, healthy skin. The facial mannerisms that accompany smoking, drawing on a cigaret, squinting and frowning, put extra stress on the skin fibres, often giving rise to the characteristic fine lines around the mouth and eyes.

The carbon monoxide in the tobacco replaces some of the oxygen in the blood as it attaches itself to the hemoglobin for transportation throughout the body. The nicotine constricts the blood vessels, and therefore vital nutrients can’t reach the skin, cell reproduction is slowed and the removal of carbon dioxide and other waste products is hindered and the dead skin cells pile up. Because of this, the skin loses its healthy glow.

A lot of the damage that has been done is permanent but you can help to revitalize and restore the skin’s moisture level and healthy appearance. Begin with a series of exfoliating treatments to get rid of the dry dead skin cells and reveal the newer, fresher cells below. You can do this yourself or have it done by an esthetician. How much more you do after this depends on the amount of damage, how long you have been smoking and how much time and money you want to put into this. A collagen cream would be a good choice as this is a good moisturizer. You could also choose to do an intensive series of treatments to nourish the skin and stimulate the cell reproduction. These treatments can also be done professionally or there are a number of ampoule treatments available commercially. A stimulating or moisturizing mask done on a weekly basis will also be of help.

Is there a way to keep blusher lasting more than a couple of hours? I have a normal skin with an oily T-zone and I use a cream blusher.

One of the secrets to prolonging eyeshadow, blusher or lipstick is layering. After applying the moisturizer, foundation base and translucent powder, lightly apply a gel or cream blush to the cheeks with a dabbing motion. Re-apply the transluscent powder and finish with an application of powder blush.

Everytime I remove my mascara I lose lashes. What kind of makeup remover should I use to avoid this?

Everyone loses some lashes daily but by being gentle with the eye area and the lashes you can avoid losing more than is normal. Make sure thst you are using the correct type of remover for the type of mascara that you use. A regular type can be removed with a cream, gel or liquid but the waterproof mascara needs an oil-based product to be removed effectively. Soak two cotton pads with the remover and press them against the lashes for a few minutes, keeping your eyes closed. Time is needed to dissolve the mascara particles. Whisk the pads off in a downward motion. Wet a cotton ball and squeeze out the excess water. Press these gently against the lids then whisk them off in a downward motion as well. Do not use any back and forth movements as this can weaken the lashes from the roots, and avoid any pulling or tugging at the lashes.

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