Dr. Takhar's Blog


Smoking, Stress and Sleepless Nights

Last time I talked about the sun and what damage that can do to your face. Hopefully now you have all stocked up on your sunscreen! Now, I will tell you about a few other very important precautions you can take to maintain your youthful appearance,

As a Family doctor and a cosmetic doctor, I really struggle with why people smoke. I understand that it is an addictive habit and gives people pleasure. But the pleasure is so short term and believe me the damage is not! SMOKING harms one in many more ways than just the skin, but let me give you my thoughts. 
I can tell a smoker a mile away by his/her skin. Even a “social” smoker. It’s the radiance of the skin that first goes. The skin looks dull and sallow. I believe that is due to the decreased blood supply to the skin from smoking. Smokers have worse breakouts due to decreased healing. The very worst effect of these cancer sticks is the lip lines. We all know what these look like. The repeated pursing of the lips causes vertical lines above and below the lips. And I believe some of the collagen breakdown in the lips is due to smoking too. So if you want to avoid the dreaded skinny lips surrounded by lines….give it up! 

Another big factor in aging is SLEEP DEPRIVATION. Several studies have shown that people who consistently sleep 7-8 hours a night age well. Infact those who can sleep longer fare even better. Although we can’t all sleep 9 hrs a night, it is important to try to get regular doses of sleep. While we sleep our bodies regenerate as we make growth hormones. This continues throughout our lives and allows for rebuilding collagen, hair and bone. Lack of sleep leads to a dull complexion and usually puffy dark circles under the eyes. Do yourself a favour and give your face and body the rest it deserves!

Finally, STRESS. Yes, we all know this and I know it seems beyond us to control the never ending demands in our life. We seem to think we can do it all (especially women) but it’s just a fact of life that long term stress will lead to early aging. This is due to the extra adrenaline and cortisol that our bodies produce in response to stress. We just can’t run on all four cylinders without suffering some damage to our bodies. Stress is known to reduce the “glow” in our skin from poor blood supply to the skin, and also known to cause weight gain….and not to mention all that frowning when stressed will lead to wrinkles!

Unfortunately these demons are usually tied together. We have stressful lives and these inturn lead us to bad habits like smoking and to sleepless nights. Combined the damage is magnified and then once we look in the mirror and see our premature aging, we get more stressed. And the cycle continues. 
Break the cycle. Do what you can to reduce the stress in your life. Meditation, yoga, aromatherapy, counselling and various other holistic practices have helped many people. If it’s your job, find a new job. If it’s your relationship, get counselling. Life is too short to live it in stress. You have all the tools within yourself to find solutions. Break the stress cycle and the other things will take care of themselves! 
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Rogers network.