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Part 3: Impairing the Skin's Regenerative Properties

Smoking can impede the regenerative properties of the skin. In 1977, L. H. Mosely and F. Finseth published an article that examined how smoking impaired the wound healing capabilities of the hand because of the resulting reduction in blood flow it caused. (2.) Other studies have since back up these findings, factoring in the percentage reduction in blood flow caused by smoking induced vasoconstriction and recording its duration.It is well established that smoking reduces the skin's ability to regenerate, slowing the rate at which wounds heal and increasing the chances of scarring, especially with regard to post-surgical flaps and grafts. This is why patients are told not to smoke well in advance of them undergoing surgery. It is perhaps ironic that smoking, a major reason why someone may require a facelift, actually reduces the chances of this surgical procedure being successful by compromising the blood supply to neighbouring tissue. Some cosmetic surgeons even take measurements of nicotine levels in patient's blood prior to performing facelifts because of this contingency. Smoking will also hinder the chances of a skin graft being successful because the grafted skin needs to generate new blood vessel buds soon after being attached or it will die create scar tissue. The constriction of the blood vessels near the surface of the skin reduces the amount of oxygen available and affects the removal of dead cells and toxins.(2.) Mosely LH, Finseth F, 'Cigarette smoking: impairment of digital blood flow and wound healing in the hand.' Hand 1977. Jun; 9(2): 97-101.