Collagen & Smoking

Smoking link to premature ageing

smoking lady
by Dr Akimichi Morita, Nagoya City University Medical School
Smoking destroys the ability of the skin to renew itself effectively, thus accelerating the ageing process, a study has indicated. It has long been thought that smoking ages the skin prematurely and leads to the formation of more wrinkles. Now a team of researchers from Nagoya City University Medical School in Japan says it has discovered the reasons why smoke has such a damaging effect.
They found that cells exposed to smoke produced far more of the enzyme responsible for breaking down skin. Skin stays healthy and young-looking because it has the ability to constantly regenerate itself.
This process depends on a subtle balance between the ability to break down old skin, and to create fresh replacement tissue. The body breaks down old skin with enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). These enzymes chop up the fibres that form collagen- the tissue that makes up about 80% of normal skin. New Scientist magazine reports that the researchers tested the impact of cigarette smoke by pumping it through a saline solution and adding the resulting mixture to collagen - producing skin cells. They found that cells exposed to smoke produced far more MMP than normal skin cells.

40% of collagen production decrease by smoking

The researchers also found that smoke caused a drop in the production of fresh collagen by up to 40%. Lead researcher Dr Akimichi Morita said the combined effect is probably what causes premature skin ageing in smokers.
His team found the effect was more pronounced when cells were exposed to more concentrated cigarette smoke.
Dr Morita said: "This suggests the amount of collagen is important for skin ageing. "It looks like less collagen means more wrinkle formation."