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Acta Derm Venereol. 2002;82(1):36-40.

Smoking and skin: a study of the physical qualities and histology of skin in smokers and non-smokers.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Oulu, Finland.


Tobacco smoke is toxic to cells and could be a factor contributing to accelerated skin ageing. The aim of this study was to provide new information on the possible effects of smoking on the physical qualities of skin and the morphology of elastic fibres. The study population consisted of 98 men, including 47 current smokers and 51 never-smokers. Skin thickness and elasticity were measured from cheek, temple, abdomen, dorsal forearm and non-sun-exposed upper inner arm. Verhoeff-stained punch biopsies from the non-sun-exposed upper inner arm were assessed with a computerized image analyser in a blinded fashion to assess the amount and width of elastic fibres. The thickness of cheek skin was increased in the smokers, but skin thickness in other measured sites did not differ between the groups. The amount and width of elastic fibres in the sun-protected skin of the smokers and non-smokers did not differ significantly, nor did skin elasticity in this or any other region under evaluation, suggesting that smoking alone affects neither the amount and width of dermal elastic fibres nor the elasticity of skin in male smokers.

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