Health Alert: Smoking and your skin

NATIONAL - Everyone wants to slow down signs of aging on their skin. One way - you may want to think twice before you light up that cigarette.

Sarah Badgley says, at 27, she's not worried about wrinkles.

A new study may convince the pack-a-day smoker to think twice about lighting up.

Dr. Sewon Kang, a dermatologist, said, "If you want to have healthy, younger-looking skin, it's better to be a nonsmoker than a smoker."

Researchers at the University of Michigan examined sun-protected areas of skin on the arms of people age 22 and above.

Dr. Kang said "we wanted to know if there are certain factors that might influence that so-called chronological aging."

Those factors turned out to be how long the person lived and their smoking history.

Said Dr. Kang, "When you compare their sun-protected skin, the correlation is such that the smokers will have more wrinkled skin changes than the person who didn't smoke."

And the more cigarettes they smoked, the older the skin looked.

Dr. Kang says, "You probably cause similar skin changes as if you've had sun exposure when you're smoking."

Like sun exposure, smoking causes oxidative stress on the body - turning on certain enzymes.

"These groups of enzymes in turn starts to break down your skin components and we believe that has a lot to do with the aging phenotype."

It's just one more reason to kick the habit.