"Quitting smoking rejuvenates the skin": results of a pilot project on smoking cessation conducted in Milan, Italy

Skinmed. 2010 Jan-Feb;8(1):23-9.


This study reports the results obtained during the "Quitting Smoking Rejuvenates the Skin" campaign, a pilot project in favor of the fight against nicotine addiction in women promoted by the Municipality of Milan jointly with other organizations. The initiative allowed researchers to evaluate the benefits on the skin obtained by cessation of smoking in a sample of 64 Caucasian women who smoked and who, in the period between February 2007 and November 2007, were followed by a team of dermatologists, psychologists, and nutritionists. During the dermatologic program, clinical and instrumental evaluations were made at the beginning of the study and at 3, 6, and 9 months. The state of skin aging was evaluated visually by giving a clinical score to each sign of skin aging (lines, vascular and pigmentation state, elasticity, brightness, texture of the skin). These signs were then correlated using a particular "spider web" graph called Spiderming, the result of Derming research that allows the monitoring of results obtained over time. Taking into account that a wider area of the graph coincides with more advanced skin aging, the graph of mean values observed in the study patients narrowed as time went by, reaching certain statistically significant values in as little as 6 months of observation. The patients' biological skin age was also calculated so as to better quantify the benefits they obtained by giving up smoking. It was possible to measure the biological age of the skin using noninvasive instrumental measurements of parameters such as skin smoothness, brightness, coloring, and elasticity. A complex mathematic algorithm processed the results obtained for each patient and, on this basis, calculated the biological age of the patient's skin. At the end of the program, an average reduction of about 13 years in the biological age of the patients' skin was found, while, at the beginning of the study, patients had presented with an average biological age of 9 years older than their chronologic age. This pilot project not only demonstrated that quitting smoking improves skin conditions, and above all skin-aging effects, but for the first time it afforded the opportunity to produce data that quantify this benefit.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Elasticity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Pilot Projects
  • Rejuvenation / physiology
  • Skin / physiopathology*
  • Skin Aging
  • Smoking / physiopathology*
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Spectrophotometry