Nicotine Replacement Therapy: Does it work?
We take a brief look at the types and effectiveness of Nicotine Replacement Therapy and how the skin benefits from quitting tobacco smoking.
At VIVO Clinic, we are extremely fond of healthy, younger-looking skin. Why else would we be offering treatments such as the extremely popular Non-Surgical HIFU Facelift, Cryotherapy for Skin Imperfections, and Plasma Eye Lift Blepharoplasty?
All of the above-mentioned treatments are non-invasive, comfortable and super effective.
Having read the title, you are probably wondering, ‘Why am I being lectured about healthy skin and all these wonderful treatments that will make my skin softer and more supple?’
To get to the point – quitting smoking making can do wonders for your skin. Yes, the benefits to your overall health are countless. Your heart beats better, your lungs breathe clearer, and your sense of smell and taste become keener. And let’s not forget, your wallet, too, starts to feel heavier.
However, the skin is our focus.
Tobacco smoke contains over 4000 chemicals, and most of them are responsible for damaging collagen and elastin. Furthermore, smoking results in the deprivation of oxygen and nutrients supply to the skin. More often than not, a smoker’s skin is more likely to lose elasticity and form wrinkles at a younger age than most. It also tends to form age spots and develop a pale appearance.
However, quitting smoking is not at all an easy endeavour.
What is Nicotine Replacement Therapy?
While many people can and have successfully quit smoking by going cold turkey, most people need a little extra help.
In recent years, electronic cigarettes have become a trendy alternative to regular tobacco cigarettes. Although smoking an e-cigarette or vaping is a safer nicotine intake method, it still has poses many of the same risks. There is a more effective method to quitting smoking altogether.
Doctors and medical experts recommend smokers use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to help them quit. NRTs come in many forms, and they are meant to help overcome the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting cigarettes.
The different types of NRT:
- Chewing gum
Nicotine gums are over-the-counter products and can be found containing various amounts of nicotine content ranging from 1mg to 4mg.
Similar to gums, nicotine lozenges can be bought over-the-counter. These also have various nicotine content ranges.
Inhalators are plastic pipes with disposable nicotine cartridges. One can use them like they are smoking cigarettes, minus the smoke and tobacco.
They are similar to the inhalers asthma patients use. They can be acquired through prescriptions only. The inhaler devices deliver a precise amount of nicotine to the lungs in the form of aerosolized bursts.
- Nicotine patches
These look like adhesive plasters. You can buy them over the counter and stick them to your arm. The patches are transdermal and transfer nicotine into the bloodstream by being absorbed through the skin.
- Nasal sprays
The name is pretty self-explanatory: medicinal sprays that deliver nicotine to your system after spraying them through your nasal cavity. Nicotine nasal sprays can be purchased using prescriptions only.
How effective is Nicotine Replacement Therapy?
According to a study published in 2018, NRT can increase the chances of quitting permanently by 55%. However, these are still tools to help you through the difficult withdrawal symptoms.
Without a proper strategy, most people attempting to quit can fall off the wagon, even they are using NRT. Some of the most common steps you can include in your quitting strategy can include:
- Making a plan where you have a set date, after which you will not even take a single drag.
- Sticking to the plan by telling yourself that you are a non-smoker now.
- Starting an easy exercise regime. Physical exercises have shown to help to increase the chances of permanently quitting cigarettes.
- Reminding yourself why you are quitting. Making a list of your goals make it easier, whether it is to achieve a healthier lifestyle, save money or achieve the best skin possible (wink!).
This NHS webpage has some exceptionally useful self-help tips that are sure to help.
NRT can be an absolute blessing in your plight to kick the habit permanently. However, there are many side-effects associated with NRT like nausea, headaches, and dry mouth, among others. It is always best to consult with a doctor when you think you need to use NRT. It is vital that you choose the correct dosage and make sure to use it only as often as required. Nicotine overdose can lead to poisoning.
Quitting smoking is an excellent way to ensure healthy, supple skin. But also, be sure to stay hydrated and eat a healthy, balanced diet.