Bad Habits

Woman smoking

Smoking Makes You Look Terrible

We all know that while smoking may make you look cool in the moment, it can make you look terrible for the long term. If you are finding yourself seduced by the allure of the cigarette, here are some facts which may make you change your mind.

Bags Under Your Eyes
If you think bags under the eyes is a good look, keep smoking. According to a study by John Hopkins University smokers are four times more likely to feel unrested after sleep than nonsmokers. Scientists have speculated that it may be the overnight nicotine withdrawal keeping smokers from resting peacefully.

Psoriasis
Although psoriasis can manifest itself in smokers and non smokers alike, your risk of developing scaly skin is a lot higher is you puff. A study done in 2007 showed that individuals who smoke a pack a day for 10 years increased their risk of psoriasis by 20% and those who smoked for 11-20 years increased the risk by 60%.

Yellow Teeth
Unless you want to spend a lot of time and money whitening your teeth, you should give up the smoking habits. Nicotine is known to stain those pearly whites, so if a great smile is important to you, make sure cigarettes aren’t.

Yellow Fingers
Don’t think your teeth are the only things affected by yellowing nicotine. Nicotine is infamous for its tendencies to stain fingers and nails alike. Of course, you can always scrub your fingers with steel wool and bleach them to restore your natural skin tone, but quitting might be a more civilized option.

Thin Hair
Here’s one that should cause you to drop the habit like its hot. Smokers not only have thinner hair than non smokers, their hair is also more likely to grey. Experts believe that the chemicals in cigarette smoke are capable of not only producing free radicals which cause cell damage, but also of damaging the DNA in existing hair follicles. In fact, a 2007 study in Taiwan showed that male smokers are two times as likely to lose their hair than their non-smoking counterparts.

Scarring
Nicotine causes blood vessels to narrow and limit blood flow to the face and other body parts.The result? Your wounds will take a longer time to heal and your scars will be worse than they would have been for a non smoker.

Smoking is also more expensive than you might think, the average person pays more than $1,652 a year for smoking. (source)

So smoking may make you look cool, but scars, yellow fingers and teeth and thinning hair probably won’t. If you were able to kick the habit, we hope you are looking prettier already, and if you’re still trying, we wish you luck! Let us know about your smoking experience and what you think about smoking and coolness.

Woman biting nails

Handy Habits

Idle hands are the devil’s playground. Could any expression ring more true? And not just in the figurative sense…anxiety and boredom can often lead to habits like nail biting, thumb sucking, knuckle cracking and more. But how bad are these habits really? And what can we do to stop them?

Thumb sucking is probably the earliest of these habits to develop and often stops as a child gets older but sometimes can last into adulthood. “Thumb sucking is an appropriate and useful behavior for young children,” says Linda Goldstein, MD, a Washington pediatrician. “It allows them to comfort and entertain themselves.” The habit may last beyond infancy and dwindle in preschool years but if it lasts to kindergarten age, parents may begin to get concerned. Children who suck their thumbs may begin to get teased at this age. It can also lead to dental problems like a minor to severe overbite. Prolonged finger sucking can cause chapped skin, calluses and fingernail infections.

Sabine Hack, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine recommends using poster board and stickers to make a progress chart of your child’s thumb sucking, offering rewards for abstaining. Other remedies may include placing a bitter tasting liquid on the child’s finger, especially at night, to remind him not to suck.

Nail biting is another habit that usually starts at childhood. It can continue into adolescence and even adulthood. Nail biting has many unfavorable consequences. It can leave fingers red and sore. The area of skin around your nail can bleed and become infected as bacteria passes from your fingers to your mouth. It can also lead to misaligned and weakened teeth.

Experts recommend coating your nails with bitter tasting nail polish to discourage you from biting. Other treatments include keeping nails trimmed short so there is less nail to bite and getting regular manicures to make you hesitant to bite your nails, making them appear unattractive. Alternate techniques for stress management like yoga and meditation are also suggested.

The final habit we will be looking at is knuckle cracking. This habit is a bit controversial due to the long time debate of whether or not knuckle cracking can lead to arthritis. Many studies have been conducted to this end including one done by the researchers at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. This study showed that the chances of arthritis is pretty much the same in those who crack their knuckles and those who do not. However, in at least one study, chronic joint popping was shown to lead to inflammation and weakened hand grip. This could be countered by the stimulation of the Golgi tendon organs which is the result of the joints being manipulated. This leads to a “loose” and invigorated feeling.

Those who are looking to break the habit of knuckle cracking may want to think about putting band aids on their knuckles or a rubber band around their wrist to remind them to stop. You can also replace the habit with something else, like stretching your hands or snapping your fingers. Rewards systems and alternate relaxation therapies are recommended as well.