Hiya! Eclectablog here. This is the last in a series of 4 "Chris the Science Geek" essays I wrote for the most-awesome Quitnet.com years ago where I (a) quit smoking and (b) met my wife of 6 years. I have some other non-Science Geek ponderings about quitting that maybe I'll lay on ya at some later date.
In the meantime:
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Chris the Science Geek answers your questions about Quitzits, sore gums & tongue, canker sores and cold sores
This question was recently sent in to our laboratory: "Now that I've quit smoking, why am I getting acne like I'm a danged teenager?!" Well, have a seat and the Science Dork will do his best to fill you in.
<Cue dream sequence music and spinning spiral...>
As we've all learned, the act of smoking introduces all kinds of nasty pollutants into our bodies. Being the miracles of nature that they are, our bodies adjust as best they can and do whatever they can to shed the nasty chemical toxins we pour into them with every puff we take on a cigarette. Unfortunately, each cigarette we smoke retards the detoxification process that our bodies are trying to engage in. The net effect is an accumulation of toxins inside our bodies along with a shift in the chemical balance inside us (including our hormones.)
One day, we quit smoking. This is a Good Thing but, as we have also learned, it throws our bodies into an upheaval. Suddenly the chemical balance is thrown out of whack again while, at the same time, our bodies start the detoxification process. You've heard people tell new Quitsters to "drink lots of water to help flush out all the toxins". This is good advice and it helps a great deal. However, it's just not fast enough for you body when begins to excrete the toxins in any way it can. Sometimes the toxins are ejected through the soft tissues inside our mouths and through the pores. This causes the well-known Quitzits many Quitsters suffer from. It can also cause tremendous mouth discomfort as cold sores and canker sores erupt inside the mouth and on the lips. This coupled with the hormonal changes that happen (akin to the changes that happen during a woman's menstual cycle, another time when she's likely to experience more acne than is typical) can lead to some pretty pimply periods. Sore throats are also quite common during this time.
There is also some evidence that there are chemical agents absorbed from cigarette smoke that inhibit the formation of cold sores which only makes their occurence more likely once you Quit. Finally, many Quitsters suffer from Quitstipation. Since this slow downs a major toxin shedding process, this is one less avenue for the body to rid itself of the nasty chemicals it has been absorbing. If it's any consolation, smoking Quitsters aren't the only people to experience this phenomenon - recovering heroin addicts have been known to develop raging cases of acne, too.
As with all the other negative side effects of smoking cessation, the best thing to do is just wait it out. In the meantime, consider lowering your toxin load by eating more nutritious, healthy foods, especially high-fiber foods. Also, drink as much water as you can. It really does help to flush your system.
Oh, and you may also want to invest in some Oxy10 to take care of that third eye on your cheek ;^)
Chris the Science Geek
P.S. I won't be able to hang around much today. I'm actually heading out to Las Vegas for the Big ShowTM and have a LOT of stuff to get done!
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