My Face Is Smoking (Hot)


If you haven’t figured it out by now, this article series is designed to be interactive. If you have a question don’t be afraid to ask. I’ll start this article by answering a question recently posed.

The question: “Dr Rath, you probably examine more skin and skin lesions than any other physician in town. Why do you insist that I have a dermatologist look at a suspect lesion before you are willing to remove the lesion or perform a “Bladeless Facelift?” Answer: I’m not a dermatologist and I don’t play one on TV. Even if I slept in a Holiday Inn Express last night I would still not have the 4 years of skin cancer education that dermatologists receive. Dermatologists are the only specialists that have the appropriate education to evaluate suspect skin lesions in vivo, or while still live on the body. Unfortunately, Ruidoso doesn’t have a dermatologist and it requires a drive to Roswell or further to get an appointment. Need a derm? Dr Henry in Roswell accepts new patients and is my personal dermatologist.

The title of this article, My Face Is Smoking (Hot) alludes to smoking. What does smoking have to do with ageless or anti-aging medicine? Dr Rath, why are you attacking my (one) vice?

First of all, let me clarify that this soapbox can’t be too high. I am a reformed smoker. When I was a helicopter mechanic in the Army, the smokers received smoke breaks while the non-smokers worked without any breaks. As you might imagine, the choice of staying out on the hot flightline or walking over to a shady spot and smoking with a group of friends was a no-brainer. It wasn’t the best policy for troop health, and has since changed; but I was a smoker. When I left the active duty Army at the end of a six-year enlistment and went to college I used the opportunity to quit.

Every smoker can look on the side of a pack and see that smoking will increase the risk of lung cancer. What isn’t listed is the microvascular disease that smoking causes. Microvascular disease? Smoking causes the smallest blood vessels to constrict, decreasing blood flow to end organs such as skin and sex organs. What does that mean to me? Smoking makes you look older. Combine smoking with no sunscreen and you’re on the fast track to older skin.

According to Wikipedia, in January 2012 the excise tax per pack in New Mexico was $1.66. This cost is tacked on to the manufacturer’s price. Using the average price I paid years ago on base, $2.50 + $1.66. About $4. One pack a day? $120. Over four months? $480. We have patients who pay for their Botox or laser procedures with the money they saved when they quit.

Want to stop but don’t know how? Stop by and ask me how I quit. (My method requires a cannuter valve).

Disclaimer: Dr Stephen Rath, MD, DABA is a board certified anesthesiologist as well as the owner and medical director of Fusion Medical Spa located in Ruidoso, NM. He is not an expert on the cigarette industry but he can help reverse the aesthetic affects of smoking.