The most obvious and lingering signs of smoking are the tar and nicotine stains on the skin and teeth. The most prominent discolorations usually appear on the lips and on the nails of the fingers. Some ex-smokers often find these to be rather stubborn, and some of the deep stains may last long after the person has stopped smoking. For people who continue to smoke, the months and years from this habit can be clearly seen in the lank and brittle hair, the yellowing nails, the dark brownish crusts under the fingernails, the blackened lips, the dark gums and the yellowing enamel of the teeth. The best recommendation for the permanent removal of these stains and discolorations is the permanent removal of the person's smoking habit.

However, for ex-smokers who want to remove their ugly marks of a former addiction, there are some very simple home remedies for cleaning nicotine stains and tar tarnishes on the skin.

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1. Lemons (or any citrus fruit) can help bleach the discolorations on the skin, especially on the lips. Simply slice a fresh fruit and have the person apply it on the lips daily, for 2 to 5 minutes at a time. This can also be used on the discoloration on the fingertips and under the nails. The person can scrub the freshly sliced citrus fruit and its pulp vigorously on the affected areas for 2 to 5 minutes, and then rinse with water afterwards. However, this treatment is done best on skin areas that have no breaks or external damages since citrus juice and pulp can sting. Vinegar may be substituted for lemons, as long as the product label indicated that the vinegar is naturally made and is not mixed with any other chemical or preservative.

2. Yellowish nails can be buffed, covered over with nail polish or allowed to grow out. Many people would prefer that the nails eventually grow out, revealing the natural pink health of the tissues under the nails. However, more immediate and temporary remedies include buffing the nails with a mineral buffer (will add shine to the nails but will not really hide the discoloration) and painting the nails with color and polish. Rubbing the nails with freshly grated garlic can help strengthen the nails and eliminate the yellowish tinge. However, this treatment should be used sparingly - about once a week only and only for less than 2 minutes at a time. Wash hands thoroughly after treatment with soap and water. Pat dry and allowed to stay that way (without putting on lotions or moisturizers) for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Only then can you moisturize the skin of the hands with Vitamin E enriched lotion or moisturizer.

3. This problem can also be tackled internally. Increasing one's intake of Vitamin C and E can help speed up the skin renewal process, making the underlying tissues under the skin and nails to come out looking more rejuvenated.

As for the yellowing teeth, it would be best if the person is to consult a dentist. Some home remedies and products may actually do more harm to the weakened enamel of smokers' (or ex-smoker') teeth, causing the gums to look blacker and the enamel more brownish looking.

Cleaning Nicotine Stains - Simple Home Remedies

April Kerr owns website End Smoking Tips which is all about tips on stopping smoking [] and best ways to stop smoking [].