Does Smoking Cause Acne? Why You Should Quit Now!

We know smoking can give us cancer, and a million other bad things, but does smoking cause acne? Well, unfortunately the answer doesn’t seam to be a straight yes or no.

Some studies have found a link between smoking and acne, while others have not. All I know is that I don’t think there is any way smoking could help your acne, so why not let this be one more good reason to quit smoking.

A 2006 study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology interviewed over 27,000 young men over a span of 20 years and came to a very surprising conclusion. Active smokers had a much lower prevalence of severe acne than nonsmokers.

A woman with acne smoking a cigarette. Smoking may cause acne in some people.

Other studies have found that smoking caused acne more in boys, less in girls, and vice versa. A study published in 2001 found that smokers had more acne, and the more they smoked, the worse the acne was.

A more recent study done in 2009 found a strong correlation between smoking and acne, specifically non-inflammatory acne or NIA.

Basically, the evidence is very contradictory, and we need more and better studies before we can answer the question, “does smoking cause acne?”

How Can Smoking Cause Acne?

When you have a healthy immune system, and balanced hormone levels you are less likely to have acne. When you are a smoker your immune system and hormone levels become compromised.

There are almost 600 additives approved for use in cigarettes. However, when burned, these additives result in the creation of over 7000 chemicals inside cigarette smoke, and at least 70 of these chemicals are known to be cancer causing. There is absolutely no way this can be good for our skin!

A danger sign. Hazardous chemicals in cigarettes may cause acne.

7000+ Chemicals Can’t Be Good For Acne

One thing that all studies can agree on is the fact that smoking is harmful to our skin cells. It constricts the blood vessels that provide nutrients to our skin, and damages the surface of our skin that comes into contact with the actual tobacco smoke. It also creates inflammation in the body, which is a contributing factor in numerous diseases. Smoking also increases the time it takes for wounds to heal, wounds from acne included.

The chemicals and other trash present in tobacco smoke can contribute to clogged pores. When your pores get clogged, oil and dead skin cells get trapped inside the pore, then blackheads can crop up. It can also allow bacteria to get into your skin from the toxins within smoke, promoting infections and causing an increase in acne as well.

…no way this can be good for our skin!

Some of the other reasons that smoking may cause acne is because smoking plays havoc on your hormonal system, and a balanced hormonal system is important for a healthy body. Smoke also causes your pores to secrete excess sebum (skin oil), leading to more clogged pores.

There was a study conducted on a group of 1,000 women between the ages of 25 to 50, and it was shown that over 40% of them had acne, where 10% of them did not. The 40% that had acne were all smokers, where the 10% of them who did not have acne were non-smokers.

There is a name for this acne in smokers, the name for it is non-inflammatory acne, and the short form is NIA. The non-inflammatory acne is mostly found in the form of black heads and white heads. Basically, smoking is not guaranteed to cause acne, but it definitely doesn’t help.

Smoking Harms Your Skin’s Appearance

One thing that all doctors will agree on is that smoking harms your skin’s appearance. It is closely associated with wrinkles and premature aging of the skin. It impairs collagen production, creates free radicals, and degrades skin proteins, all of which cause your skin to age faster.

A smoking man with wrinkled skin. Smoking harms your skin's appearance and may cause acne in some people.

So, does smoking cause acne? Maybe, maybe not, but if you’re worried about your appearance and don’t like the idea of aging faster and getting wrinkles earlier, then you should really try to quit smoking.

Do you have a good story about how quitting smoking helped your acne or other skin problems? Tell us about it in the comments! I used to smoke and I ended up quitting by using Chantix. I urge anyone reading this to quit smoking however you can, because it may help your acne, but more importantly it will help you live a better quality life…


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