Do Cigarettes Cause Acne? Smoking & Skincare
It goes without saying that we all know smoking isn’t that great for you. After all, there are countless negative health effects that it wreaks on your body.
That said, many of the biggest effects happen internally--ranging from eventually leading to strokes or coronary heart disease, cancer in almost any part of your body, and more.
While there’s no denying that these effects are incredibly serious, since they happen internally, it’s easier to pay less attention to them or ignore them.
But did you know that smoking also causes visible effects?
If you’ve ever woken up and looked in the mirror to see an ugly breakout after a night of partying, you may have wondered if downing too many beers or smoking too many cigarettes cause acne.
Curious to know if there’s a link between smoking cigarettes and your skin? Keep reading to find out!
Is Smoker’s Acne Real?
Credit: Young Men's Health
You might have heard the phrase smoker’s acne being thrown around--but is it an actual, evidence-backed symptom?
A 2009 study sampling 1000+ people found an extremely high correlation between smoking and the amount of acne the participants had, in addition to excess sebum and reduced Vitamin E.
In fact, the most severe cases of acne were so bad that it was termed a “new entity (smoker’s acne)”!
To put it in other numbers: 42% of smokers had acne, as opposed to 10% of non-smokers, and 75% of people with non-inflammatory acne smoked, making smoker’s acne a verifiable phenomenon.
That said, do remember most of the research is around smoking actual cigarettes, but if you’re curious about the link between smoking weed and acne, check out this blog post!
What is Acne Inversa
But it’s not just smoker’s acne you need to worry about, but also acne inversa (also known as hidradenitis suppurativa), a skin condition also correlated to smoking.
Although it may look a lot like acne, it’s not your everyday acne. Acne inversa happens when your apocrine glands (the ones that produce sweat), and the skin around it gets inflamed.
This is different from normal acne, which isn’t inflammatory, and is a chronic skin condition linked closely to smoking, with a whopping 88.9% of smokers in a study diagnosed with acne inversa.
But why does this happen? Why is smoking linked so closely to skincare?
How Smoking Affects the Skin
Credit: US Food and Drug Administration
There are many ways that smoking can affect your skin, leading to serious issues in the short- and long-term. Below are three of the biggest effects smoking can have on your skin.
Smoking can cause cancer in virtually any part of your body, and your skin is no exception.
If you smoke, you’re far more likely to develop squamous cell skin cancer, which are the cells on the outer part of your epidermis. You’re most likely to develop it on your lips, but could include your neck, face, ears, or other parts.
Dutch researchers found that smoking triples the likelihood of developing this common form of skin cancer, meaning that it’s a very substantial risk--most likely due to DNA damage in skin tissue.
Worried about getting saggy, drooping skin? That cigarette won’t do you any favors!
In addition to causing premature aging (you can get wrinkles and crow’s feet from the movements you make while smoking), it also can lead to saggy skin.
The many toxins in tobacco smoke, including nicotine, have a direct effect on your skin’s elasticity by affecting your body’s production of collagen and elastin.
The results? Skin that sags, and will easily add on several years to your actual age.
Luckily, you can fix this with a proper skincare routine. By using a gel cleanser, moisturizers, and an eye energizer, your skin can look brand new.
If you suffer from saggy skin, we recommend that you take a look at our revival kit. It has also the tools you need to restore your skin back to its proper condition.
As we mentioned earlier, acne inversa is yet another chronic condition you need to worry about if you’re smoking when it comes to skincare.
Smoking is one of the main triggering factors in accelerating acne inversa. In many ways, it’s worse than acne--and may not be limited to just your face.
Many people develop it in various places where their skin touches other skins, and can be not just extremely unpleasant to look at, but very painful.
While it’s unsure what exactly causes acne inversa, smoking is definitely linked to making your symptoms worse, and is much more common among smokers, so better to avoid it!
It’s 100% certain that smoking causes many unwanted side effects, but the effects on your skin are some of the most visible ones. (Do note that
While it can be hard to quit smoking, it can be worth it in the long run (do note that you shouldn’t just substitute it with vaping since vaping can cause acne, too!)
There are plenty of resources out there so you don’t have to do it alone, including support groups and OTC and prescription medications.
And if you need some skincare products to help take care of your skin in the meantime, Stryx offers a wide range of products perfect for breakouts, including Concealer Tools and more.
With some time, dedication, and hard work, you can soon be well on your way to getting better skin. Good luck!
Capitanio, Bruno et al. “Acne and smoking.” Dermato-endocrinology vol. 1,3 (2009): 129-35. doi:10.4161/derm.1.3.9638
König, A et al. “Cigarette smoking as a triggering factor of hidradenitis suppurativa.” Dermatology (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 198,3 (1999): 261-4. doi:10.1159/000018126
American Society Of Clinical Oncology. "Smoking Triples Risk Of A Common Type Of Skin Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 December 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001229084058.htm>
Tzaphlidou M. The role of collagen and elastin in aged skin: an image processing approach. Micron. 2004;35(3):173-7. doi: 10.1016/j.micron.2003.11.003. PMID: 15036271.