Can Smoking Cause Acne?
by Vanessa Day
It’s common knowledge that smoking can cause a number of health hazards, including accelerated aging of the skin. While wrinkles are certainly an unwanted side effect of smoking, acne can be just as bad, especially for adults. Many studies have been conducted on the effects of smoking on adult acne, and conflicting results have been reported. So does smoking really affect acne?
The Basics of Adult Acne and Smoking
There are a few varieties of adult acne, but the studies done on how smoking affects breakouts have focused on two kinds: Comedonal Postadolescent Acne—blackheads, spots and un-inflamed bumps—and Papulopustular Postadolescent Acne—mild or moderately inflamed papules and pastules. It has been shown that smoking leads to high incidences of Comedonal Acne, mainly in women. Smoking was not seen to have any impact on Papulopustular Acne. Research also indicated a correlation between the number of daily cigarettes and the severity of acne conditions. Over 70% of women in the study who smoked experienced moderate to severe cases of Comedonal Acne, so it would appear that cigarettes can worsen acne.
However, previous investigations showed opposite results, saying that smoking might actually reduce acne. Nicotine constricts blood vessels, which decreases inflammatory acne and prevents the skin from becoming irritated and red. With this information, many have argued that smoking may help with acne or has little affect on it at all.
Are Smoking and Acne Actually Linked?
Acne forms from bacteria and impurities that build up, and smoking can intensify that buildup by increasing carbon dioxide levels that end up clogging hair follicles and pores. This condition is known as “Smoker’s Acne,” and was seen in many of the studies conducted by skincare specialists. As mentioned before, decreased blood flow can reduce inflammation in acne, making it less severe. This reduction, however, can also make it harder for acne to heal. Nicotine affects the production of collagen in skin, giving it that aged look, which can worsen the appearance of acne scars. Due to mixed results, there is still a lot of speculation on whether or not smoking really affects acne. Based on the fact that cigarettes have a negative affect on skin health overall, it is a safe assumption that there is a connection between worsening acne and smoking.
If you are suffering from adult acne, and you are a smoker, it’s best to quit the habit. Smoking is not a definite cause of acne, but it is still an unhealthy practice that can greatly impact the state of your skin. It’s a good idea to discuss possible acne treatments with a certified skincare specialist. A trained professional will perform an accurate skin evaluation to let you know how severe your acne is and the best way to treat it. There are a number of medical treatments that can effectively heal acne, including IPL Photofacial, Thermage, Laser Skin Rejuvenation and Microdermabrasion, and you can pick the procedure that works best for your skin.
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