Does Smoking Cause Acne?

acne and smoking

There have been suggestions by researchers at the San Gallicano Dermatological Institute in Rome, that smoking cigarettes can cause acne breakouts.

It indicated that non smokers had a higher risk of inflammatory acne. Even then it still showed a higher relationship to non inflammatory acne.

Smoking results in the production of free radicals and these free radicals causes the body to produce cytokines which are inflammatory molecules.

These molecules are largely implicated in the early stages of acne formation, as they are present in clogged pores. Studies show that when healthy skin is exposed to a high level of cytokine, it starts developing acne.

Smoking has also been discovered to reduce Vitamin E, as an antioxidant, Vitamin E is absolutely vital for a healthy immune system.

When a reduction occurs in this anti-oxidant, it can lead to an increase in the bacterial infection that cause acne.

According to researchers, 42 percent of smokers suffered from acne compared to 10 percent of non-smokers. But cigarette smokers seemed to develop non-inflamed acne at a much higher rate than other adult acne sufferers.

Non inflammatory acne do not occur or have the appearance as the red inflamed  pimples, rather it blocks the pores and appears as comedones – skin coloured bumps and blackheads. Commonly seen on the cheek.

Smoking has also been shown to cause sebum peroxidation. This leads to oxidative damage by free radicals, and when this occurs , it depletes the oxygen present in pores. The bacteria that causes acnes, P-acne thrives in an environment with low oxygen.

So a low oxygen environment becomes a comfortable setting for the multiply of the bacteria. When it thrives, it then leads to blocked pores which sets the stage for acne.

Well that goes to show that you are at a higher risk of getting acne if you are a smoker especially of the non inflammatory nature.

Not just that, smoking delays the healing of wound, and acne lesions can be classified as wounds.

This is because smoking restricts blood flow to the skin and as such wounds do not get enough nutrients that it needs to heal well. So acne lesions may take longer than normal to heal if you are a smoker.

Smoking is quite harmful to the skin, and apart from other skin problems which can arise due to it, it also makes the skin a breeding ground for acne.

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