Smoking and Acne: Does Smoking Cause Acne? (Researched Data 2018)
Lighting up another stick? Pause for a moment and think about all the good things that can happen to you and even to your loved ones when you finally quit. You’ve heard it all before, haven’t you? Still you can’t kick out the habit. Maybe if the repercussions to your health didn’t seem so far away (and you stopped pretending it can’t happen to you), you probably would heed but, just maybe, vanity will make you stop turning a blind eye at the expense of your health because smoking does bad things to your skin too.
Quitting Is Such A Sexy Thing To Do
UK’s National Health Service has been embarking on the Stoptober Campaign held annually to motivate more smokers to quit. The campaign connects smokers to a robust body of resources and provides a support network to facilitate the entire transition to quitting. From e-cigarettes, nicotine patches, smoking-related skincare, and shifting to healthier lifestyles, the campaign aims to see through inspiring more people to quit. If you smoke, this year could be your turn to quit too.
The beauty of the program is that it does not treat tobacco smoking as just another bad habit. It treats it as an addiction that calls for a lifestyle overhaul. By doing so, it may be addressing the root causes of why people smoke in the first place. Most often, the primary causes are stress and a generally unhealthy lifestyle. Support is, likewise, seemingly endless. You can see a counselor at your locality or, download an app if you’re more the self-help type of person.
To keep the figures sliding, According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 1.1 billion people around the world were tobacco smokers, based on 2015 reports. Of the Top 10 causes of deaths in the world, many will have been averted simply by quitting smoking, most notably deaths due to stroke, heart diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and lower respiratory tract infections.
As global figures rise, the number of smokers in industrialized countries continue to slide. In England, Public Health England reports that an estimated 500,000 smokers quit in 2015. The UK Office for National Statistics reports that in 2015, only 17.2 per cent of adults in UK were smokers, showing a decline from the 20.1 per cent adults smoking in 2010.
A Huff And A Puff
Does smoking cause acne? Yes, it does! Well, at least some experts believe it does. While it might not matter to you now because you know you have clear, blemish-free skin in spite of being a smoker – thanks to your acne treatment strategy – you might find yourself growing acne after menopause later in life.
A study involving 1,046 randomly selected women, 25 to 50 years old, published in 2009 in the Journal of Dermato Endocrinology, which was also published in the British Journal of Dermatology, demonstrates that you might be at a higher risk for developing adult acne. Below are some of the most notable findings of the study:
- The study showed that 47 per cent of subjects who smoked and who had acne as adolescents have acne now as compared to only 18.5 per cent of non-smokers under similar circumstances.
- The researchers observed that Atypical (non-inflammatory) post-adolescent acne was considerably prevalent at 74.6 per cent of subjects, 81.8 per cent of whom were smokers.
In a more recent study published in 2015 in the Journal of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Public Health that tried to find a link between smoking habits and acne, the researchers concluded that smokers were more likely to develop acne, most especially males.
In an attempt to estimate the prevalence of acne among smokers, a 2001 study published in the Journal of Dermatology, measured the prevalence rate of acne in a general population sample which was pegged at 26.8 per cent, with more men getting affected compared to women. The study also observed that acne was more prevalent among active smokers than non-smokers.
Your Body, Your Skin
Why does smoking cause acne anyway? When it comes to matters of the skin, like different types of acne, people tend to neglect the fact that the skin is part of a larger system, which is no other than your body in its entirety.
In a non-systemic approach, acne treatment is localized, and if you have been acne challenged at least at one point in your life, you must know that what causes acne have a lot to do with your lifestyle, and that the best adult acne skin care tips are the ones that compel you to rethink your lifestyle and to instill significant changes, that includes quitting smoking once and for all.
So, exactly how does smoking cause acne anyway? Below are just some of the ways by which smoking and acne are connected, according to those who claim so:
- Toxins, dust and smoke clogs your pores, making you more prone to what is termed as Atypical (non-inflammatory) post-adolescent acne, which often mixes with dead skin cells, sebum, and other impurities on the surface of your skin and causes you to develop blackheads and whiteheads.
- Wound healing is compromised which causes inflammations, acne marks and other skin imperfections to take longer to heal.
- Nicotine tightens your pores and causes skin oils to get stuck, start an infection then, breakout.
- Smoking causes irregularities in your hormones, increasing the production and volume at any given time of male hormones which are the primary drivers of excessive sebum production.
Therefore, if in case you are struggling with acne, and you have been smoking, seeking the answer to the question, “How does smoking cause acne?” is important but, perhaps the best way as to how to treat acne and scars on your face is to support your skin to heal by stopping to light that stick.
Still asking, “Does smoking cigarettes cause acne?” In fact, experts say, it can also make your acne worse
“Where’s The Connection?”
Some people remain skeptical about the smoking-acne connection and how does smoking cause acne at all. In reality, evidence remains inconclusive and it might take a massive study to really resolve the differences in opinions once and for all. There are some studies that revealed that, on the contrary, acne is less prevalent among people who smoke.
In 2006, the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology published the results of a study that sought to link smoking and acne. Surprisingly, the study observed that there was lower prevalence of acne among girls who smoked. The researchers were quick to note that the observation was merely descriptive and that it does prove any cause-effect relationship between smoking and having a lower risk for developing acne.
In another study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, researchers observed that male study subjects who smoked exhibited significantly fewer breakouts than other males within the same age group who did not smoke.
The UK National Health Service provided its interpretation of the same study cited above which was published in 2009 in the Journal of Dermato Endocrinology, highlighting:
- Smoking may be a contributing factor to the development of acne. Nevertheless, there are other factors that will have to be considered.
- The study design has its limitations, including not considering the timing of acne and when the habit of smoking was picked up.
- The study design and method does not establish a cause-effect relationship between smoking and acne.
- The population sampled is very limited and, therefore, conclusion does not automatically apply to the general population.
Other experts offer other explanations, physicians included, that generally question how smoking makes acne worse. Below are just some of the points that have been raised:
- Some say nicotine, in fact, slows down your skin’s inflammatory response which, in turn, makes acne challenged skin less reactive to acne-causing bacteria and, in the simplest terms, that prevents breakouts.
- Others speculate that smoking has both good and bad effects on your skin, that is, in relation to acne and breakouts.
- Most, if not all, studies that attempt to link smoking and acne are unable to take other potential causes into consideration and neglect its effects in their study. In fact most studies will basically tell you that in so-so population, acne was more prevalent among smokers – period.
- Studies that attempt to answer the question, “Does smoking cause acne?are often inherently flawed, such that population sampled is very limited or, that subjects are merely asked to fill out standardized questionnaires which makes the responses highly variable and open to interpretation, in which ways, generalizations are impossible to draw from study results.
- When stress is the main culprit causing your acne, smoking, if you find it therapeutic, might actually help you de-stress, causing your hormones to normalize somewhat which, in turn, gets excessive sebum production under control once again.
Does Smoking Hurt Your Skin?
There may be loose ends that may have to be tied up when it comes to answering how does smoking cause acne but, when it comes to smoking and skin aging, everyone appears to be in unison. Other than causing you wrinkles, smoking hurts your skin in general.
Listed below are just some of the ways by which smoking can cause your skin permanent damage:
- Smoking sucks out the moisture in your skin as it breaks down natural moisture storage and barriers, including Vitamin E.
- Your immune response goes down, making you more susceptible to infections.
- Toxins cause your collagen and elastin fibers to breakdown, giving you a droopy look and even loose skin.
- Your veins become constricted which, in turn, limits the blood flow to your skin and compromises fluid drainage.
- Your skin becomes nutrient depleted, limiting the amount of energy available to fuel mechanisms that repair and regenerate your skin naturally.
- Nicotine has a favorable effect of increasing your collagen production but, only temporarily.
- Nicotine eventually causes your skin to heal significantly slower, and when your skin is unable to cope with the damage, these show up as fine lines, sagging skin, and other signs of skin aging that keep worsening as you keep puffing your smoke.
- Other toxins in a cigarette smoke breakdown collagen and elastin in your skin which keep your skin elastic and propped up.
- Blood pressure and heart rate spikes, causing stress to your body, including to your skin, particularly in causing your skin to produce excess oils that eventually block your pores and lead to acne and breakouts.
- Toxins get deposited to your pores and system which affects cellular level metabolism and suffers fluid drainage.
Smoking is a dangerous habit that puts you and your loved one’s health in jeopardy. It’s no secret. In fact, even smokers know that smoking will not do anybody any good. If you smoke, you’ve known all along that smoking will eventually take a toll on your health. So, finding out the answer to the question, “Does smoking cause acne?” should not even be a prerogative for you to quit.
Contrary to what many people tend to believe, the benefits of quitting are almost as instant as the second you put off that light. Even when it comes to acne and your skin, the benefits are real and immediate. After all, your skin is part of your body so that whatever you do to your body, you do to your skin as well. No amount of topical or oral Vitamin E or Vitamin C will help you regain your clear, blemish-free, and radiant skin but, simply quitting and shifting to healthier lifestyle practices are guaranteed to change the way your skin looks and the way your body feels – forever.
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