Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Does smoking cause acne?"
I've heard this, but I'm only a light smoker and I've had acne since way before.
It is common knowledge that smoking does have damaging effects on the skin over a number of years to give the "old-looking skin." It is the effect of chemicals absorbed from cigarette smoking that can damage connective tissue lying underneath the skin, which leads to developing wrinkles. Smoking, while deteriorating the appearance of the skin over a period of time, in itself does not seem to cause acne. However, it is safe to assume that smoking suppresses the immune system; therefore, it may aggravate the existing acne. As you know already, acne is a disorder of the pilosebaceous unit consisting of a hair follicle, sebaceous gland, and a hair. These sebaceous glands produce an oily substance known as sebum to lubricate the hair and skin. Acne occurs when the hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells in response to the body producing an excess amount of sebum and dead skin cells. Although it is not known what causes the increased production of sebum that leads to acne, a number of factors, including hormones, bacteria, certain medications and heredity, play the role. You should discuss acne treatments with a dermatologist who will perform an accurate skin evaluation and let you know the best way to treat it.