Does Smoking Cause Acne? The Truth About Cigarettes and Pimples

It's a question that has plagued smokers for years – does smoking cause acne? There is no doubt that smoking cigarettes is bad for every organ in your body, including your skin. But does it specifically cause acne?


The experts say yes – smoking does cause acne. In fact, tobacco use is one of the major acne causes, according to a study from Italy's San Gallicano Dermatological Institute. Smoking cigarettes damages your skin in a number of ways, all of which can lead to pimples.


However, it differs from the regular pimple causes that you get due to inflammatory reasons. These pimples are called "smoker's acne," also known as atypical post-adolescent acne (APAA).


So if you're a smoker, there's one more reason to quit – for the sake of your skin! Keep reading as we explore how smoking causes acne and what you can do about it.

How Smoking Affects the Skin?

Does smoking cause pimples on the face? Smoking cigarettes causes acne in a few different ways:


  • First, it damages the skin's collagen and elastin – the two proteins that keep skin looking firm and youthful. This damage leads to wrinkles, sagging skin, and a dull complexion.

  • Second, smoking decreases the skin's ability to heal itself. This means that any pimples you do get will take longer to heal than they would otherwise.

  • Third, smoking constricts blood vessels in the skin. This reduced blood flow means that important nutrients and oxygen aren't getting to your skin cells, which can lead to inflammation and acne breakouts.

  • Fourth, smoking exposes your skin to harmful toxins that can clog pores and lead to acne. These toxins include tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide – all of which can cause inflammation and acne.

  • Finally, smoking decreases the skin's ability to produce vitamin A. This vitamin is important for healthy skin because it helps to keep pores clear. Without enough vitamin A, your pores can become clogged, and acne can develop.

What is Smoker's Acne: What does it look like?

Smoker's acne is a form of acne that is specifically caused by smoking cigarettes. It differs from regular acne in a few key ways.


  • First, a smoker's acne tends to appear later in life – usually in your 20s or 30s. This is because it takes years for the damage from smoking to accumulate and cause pimples.

  • Second, a smoker's acne is more likely to appear on the lower half of your face. This includes your chin, jawline, and neck – areas that are rich in blood vessels that can be constricted by smoking.

  • Third, a smoker's acne is often characterized by large, deep pimples that are difficult to treat. These pimples can be painful and may take weeks or even months to heal.

  • Fourth, a smoker's acne is more likely to leave behind scars. This is because the damage from smoking prevents the skin from healing properly, which can lead to scarring.

  • Finally, a smoker's acne is often accompanied by other signs of premature aging, such as wrinkles and sagging skin. This is because smoking causes damage to the skin's collagen and elastin – the two proteins that keep skin looking firm and youthful.

Essentially, the appearance of a smoker's acne can be characterized in two ways:


  1. Non-inflamed open comedones: These are small, black dots (also known as blackheads) that appear on the surface of the skin. They are caused by clogged pores that have been exposed to smoke and other toxins.

  2. Closed comedones: These are larger, white bumps that appear under the skin. They are primarily small pimples without the redness and swelling that is characteristic of acne. However, they can become inflamed if the pore becomes clogged with sebum and bacteria.

Can Quitting Smoking Clear Acne Automatically?

Unfortunately, acne caused by smoking is not something that will go away on its own – even if you quit smoking. This is because the damage from smoking can accumulate over time, and it can take years for your skin to heal.


However, quitting smoking is still the best thing you can do for your skin – and your health in general. Once you quit, your skin will begin to repair itself, and over time, you may see a significant improvement in your acne.


If you're struggling to quit smoking, there are many resources available to help you. Your doctor can provide you with information about quitting smoking and refer you to support groups or counseling.


Moreover, you can fasten the process of acne clearing by using acne treatments that are specifically designed to improve the appearance of acne scars and other damage caused by smoking.


The Pink Foundry’s anti-acne range can be very helpful for acne treatment. The products in this range, namely Acne Spot Corrector, Anti-Acne Serum, and Oil Free Matte Moisturizer, contain ingredients that are known to improve the appearance of acne scars and other damage caused by smoking.


These clinically proven formulas can help regulate sebum production, remove dead skin, and fight against acne.


Explore The Pink Foundry’s anti-acne range for more information.

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