The pitfalls of smoking have been widely investigated and advertised, and we’re all aware that lung and mouth illnesses are directly linked to smoking. The myths surrounding acne have seen us giving up all sorts of things in the hope of having clear skin- but should smoking be one of them?
Are smokers more likely to have acne?
The British Association of Dermatologists recently published research that links smoking to acne. They found that 42 per cent of smokers had acne and only one in ten non-smokers had acne.
They went on to suggest that adult female smokers seemed to be affected by a particular type of acne: NIA, or non-inflammatory acne. This acne is characterised by blocked pores and large blackheads, but none of the more common inflamed spots.
However, Acne.org, an online resource for those wanting to learn about acne and treatment, highlights conflicting studies about smoking and acne. While it accepts that some studies have drawn unfavourable links between smoking and spots, it cites other studies that have actually found that acne isn’t as common among smokers. A study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology (2006) where a nurses interviewed 27,083 men over a period of 20 years, found that active smokers showed a significantly lower prevalence of severe acne than non-smokers.
Should I stop smoking or not?
This is a difficult one. While smoking may or may not be the cause of your acne, it’s certainly damaging your skin. All dermatologists agree that smoking constricts the blood vessels and hampers our cells’ ability to protect our skin. Because smoking hinders the collagen production process, which is needed to keep skin smooth and supple, it has also been linked to the appearance of wrinkles.