Smoking acne: causes and treatment

Nicotine addiction is absolutely detrimental to human health. In the process of combustion, a cigarette releases more than 4 thousand toxins, resins, heavy metals. All of them, one way or another, have a destructive effect on skin cells both from the inside and outside. In addition to discoloration, the appearance of wrinkles, and disturbed tone, smokers often experience acne.

Acne options

There are several prerequisites leading to acne. It is not known which of them plays a key role. Immunity works differently in all people, sensitivity to nicotine and other components differs. Skin type, lifestyle, nutrition and many other factors also matter.

Allergic reaction

Some compounds can be perceived by the immune system as hostile. In response to their entry into the blood, cells and enzymes are produced that are designed to neutralize the aggressor and mobilize the body to fight. This is the essence of allergies. It can manifest itself both in disruption of the internal organs, and in external manifestations: dermatitis, urticaria, edema.

Important! Allergens tend to accumulate, so the reaction does not necessarily occur immediately. Sometimes manifestations make themselves felt after months, and even years of smoking. 

Tobacco alkaloids are themselves toxic. The plant needs them to protect itself from insects. They act not fatally on the human nervous system, leading to muscle relaxation, a slight feeling of euphoria. Nevertheless, this is a poison, and the body reacts to it in the only possible way – it tries to neutralize it, and push the metabolites out as soon as possible.

The skin is the largest organ. Its functions are not only in protection from external stimuli, but also in the removal of waste products outside. Naturally, through sweat and sebaceous glands, it gets rid of unnecessary things. If the immune response to intoxication begins in the cells of the epidermis, the patient develops:

  • Small pustules filled with clear fluid. With intense manifestations, they merge, forming weeping irritations. Open wounds quickly become infected, and ulcers appear in their place.
  • Red spots and local edema due to the release of histamine by cells.

Clogged pores

Resins from tobacco smoke are deposited on the skin. Mostly around the mouth and nose. A thin sticky film is formed, which, on the one hand, prevents the outflow of secretions from sweat and sebaceous glands, and on the other hand, attracts dust and pathogens contained in it from the air. Comedones are formed , which become a breeding ground for bacteria and mites. If the defense system fails, then the development of the disease occurs very quickly. Blackheads become infected in a matter of days and turn into itchy acne.

Skin irritation

Nicotine leads to spasm of small vessels. The cells of the dermis are undernourished. The face becomes dull, becomes gray or yellowish, and becomes dry to the touch. Due to the violation of the lipid film, the upper layer of cells becomes thinner and partially dies off. Easy enough to scratch to injure.

At the same time, the sebum becomes thicker and harder to leave the pores. Those, in turn, expand, fill with fatty secretions, in which microbes multiply.

Dehydration itself leads to redness and flaking, and pathogens only exacerbate the process.

How to deal with acne of a smoker?

The best way to protect your skin from acne is to give up the bad habit forever. However, if it is too difficult to quit smoking, some of the skin problems can be solved with the help of medicines, cosmetics, care and health support. It is necessary to approach the fight against rashes systemically.


Any pills, creams and ointments with antibacterial and antihistamine effects should be prescribed by a dermatologist. Self-medication can worsen the situation.

Depending on the exact diagnosis, the following will be prescribed:

  • External agents that suppress the growth of microbes. These are lotions, ointments and creams with antibiotics or bacteriophages.
  • Antiallergenic medications to reduce itching, swelling and redness.
  • Drying suspensions and pastes based on zinc or acetylsalicylic acid to prevent pustule infections.

At home

In addition to pharmacy products, you can help yourself quickly cope with unpleasant aesthetic defects on your own.

Suitable for this:

  • Lotions from a decoction of chamomile, green tea, calendula or celandine.
  • Masks made from oatmeal, aloe pulp, grated fennel root.
  • Steam baths with essential oils of tea tree, rosemary, lavender or mint.

Note! It is better to prepare decoctions and tinctures according to proven recipes. Concentration shouldn’t be too strong. Otherwise, you can get burned and allergic. It is better to refuse alcoholic tinctures. 

Prevention of acne in smokers

Anything is easier to prevent than to cure. Acne is no exception. If you still can’t beat nicotine addiction, you should take care of your face.

You can prevent the development of inflammation if:

  • Reduce the number of cigarettes per day. The less contact with smoke and tar, the less negative manifestations. 
  • Drink more clean water. The norm for a smoker is more than two liters per day.
  • Women use mineral makeup and avoid oily creams.  
  • Regularly (preferably several times a day) cleanse the skin with special alcohol-free wipes or micellar water.  
  • Apply a protective serum in the morning . It is absorbed into the top layer, while forming the thinnest non-sticky film that will not let resins, toxins, free radicals and dust into the pores. 
  • Wash your face thoroughly before going to bed and refuse oily night creams and masks based on oils. 
  • Do a light peeling once or twice a week to get rid of dead cells of the epidermis and sebaceous plugs. 
  • In no case should you squeeze out acne yourself, it is better to visit a beautician once a month for hardware facial cleansing.  
event_note November 24, 2020

account_box Dr. Peter B Milburn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *