10 Ways Smoking Affects Your Skin


Cigarette smoking puts your overall health at risk, which includes the health of your skin. Cigarettes contain toxins that can cause premature aging and other skin conditions, including skin cancer. If you already have a skin condition, smoking can worsen its symptoms.

If you currently smoke and notice that your skin is suffering, be sure to talk to your doctor about ways you can manage your symptoms as well as resources to quit smoking. In many cases, your skin may begin to heal itself once you quit.

How Quitting Tobacco Improves Your Skin

If you’re coping with a skin condition related to smoking, you are much more likely to better manage your symptoms or even start recovering when you quit smoking.

By quitting, you’ll reduce the inflammation of blood vessels that leads to many smoking-related skin conditions. Your circulation and heart rate will improve, as will the functioning of your heart and lungs. The return of normal blood flow will bring oxygen and nutrients to skin cells and your skin can begin to look healthier.

Overall, your body will start to heal itself. Your ability to heal from wounds will improve, too.

One study found that dark spots and discoloration of the skin had subsided in participants several weeks after they quit smoking.

People with acne inversa who smoke generally have more affected areas of the body than people with the condition who don’t smoke. Similar findings have been reported for people with psoriasis and eczema as well.

Doctors urge people with Buerger’s disease to quit smoking to improve symptoms and curb the progression of the condition.

Dermatologists are encouraged to advise their patients to quit smoking, regardless of whether they have a skin condition or not, to avoid any potential damage that smoking can do to the skin.

Mental Health Considerations

People with skin conditions may experience low self-esteem, self-consciousness, anxiety, and/or depression, especially when the symptoms of their condition increase.

If you’re experiencing any mental health symptoms as a result of your skin condition, be sure to reach out to your doctor for help.

Your doctor can refer you to a mental health professional who can help you cope.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to have a positive effect on people with skin conditions like psoriasis. You may be able to improve your quality of life with this emotion-based therapy, addressing the underlying feelings you have about your condition to develop a more positive outlook.

A Word From Verywell

It may take some time, but the benefits to your health and well-being are worth the effort it takes to quit smoking. If you’re having trouble, remember there are many resources that can help. Try reaching out to a support group near you or download a quit smoking app on your phone. Every day that you go without smoking is another day your skin has a chance to repair itself.


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