Cigarette smoking found to be risk factor in acne.




Br J Dermatol

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Acne vulgaris is the most common skin disease, affecting 80% of the population between the ages of 12 and 25. It usually has a limited life span of its own; however, some cases may persist for years and the more severe cases may potentially lead to scarring and disfigurement. The lesions of acne are generally classified as inflammatory or noninflammatory; they occur most frequently on the face, neck, chest, and back. The causes of acne are very complex and involve many different systems and chemicals within the body. Hormones, enzymes, and the immune system all interact together resulting in different reactions in each individual. Understanding this complex system has kept dermatologists busy for decades.

Acne is considered an inherited disease, although it is impossible to know which members of a family may suffer from the disease, and which members will not. Acne is not caused by greasy foods, and is not caused by dirt. Avoiding all greasy foods may help curb obesity, but will likely not affect acne. While keeping the skin clean is always recommended, excessive washing of the skin to remove dirt may actually interfere with some treatment programs.

The British Journal of Dermatology recently published the results of a sizeable study done in Germany that investigated the effects of cigarette smoking on both the frequency of outbreaks and the level of severity of those outbreaks. Investigators learned that the prevalence of acne was higher in smokers than in non smokers. In addition, there was a distinct correlation between the number of cigarettes smoked each day and the severity of outbreaks. The results of the study were significant enough that the investigators have listed cigarette smoking as one of the primary risk factors for acne.1


1. Schafer T. Epidemiology of acne in the general population: the risk of smoking. Br J Dermatol 2001 Jul;145(1):100-4.