Does Smoking Cause Acne?

Can smoking cigarettes cause pimples?

Doctor Answers 3

Smoking worsens acne scarring

While smoking does not directly cause acne, my clinical experience suggests that smoking worsens acne scarring. Nicotine in smoking accelerates metabolism, exacerbates loss of collagen in an additive if not synergistic fashion along with sun exposure, thereby bringing about worsening of acne scarring. Smokers with acne scarring tend to have a distinct acne scarring pattern where there is a leathery texture along with pitting scars. Stop smoking for the sake of your skin!

Bay Area Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Smoking and acne

I tend to be a skeptic about this. I dont recommend smoking and I also dont believe that it causes acne. Acne is a complex disease with many variations. The different types of Acne are a result of many complex environmental and genetic issues. I do not consider smoking to be one of these issues.

Steven Hacker, MD
West Palm Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews


This would depend on your definition of a pimple, a non-medical term. Smoking may not cause pimples but it may cause acne.

A recent Italian study published in the British Journal of Dermatology showed that people who smoke have a much higher rate of what we dermatologists call non-inflammatory acne. Non-inflammatory acne includes blackheads and clogged pores.

This may due to an irritation of the pores, or more precisely the follicular orifices. This irritation may result in subsequent blockage.

In this study there was no increase in inflammatory acne, Inflammatory acne includes papules( pimples), pustules and cysts. So I suppose, smoking increases acne, but not pimples per se.

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.