Vaping could cause premature ageing and acne – skin specialist warns

Vaping: Dr Sara outlines the main side effects

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The health risks of smoking tobacco cigarettes have been well known for decades. Quitting smoking is usually one of the top pieces of advice shared by doctors and health bodies when it comes to lowering the chances of various conditions, such as heart disease, strokes and lung cancer. Initially it was hoped vaping e-cigarettes could be a healthier alternative.

However, in recent years multiple studies have warned of the risks of vaping too, including serious lung conditions such as EVALI.

One skincare and beauty specialist has now said that it could also have a damaging effect on our skin.

Rhysa Phommachanh, from Landys Chemist, shared three ways in which your skin is vulnerable to the effects of vaping.

Premature ageing and sagginess

“When you vape, you’re taking in nicotine which breaks down elastin and collagen in your skin AKA the thing that keeps your skin as healthy and hydrated as possible,” she said.

“Nicotine also tightens blood vessels, depriving your body and skin of the oxygen it needs and resulting in dehydration and speeding up the ageing process.

“This can appear in the form of enhanced wrinkles, enlarged pores, pale skin and sagginess and puffiness in areas such as the eyes and mouth.”

Dry skin and inflammation

She said: “With premature ageing comes dry and flaky skin at the fault of propylene glycol, a chemical prominent in e-cigarettes.

“Inhalation of this chemical can dry your skin out as it absorbs the water from your body and skin, depriving it of essential hydration and resulting in flaky skin.

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“Those with an existing dry skin problem might find that vaping further aggravates this and causes itchiness and patches.

“Vaping also contains many chemicals which can lead to inflammation of the skin. The more inflammation there is, the higher chance there is of your skin producing melanin – a dark spot or discolouration on your skin.

“This, in combination with the above risks, can contribute to unhealthy skin. This is why it’s especially important to maintain a beneficial skincare routine.”


Ms Phommachanh added: “A common result of dry and flaky skin is acne. When your skin becomes dry, the glands beneath it produce more sebum to counteract this, which is an oily substance that clogs pores and holds dirt and dead skin.

“Having an excess of sebum can lead to acne breakouts.

“Another way vaping can kick-start acne is through the transfer of vape chemicals directly to your skin.

“When you vape and blow out the chemicals you’ve inhaled, they can settle on places around you, including your hands, which you might use to touch your face and further build up bacteria on your already dry skin. As with any other cause of acne, this can cause breakouts.”

How long will the risks last?

“The skin health risks that come with vaping can last as long as you choose to vape, growing worse with more usage unless you actively attempt to stop,” Ms Phommachanh explained.

“There are professional procedures which you can consider to help ease the risks physically, such as peels and micro-needling, but this is only a temporary solution if you want to maintain healthy skin in the long run.

“Studies have shown that it can take just three days of regular usage for vaping to start to cause damage to the lungs, and as long as one to nine months after quitting for your lungs to clear all mucus and fight off infection, depending on how severe the damage is, and how long the vapes have been used for.

“It’s important to be aware of the risks associated with vaping products, and the impact the use of vapes has on your overall health.

“Being aware of these risks helps prevent medical emergencies and long-term health complications.”

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