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E-cigarettes can take a toll on your skin! 6 side effects of vaping

Vaping is not a safer alternative to traditional smoking! Here are 6 side effects of vaping on skin and how to protect your skin against them.
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Vaping is not safe for your skin! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Aayushi Gupta Published: 29 Dec 2023, 12:00 pm IST
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Vaping has gained popularity in recent years as a perceived safer alternative to traditional smoking. However, emerging evidence suggests that vaping comes with its own set of health risks, and its impact on the skin is one aspect that has raised concerns. One of the primary reasons vaping is believed to be harmful to the skin is the exposure to harmful chemicals present in e-cigarette aerosols. While e-cigarettes do not produce tar or many of the toxic compounds found in traditional cigarette smoke, they do emit a variety of substances that can have detrimental effects on the skin.

Side effects of vaping on skin

Vaping involves inhaling and exhaling aerosols, often referred to as vapor, produced by an electronic cigarette, known as an e-cigarette or vape. These devices heat a liquid solution, usually containing chemicals such as propylene glycol, glycerin, flavourings, and optional nicotine, to produce an inhalable aerosol. Health Shots got in touch with Dr Niti Gaur, MD, a certified dermatologist, who says, “These chemicals present in e-cigarettes have potential risks for your skin, including premature ageing.”

6 common side effects of vaping on the skin

1. Dull skin tone

Many e-cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance that can have negative effects on the skin. Nicotine causes vasoconstriction, which narrows blood vessels and reduces blood flow to the skin. This can lead to decreased oxygen and nutrient supply to the skin, resulting in a dull, pale complexion. Reduced blood flow can also impair wound healing and contribute to delayed or poor healing of any skin-related injuries.

dry skin
Vaping can make your skin dull. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. Skin dryness

One of the primary side effects of vaping is dehydration and dryness of the skin. Dr Gaur says, “The inhalation of heated vapour can dehydrate the skin, leading to increased transepidermal water loss (TEWL). This can leave the skin feeling dry, tight, and flaky.” Dry skin can exacerbate existing skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis, increasing skin sensitivity.

3. Premature ageing

Collagen is a vital protein that provides structure and elasticity to the skin. Vaping has been found to disrupt collagen production, leading to premature ageing of the skin. Reduced collagen levels can result in the formation of fine lines, wrinkles, and saggy skin, making the skin appear older than it is. A study published in the National Library of Medicine also says that vaping delays wound healing and accelerates skin ageing.

Another study published in Experimental Dermatology reveals that the facial expressions made while vaping, particularly the movements of the mouth and eyes, can contribute to the formation of wrinkles on the face.

Also read: Study suggests that vaping cannabis is much worse than smoking a cigarette

4. Skin irritation and inflammation

“Vaping involves the inhalation of various chemicals and toxins, including propylene glycol and flavourings. These substances can act as skin irritants and allergens, causing redness, itching, and inflammation,” says Dr Gaur. Sensitive skin is more prone to developing allergic reactions or exacerbating existing skin problems, such as eczema, rosacea, or acne.

5. Acne breakouts

Vaping has been associated with an increased risk of developing acne breakouts. The chemicals found in e-cigarettes can disrupt the delicate balance of the skin’s microbiome, leading to an overgrowth of acne-causing bacteria. Additionally, nicotine has been shown to stimulate sebum production, a waxy substance that can clog pores and contribute to acne and breakouts.

Woman with acne
Vaping can cause acne. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

6. Increased sensitivity to UV radiation

Vaping may increase the skin’s sensitivity to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. UV radiation is a known environmental factor that contributes to skin ageing and increases the risk of skin cancer. It may make you susceptible to the harmful effects of sun exposure, including sunburn and long-term skin damage.

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Tips to reverse the effects of vaping on skin

If you’re looking to mitigate the potential effects of vaping on your skin, follow these 7 tips:

  1. Keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. It will help keep your skin moisturised from the inside out.
  2. Use a moisturiser to replenish lost moisture and combat dryness. Look for products containing hyaluronic acid or glycerin to help hydrate and soothe the skin.
  3. Incorporate skincare products rich in antioxidants to combat oxidative stress. Antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, can help protect the skin from free radicals and support overall skin health.
  4. Apply sunscreen with at least SPF 30 daily, even on cloudy days. This helps protect your skin from UV radiation, especially if vaping may increase sensitivity to sun exposure.
  5. The most effective way to reverse the potential effects of vaping on your skin is to quit vaping altogether.
  6. Consider incorporating topical retinoids into your skincare routine. Retinoids, such as retinol, can stimulate collagen production, improve skin texture, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  7. Use a mild and hydrating cleanser to clean your face. Avoid harsh cleansers that can strip away natural oils, as vaping may already contribute to dryness.

With these skincare tips, you can protect your skin from the adverse effects of vaping!

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About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

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