What is Acne?
Acne is a disorder of the skin caused by infected or inflamed sebaceous glands. It is characterised by uncontrollable breakouts, pimples, spots and cysts, most commonly on the face, neck and shoulders. Although it is most common in teenagers, some people are genetically predisposed to having acne their entire life.
Genetics plays a huge role in the development of acne . Hormonal imbalance is key to the onset of acne, and some acne sufferers will find that re-balancing hormone levels through diet control, exercise and managing stress, will clear it up entirely.
The effects of acne are not just physical. The disorder often results in reduced confidence, anxiety and problems with self esteem .
Can Vaping Cause Acne?
Does vaping cause acne? A 2013 study investigating the reported side effects of vaping suggested that up to 15% of user experience symptoms of acne . This means that for a subset of users, vaping can be associated with acne. At the moment, there is no published research into why vaping can cause you to have breakouts or develop acne, so we do not have a full understanding of this effect.
What we do know is that smoking can make skin conditions like acne worse . This effect is caused by several toxic compounds in cigarette smoke, but the acne-inducing chemical of interest to vapers is nicotine. Nicotine can make the course of acne slower and worse , and vaping nicotine is one way that e-cigarettes could make acne worse. However, the effect of nicotine on acne progression is simply not enough to explain the sudden and dramatic acne breakouts that many vapers have documented online .
Many vapers experiencing acne also report that there is no change in their symptoms whether they vape unflavored, with or without nicotine, or with PG or VG based e-liquids. This suggests it is not components of the e-liquid that are causing this phenomenon.
Heavy metals are a type of particulate, considered to be toxic contaminants that are harmful to your body. Common heavy metals pollutants are aluminium, cadmium, lead, copper and zinc. Heavy metals can enter your body through contaminated food and water, polluted air, cigarette smoke, and e-cigarettes [7, 8].
Research has shown that exposure to heavy metals can dramatically influence acne . Heavy metals can cause or worsen acne by depleting your antioxidant levels as they are cleared out of your system. Lower antioxidant levels can result in inflamed skin and encourage the development of acne. Research also suggests the heavy metal cadmium can also cause or worsen the skin disorder psoriasis . Although there is no published evidence yet, it is possible that heavy metals leeching from a poor quality, damaged or old e-cigarette coil could invoke an outbreak of acne.
Heavy metals copper and zinc do not seem to affect acne, whereas blood levels of lead and cadmium are higher in people with acne than those without . We don’t know if this is a cause or effect of acne.
What You Can Do About it
There is conflicting research into the volume of heavy metals that are produced by e-cigarettes . It seems like heavy metal contamination whilst vaping arises from metals leeching from the coil of the e-cigarette device, rather than from the e-liquid itself.
It seems as though some individuals are just more prone to acne than others, and low levels of heavy metal contaminants that are released from some e-cigarette devices could be enough to trigger acne in these people. It’s important to remember that this is a general hypothesis as to why vaping may cause acne, and until there is research done, we will not know the answer for certain.
Heavy metal contaminants arise from a damaged, poor quality or faulty coil within your device. It might be worth changing the coil in your e-cigarette device if you are experiencing a breakout from vaping.
There is no published scientific research investigating the relationship between heavy metal-contaminated e-cigarette vapor and acne outbreaks – this article has been an evidence-based discussion on the possible causes of vaping-induced acne.
The possibility of you having a breakout or acne symptoms when you vape is dependent on your genetics, and possibly on which e-cigarette device you use, particularly the coil. If you are experiencing symptoms of acne after you vape, it’s best to speak to your doctor about interventions, and take a break from vaping until you know the cause of your acne.
https://pixabay.com/en/struggle-acne-self-love-skin-face-3805349/ – Sharon McCutcheon
1. https://www.acne.org/forums/topic/365574-vaping-caused-me-cystic-acne/ Accessed 20/12/2018
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