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Vaping negatively impacts the skin, exacerbating conditions including acne, rosacea, fine lines, and wrinkles - and even spurring the formation of ‘smoker’s lips.’


Award-winning skin and dermal therapist Isabella Loneragan says vaping is potentially the culprit behind a noticeable rise in skin complaints from young people in particular.


“I have noticed an increase in younger people visiting my clinic who are fairly frustrated with their skin, and now, one of the first questions I ask is whether they vape because, although vaping hasn’t been around for too long, its impacts on the skin are proving just as bad – if not worse – than cigarette smoking,” Isabella said.


According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, one in five Australians has tried an e-cigarette at least once, and almost one in 10 aged 18-24 vape daily.


“Akin to cigarette smoking, vaping incorporates an inhalation of toxins, and so it’s inevitable that some of these toxins will be deposited in the skin, causing damage to the skin barrier and inflammation, impacting the skin’s ability to function normally," she said.


“One of the most significant impacts of vaping is an exacerbation of acne.

"More and more studies are showing that the nicotine in e-cigarettes can constrict blood vessels and reduce blood flow to the skin, which leads to inflammation and the development of flares of acne.


“Vaping can cause an overproduction of sebum, which is the oily substance that clogs pores and can lead to breakouts. The chemicals in e-cigarettes can also disrupt the skin’s microbiome contributing to the development of acne flares.


“Another condition that is clearly impacted by vaping is rosacea – a chronic condition that causes redness and inflammation on the face.

"Vaping aggravates rosacea due to the presence of chemicals and irritants in e-cigarettes. The nicotine in vapes – like cigarettes – causes blood vessels to constrict, leading to a worsening of rosacea symptoms.


“While studies are currently quite limited, there are also viable scientific suggestions that vaping triggers rosacea flare-ups and may even make existing rosacea symptoms worse.

Isabella Loneragan
Isabella Loneragan

“It should come as no surprise that vaping also can result in premature ageing and the development of fine lines and wrinkles.

"The chemicals in e-cigarettes are known to cause oxidative stress, damaging collagen and elastin which are the proteins that keep skin firm and youthful looking.


“I can confidently state as a fact that vaping spurs dull and uneven complexion – just as cigarettes do. Over time, this contributes to the development of fines and wrinkles.


“Even the dreaded ‘smoker’s lips’ side effect of cigarette smoking is showing in those who vape. This is the formation of vertical perioral lines around the lips simply due to an overuse of the muscle to purse your lips to a vape,” Isabella said.


When it comes to reversing the impacts of vaping on the skin, Isabella says this may not be possible.



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