Everyone knows vaping isn’t very good for your lungs (even though people still trick themselves into thinking otherwise) – but a little-discussed health effect of using electronic cigarettes is that it can give you absolutely awful skin.
Vapes are everywhere. In a perverse turn of events, e-cigarettes – which were initially touted as a way to help people quit smoking – have now become even more prolific than regular cigarettes, especially among young people.
One of the many reasons why vaping has become so popular is that it’s easier to hide a vaping habit. It’s pretty apparent when a coworker steps out for a smoke or someone lights up inside, but it’s much harder to notice someone vaping. There’s no smell, no noise and vapour dissipates quickly.
But it’s much harder to hide shit skin – and there’s an increasingly large amount of research that suggests that vaping is indeed really bad for your skin.
WATCH an explanation of how vapes work (and their effect on the body) below.
DMARGE spoke with Dr Deepa Panch, a London-based surgical and aesthetic doctor who’s also a skincare consultant for Get Harley, who explains that although vaping has been touted as a “safer” alternative to cigarette smoking, the truth is we still don’t have enough information about the long-term implications it has on the body.
“Alongside nicotine, vaping contains a multitude of other chemicals. One of these is propylene glycol which is a well-known skin allergen. This can cause irritation to the skin, particularly in those who have sensitive skin such as eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.”Dr Deepa Panch
“A medical study published in 2019 actually showed the association of vaping with dermatological conditions such as contact dermatitis and oral lesions,” Dr Panch relates.
While not all vapes contain nicotine, nicotine alone can have deleterious effects on your skin, too. “Just like smoking cigarettes, the nicotine in vapes can cause problems with blood flow which can impede the delivery of nutrients to the skin. This can subsequently lead to dull and dehydrated-looking skin and can also affect the healing of the skin,” Dr Panch says.
It’s not just the chemicals in e-liquid that can give you bad skin, though. That study Dr Panch references also points out that most vapes work by heating vapour with a coil made of nickel, one of the most common skin irritants. According to The Nickel Institute, 12% to 15% of women and 1% to 2% of men on average are allergic to nickel.
Even the simple act of vaping can be bad for your skin. “The movements made by the mouth when vaping or smoking can accelerate the formation of lines and wrinkles in that area,” Dr Panch explains.
Like you didn’t need enough reasons to quit vaping anyway…