Smoking may actually worsen acne scarring, according to the results of a study presented at the British Association of Dermatologists’ Annual Conference in Manchester in July 2015.
Researchers from Harrogate District Foundation Trust in the UK conducted a study involving 992 patients (n=465 males, n=527 females) with acne vulgaris. Each of the participants had been referred to a hospital dermatology department over an eight year period.
At the first appointment, each patient’s skin was examined and the severity of their acne and any scarring was recorded by a dermatologist. During the assessment period, the patients were asked to fill out a lifestyle questionnaire about factors that might affect the skin.
Data revealed that a total of 132 of those involved in the study were smokers.
Findings revealed that scarring was noted in 91% of patients but was not more common in smokers. However, a higher percentage of moderate to severe scarring, rather than mild scarring, was noted in those that smoked. Over half (53.7%) of smokers showed moderate to severe scarring compared to just over a third of non-smokers (35%). This appeared to be independent of acne severity.
“The correlation seen between smoking and severity of facial scarring could suggest that smoking can increase the severity of scarring in a susceptible person with acne. Further work is required to confirm this finding and to understand the mechanisms by which this may occur,” said Dr. Raman Bhutani, one of the study’s authors.