Does Vaping Cause Acne?

Vaping has become incredibly popular over the last decade. E-cigarettes effectively replace the urge to smoke regular cigarettes for many, and they come in a wide range of nicotine strengths and flavors. Past studies determined the effects of smoking cigarettes on the skin, but I wondered, can vaping cause acne? 

I’ve found that vaping is not a direct cause of acne, but, instead, acne is a side effect from the way vaping affects other parts of the body, which results in clogged pores and can worsen a person’s acne. 

Vaping’s Effects on the Body

While vaping isn’t a safe alternative to quit smoking, many find e-cigarettes to have fewer risks and drawbacks. However, that doesn’t mean there are no significant health risks and side effects when you vape. For example, vaping can lead to breakouts and eventually acne scars. 

Reduced Internal Organ Function

Most people who vape don’t realize that they introduce harmful chemicals and metal deposits into their bodies. The brain, heart, lungs, and liver all feel the effects of vaping. 

Consider that when a person uses a vape, they are vaporizing the following materials:

  • Nickel
  • Lead
  • Chromium
  • Zinc
  • Manganese

These elements are not healthy for the body and can prove toxic, especially when they are ingested regularly over time. When the body’s organs don’t function appropriately from exposure to these elements, the body has difficulty flushing toxins internally. Toxins then lead to bad skin health and acne. 

Propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin may also cause damage to the body, but currently, there isn’t much research on the topic. However, other chemicals found in e-juice like diacetyl can put oxidative stress on the body, which can cause breakouts. 


I’ve found out that if you vape, you’re likely to get dehydrated much faster than the average person. As we know, when you are dehydrated, you’re more prone to acne breakouts. Even ingesting the recommended amount of water may still leave you thirsty if you choose to vape frequently. 

The only way to counteract the effect of dehydration is to quit e-cigarettes altogether. However, those who choose to quit vaping should increase their water intake and pay special attention to daily consumption to prevent ‘quit zits,’ which can come from quitting vaping. 

Facial Exposure to Nicotine

Previous studies concluded that exposure to nicotine from smoking ages the skin and reduces elasticity while also irritating and drying out the skin.

Not only do these symptoms age the skin significantly, but they also create indirect breakouts as a result of dehydration and irritation to the pores. Furthermore, nicotine builds up and sticks to the skin, causing dead skin cells to collect on the face, fine lines to appear, and skin sensitivity. 

People with naturally dry skin are even more prone to acne and damage from vaping because dehydration causes drier skin. Then, the body produces more oil which clogs your pores. 

The vape condensation from the tip of electronic cigarettes is loaded with nicotine before it enters the lungs. This vape cloud rises directly to the face and allows the nicotine to collect directly on the face many times per day, exacerbating skin damage. 

Abnormal Wound Healing

One of the ways that vaping can create terrible acne is by impeding the healing function of the skin. The skin is easily irritated by the chemicals in vape pens, and they also hamper blood flow even if they do have fewer chemicals than tobacco cigarettes.

Once you begin to break out, your body has a hard time healing those wounds and recovering because the vape chemicals affect the skin’s ability to undergo the normal healing process. Therefore, acne continues to worsen, and there’s more potential for scarring.

Other Dangers Related to Vaping

Besides causing acne, vaping can lead to:

  • Skin cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark circles around the eyes
  • Popcorn lung
  • Other skin conditions
  • High blood pressure

Final Thoughts

Using a vape has some severe side effects throughout the body that can damage overall health. Specifically, nicotine ingestion and buildup, among other factors, means that you can suffer from acne breakouts and other skin problems. 

The best way to reduce acne is to quit vaping and make sure you get plenty of water. Those who continue to vape can expect to have various complications over time. 

In the case of vaping, the greatest acne treatments are simply to give up your smoking habit and to stay away from others who are vaping.