What Happens When You Mix Smoking And Psoriasis?

A blog by Novartis

Smoking and Psoriasis

Lighting Up To Look Cool

The media has portrayed smoking as cool on cinema screens for a long time. The cigarette gives both male and female characters on screen either a rebellious look or a cool image among their peers. In reality, people don’t necessarily smoke to look cool, but it might be a coping mechanism to deal with stress from work or life in general.

But if you have psoriasis, you know how delicate and temperamental your skin can be with symptoms like itchy scalp, flaky skin and painful lesions. So, is it worth lighting up?

How Smoking Affects Your Psoriasis

Here are some ways smoking affects your body:

Smoking Triggers Your Psoriasis Symptoms

Alcohol, stress, and junk food. All banes to the existence of psoriasis sufferers. Likewise, smoking is a terrible idea when you have psoriasis skin conditions.

It has been proven that cigarette smoking is linked to increased psoriasis flare-up. One study noted “the risk for women who smoke more than 20 cigarettes per day is about 2.5 times greater than the rate of nonsmoker. In men, the risk is about 1.7 times greater than the rate of nonsmokers.”1

smoking triggers psoriasis skin symptoms

So, the more cigarettes you smoke, the more severe your psoriasis symptoms can be. Smoking can aggravate other skin conditions like eczema.2

Smoking Dries Your Skin Out And May Give You Wrinkles

Smoking looks cool, but it takes a toll on your looks.

When tobacco burns, it releases a cocktail of chemicals (including carbon monoxide)3 into the air, which bombards the skin and dries it out.4 As a result, your skin is starved of oxygen and nutrients, becoming discoloured.5

To add insult to injury, the tobacco smoke damages your skin's collagen and elastin. These are fibers that gives your skin strength and elasticity.6 If you don’t want your skin to become dry, sag or wrinkle prematurely, don’t smoke.

You don't need to wait 10 years to see the effects of aging, smokers tend to look older than non-smokers within the same age.7 Chain-smoking causes the formation of deep lines around the mouth while squinting one’s eyes from smoke can exaggerate crow’s feet.8

It Affects Your Body’s Ability To Absorb Nutrients

You thought looking bad was bad? It gets worse.

Lighting up a cigarette not only mean you are introducing toxins and chemicals into your already-stressed immune system.

You won’t be able to absorb vital vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, Vitamin D, calcium and iron.9 Vitamin C is associated with skin healing,10 and there is little wonder then that some research indicates that smokers are more likely to suffer from wound complications after surgery.11

Stop Smoking Loni Anderson Psoriasis

In addition to that, you would invite fatigue, dry flaky skin, depression, and poor blood circulation into your life if you smoked.12

Smoking Cause Other Health Complications

Whom are you kidding? Smoking is really a terrible idea if you have psoriasis.

The smoke releases free radicals that damage to the body's cells, and eventually lead to the formation of cancer cells in the body.13 This exposes you to more than a dozen types of cancers, including lung cancer, mouth cancer, oesophagus cancer, stomach cancer, and bowel cancer.14

Forget About Smoking, Keep Your Psoriasis In Check

Just put down that cigarette and quit smoking altogether. Take control over your psoriasis. You wouldn’t want to have itchiness and flaky skin while you're out trying to live a normal life. Quit smoking and see the quality of your life improve.

Visit our Facebook page to get support from others who have faced your struggles.

Read stories like this and more about psoriasis on our MyPsoriasis blog.

Click #Ask4Clear to get clear skin and live a normal life.

No Smoking No Flaky Dry Skin

If you liked this, read on: 4 Psoriasis Triggers You Need To Manage To Prevent Flare-ups.


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Dr. Peter Ch’ng Wee Beng

Dr Ch’ng obtained his specialty training from the Royal College of Physicians in London. Subsequently, he obtained his Advanced Masters in Dermatology from the National University of Malaysia. He was previously the Head of Dermatology of the State of Pahang and Hospital Sungai Buloh.

His call to dermatology started way before he even contemplated doing medicine. His father suffered from severe psoriasis, and was in and out of hospital a lot in the late 1970s. His father’s condition made him see that skin disease is not just an aesthetic problem, as it can cause the patient and the entire family so much grief. His practice today reaffirms his belief, with many patients expressing deep relief and gratitude after their treatment.

Place of Practice

FB: @peterchngskinspecialist

Articles by Dr. Peter Ch’ng
Dr. Ch'ng Chin Chwen

Dr. Ch'ng is a NSR registered consultant dermatologist. She graduated as a gold medalist from Univeristy Malaya in 2006. She obtained Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physician of the United Kingdom in 2010 and joined dermatology team in University Malaya in the same year. She completed Advanced Master in Dermatology (UKM) in 2014 and a visiting fellowship in Cutaneous Laser Surgery in Mahidol University (Thailand) in 2017. Her special interest include acne, psoriasis, urticaria, contact dermatitis/eczema and procedural dermatology.

Dr. Ch'ng started her instagram account @cccskindoc providing free skin care tips and education to public. She believes everyone deserves up-to-date and accurate information on skin care to embrace the skin that he or she is in.

Place of Practice

IG: @cccskindoc

Articles by Dr. Ch'ng Chin Chwen
Dr. Khor Yek Huan

Dr Khor graduated from National University of Malaysia (UKM), Kuala Lumpur in 2002. He obtained his Internal Medicine specialty training from the Royal College of Physicians of London in 2007 and further subspecialized in Dermatology by obtaining his Advanced Master in Dermatology from UKM in 2013. Dr Khor served as the Head of Dermatology service for Perlis from 2013 to 2015 before transferring back to Penang. Currently, he is the Deputy Head of Department of Dermatology in Hospital Pulau Pinang. He is also a visiting consultant dermatologist at KPJ Penang Specialist Hospital and Northern Skin Specialist Clinic.

Dr Khor is active in academic activities, performing as an honorary lecturer for Allianze University College of Medical Sciences and Penang Medical College. He is active in research as well with the publication of original papers in dermatological journals and serves as a reviewer for Malaysian Journal of Dermatology. His dedication to the profession earned him Excellent Service Award from the Ministry of Health in 2009 and 2017.

Place of Practice

Email: nssc.penang@gmail.com

Articles by Dr. Khor Yek Huan
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