Smoking has been associated with many health conditions key among them being cardiovascular disease and lung cancer. It is also one of the contributing factors of most skin conditions e.g seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, squamous cell, carcinoma of the skin (skin cancer), cutaneous lupus erythematosus and hidradenitis suppurative. In this article I am going to discuss the association between smoking and seborrheic dermatitis.

Seborrheic dermatitis – also referred to as seborrheic eczema or sebopsoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition that affects the torso, face and scalp. It usually presents with itch, flaky, scaly and red skin. In adults and adolescents, seborrheic dermatitis usually manifests as scalp scaling that looks like dandruff or as marked erythema of the naso-labial fold.

How smoking can make seborrheic dermatitis worse?

The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is not well known. However, it has been associated with weakened immune system, stress, problems with the nervous system, hormonal factors and lack of certain nutrients. In other cases, seborrheic dermatitis is just inhereted.

smoking-seborrheic-dermatitisSmoking causes weakened immune system

Studies have shown that smoking contributes to a weakened immune system. This is evidenced by the fact that smokers heals much slower as compared to non-smokers wich i turn means that, breakouts takes longer to clear up hence making the skin susceptible to condition such as contact dermatitis and acne. Also, note that contact dermatitis is caused by direct exposure of the skin to an irritating substance – detergent, smoke, nickels, chemicals etc.

Smoking depletes the body of nutrients

Another commonly known fact about smoking is that it constricts blood flow to the skin. In fact, research has shown that “one cigarette smoked narrows blood flow for 90 minutes, which consequently means that the skin is starved off essential nutrients and oxygen for one and a half hours”. Moreover, it has been proven that smoking drains your body of nutrients such as Vitamin C which is associated with sun protection.

Weakened immune system (caused by smoking) makes the skin vulnerable to malassezia globosa

Seborrheic dermatitis is also associated with a fungus known as Malassezia globosa and Malassezia furfur. This fungus generates some toxic substances that aggravates and inflame the skin. Patients suffering from seborrheic dermatitis have shown low resistance to this yeast (this is a common phenomenon among those people who smoke and have dermatitis).

“Toxic cloud” produced when smoking damages skin

Those people who smoke, normally exhales a “toxic cloud” containing tobacco, nicotine and other chemicals right into their faces. These substances have a detrimental effect on the skin. They can also cause irritation, itchiness and inflammation of the skin which may result to seborrheic dermatitis.

Opinions about smoking with seborrheic dermatitis

The above mention facts about smoking and its effects clearly shows that smoking contributes (though indirectly) to seborrheic dermatitis. The fact that smoking contributes to weakened immune system and depletes the body of nutrients which are also factors that cause seborrheic dermatitis is proof enough of its causal relationship.

If you are a smoker and suffering from seborrheic dermatitis, then perhaps it’s time you reconsider your lifestyle. Quit smoking and adopt other healthy lifestyle and see what happens.