Cigarette smoking has been related with many different diseases including skin conditions. One of these skin conditions that might be triggered due to smoking is hidradenitis suppurativa. It is a long-term skin disease that attacks body parts which usually rub together.


In a study conducted on establishing the occurrence of the condition in smokers, 88.9% cases of hidradenitis suppurativa were due to smoking whereas others were smokers in the past or had never smoked in their life. However, hidradenitis suppurativa is not said to be caused directly or only because of smoking but smoking is a prevalent factor in inflammation.

Effects of smoking on skin

Tobacco smoke brings about oxidative stress as a result of which insufficient oxygen gets delivered to the skin. This can affect the skin in a number of different ways such as:

Aging skin

Smoking affects the skin both on the internal and external fronts. For instance, damage is caused when heat from the smoking device directly burns the skin or impacts the elastic fibers of the skin.

At the same time, vasoconstriction also takes place which results in reduced blood supply to the skin. The same also causes a loss of collagen and makes skin more prone to aging. 

Triggers acne

Smoking has also been linked with causing aging and triggering acne making it a leading cause of appearance of dermatological problems. Hidradenitis suppurativa, also known as acne inversa, is therefore a condition that attacks smokers more than non-smokers.

The number of non-smokers that are affected by acne inversa is much less than smokers.


Slower wound healing

Smoking delays wound healing not just from surgical wounds and skin injuries but also from skin conditions like hidradenitis suppurativa. Once again factors like vasoconstriction, reduced collagen synthesis and delayed growth of blood vessels in the area factor in.

Genetic predisposition

Some people may be genetically inclined to developing hidradenitis suppurativa and smoking simply aggravates the condition.

Results of the study mentioned earlier indicates the genetic basis of the condition to be polygenic rather than Mendelian.

Written by Therese Wilson – nutritionist, health consultant, and author of Fast Hidradenitis Suppurativa Cure.