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Smokers at Risk of Having Skin Conditions

May 26, 2020

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Lung cancer, emphysema, and heart disease are all conditions regularly associated with smoking. But did you know that smoking also contributes to diseases related to inflammation and the immune system? And psoriasis is one of them.

Smoking and psoriasis

Smoking has repeatedly been identified as an independent risk factor for psoriasis. And this has even been linked to how heavily you smoke. So, the more cigarettes you smoke per day and the longer you smoke for, the greater your risk is of getting psoriasis.

If you’re already genetically predisposed to developing psoriasis, smoking can activate the responsible genes to cause the onset of psoriasis.

In psoriasis patients, the severity and incidence of flare-ups are greater among smokers, particularly for women. Smoking has also been found to interfere with treatment and lower your chances of remission.

Why does smoking cause psoriasis?

Tobacco is said to contain more than 7,000 different chemicals. Because of this, it has been difficult for researchers to pinpoint exactly why smoking worsens psoriasis condition. But there are a few associated mechanisms that might be to blame. 

Like most psoriasis risk factors, smoking increases the release of certain cytokines that worsen inflammation in the body. Oxidative stress and the production of free radicals caused by smoking can also damage the skin and other cells in the body.

Lifestyle factors may also be at play. Most smokers experience stress and anxiety if they cannot smoke, feelings that are relieved by their next cigarette. Stress is a lifestyle factor that contributes towards psoriasis, which may be higher among smokers as well as fluctuating more dramatically because of this dependency.

You can turn it around

Quitting smoking may seem like an impossible feat, but it will benefit your health in so many ways, not only related to your psoriasis. Even cutting back on the number of cigarettes you smoke per day can start to improve the severity of your symptoms.

Make a change today and commit to quit! The psoriasis treatments you’re undergoing will work much more effectively if you do.


Did you like this article? If so, check out our blog for more tips on how to prevent skin problems.


  • Barbhaiya M, Tedeschi SK, Lu B, et al. Cigarette smoking and the risk of systemic lupus erythematosus, overall and by anti-double stranded DNA antibody subtype, in the Nurses’ Health Study cohorts. Ann Rheum Dis. (2018)
  • Roelsgaard IK, Thomsen T, Østergaard M, et al. The effect of an intensive smoking cessation intervention on disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials. (2017)
  • Naldi L. Psoriasis and smoking: links and risks. Psoriasis (Auckl). (2016)
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