Marijuana or cannabis has proven therapeutic use for cancer (1), (2). But, if you are a regular user of marijuana and your skin is breaking out, you may think that smoking weed is causing it. Before jumping to conclusions, know if there’s scientific evidence linking weed and acne. Or, quite the opposite, if it has acne-curing properties. And, what steps to take next to reduce or treat acne breakouts. Scroll down to read!
Table Of Contents
Does Smoking Weed Cause Acne – What Research Says
There is no direct evidence suggesting that smoking weed causes acne. However, smoking weed can cause hormonal changes in men and women that may indirectly lead to acne breakouts.
- Weed Affects Reproductive Hormones: Weed’s main psychoactive ingredient, THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), affects various hormones such as luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), growth hormone (GH), adrenal cortical hormones, thyroid hormones, and prolactin. THC depresses LH, FSH, GH, prolactin, and thyroid gland function (3). The changes in these reproductive hormones can disrupt ovulation and spermatogenesis (4).
More research is needed to come to a concrete conclusion on whether these hormonal changes can cause acne. Also, the hormones can be rebalanced if you stop smoking marijuana.
- Smoking Weed Increases Appetite: Smoking weed can increase appetite. However, paradoxically, consistent marijuana users tend to have a low body mass index (5). But the problem with increased appetite is that people tend to gravitate towards chips, pizza, sugary foods, etc. that are loaded with trans fats, starch, and sugar and may increase body inflammation (6), (7).
Regularly smoking weed may make one consume more of unhealthy, processed foods that disrupt the omega-3:omega 6 fatty acid balance. An increased amount of omega-6 fatty acids causes inflammation, which is closely linked to acne (8).
- Smoking Weed Increases Oxidative Stress: We know that smoking cigarettes increases free oxygen radicals that cause oxidative stress (9). Scientists say that smoking marijuana can also cause oxidative stress too, unless a filter is used to filter out the particulate matter (10).
There is no direct evidence linking oxidative stress caused by smoking weed and acne. However, scientific evidence does show a direct relation between smoking and acne (11).
So, research does not directly link smoking weed to acne. Acne can be caused due to genes or a poor lifestyle. Talk to your doctor to know the root cause. But since weed is prescribed for medical purpose, does this mean a few properties of weed has can reduce inflammation and acne? Let’s find out in the section below.
Can Smoking Weed Cure Acne?
Scientific evidence shows that weed can reduce inflammation. Topically applied phytocannabinoids decrease production of sebum, inhibit the proliferation of sebocytes (sebum-producing skin cells), and may reduce the expression of pro-inflammatory molecules that cause inflammatory skin conditions (12).
Another paper published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment showed that cannabinoids in marijuana have anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, antipruritic, and anti-malignancy properties. These properties are effective in decreasing severity of acne, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis (13).
However, these effects of marijuana are observed only through topical application (a scientifically-formulated marijuana patch) and not while smoking weed. Hence, it would not be wise to suggest that smoking weed may reduce acne.
But should you still want to treat your acne breakouts, we have a few tips/methods you may follow.
What To Do To Reduce Acne Breakouts?
- See A Dermatologist: Immediately talk to a dermatologist if you see your skin breaking out. Acne can be caused due to many factors, including hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, and a poor diet and lifestyle. An expert would be able to find its root cause.
- Wash Your Face: Keep your skin clean if you have acne. Use a medicated or dermatologist-recommended gentle cleanser with salicylic acid twice a day to eliminate the acne-causing bacteria.
- Apply An Anti-Acne Ointment: Once your skin is clean, you may apply a toner and use a light moisturizer. Also remember to use a doctor-recommended anti-acne ointment every day before going to bed. The ointment will protect your skin as well as prevent excess sebum production.
- Use An Acne Patch: Use a good acne patch that can help reduce smaller breakouts quickly. These are hydrocolloid dressings that soak up the fluid from the acne and reduce the acne bumps in 8 to 9 hours.
- Use Non-Comedogenic Makeup: Always check the ingredients to see if the makeup you use is non-comedogenic. Makeup tools like tinted moisturizers, foundations, concealers, blushes, highlighters, and others must be certified non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic.
- Maintain Personal Hygiene: Keep your pillowcase and towel clean. Wash them once every two or three days to keep the bacteria from transferring to your skin.
- Drink Water: Staying hydrated is very important, and more so if you have acne. Water helps flush out the toxins and reduces the harmful free oxygen radicals and inflammation. Drink 3 to 4 liters of water every day.
- Consume More Veggies And Fruits: Vegetables and fruits are loaded with antioxidants, minerals, and fiber that help keep your gut healthy and scavenge the harmful free oxygen radicals. They help keep your skin healthy and glowing. Consume leafy green vegetables, root vegetables, watermelon, citrus fruits, tomato, cucumber, papaya, apple, etc.
- Exercise Regularly: Exercising helps improve your mood by secreting serotonin (a feel-good hormone) and reducing mental stress as a consequence. Exercising also helps unclog the skin pores and remove dirt.
- Sleep Well: Sleeping well helps reduce stress and inflammation in the body. It is important to get about 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.
- Stop Smoking Weed: To find out if smoking weed is causing acne, see what happens when you stop it. An alternative to not smoking weed could be edibles (edible marijuana in the form of chocolates or cakes).
- Apply Fuller’s Earth Mask: Mix 3 teaspoons of Fuller’s earth with 3 teaspoons of rose water and 2 teaspoons of plain water. Apply the mixture to your face and wait for it to dry. Wash with water, pat dry your skin, and apply a water-based moisturizer. Do this every other day.
There is no evidence suggesting that smoking weed causes acne or cures it. Applying marijuana extracts may help reduce acne, but it has to be carried out under the supervision of a trained expert. If your skin is breaking out, talk to a licensed dermatologist to get the right assistance. More importantly, consume fruits and vegetables, stay hydrated and stress-free, exercise regularly, and take good care of your skin to see a visible reduction in acne lesions.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Can secondhand marijuana smoke affect the skin?
No, secondhand marijuana smoke does not affect the skin.
Do vaping or marijuana edibles affect the skin?
There is no proof that vaping or marijuana edibles affect the skin or cause acne.
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