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    Acne after Quitting???
    DaniMarie73 posted:
    So, I quit smoking... technically... approximately 3 weeks ago and I'm happy I did. At the moment, I'm using an electronic cigarette as an alternative. I know people have mixed feelings on the subject and it's hard to get the full weigh in because it's still fairly new to the market and you keep hearing, "Not enough research/formal studies". I haven't had a traditional cigarette since the day my electronic starter kit came in and that's impressive for me. I'm 37 and have smoked for about 19 years. Ok, that's a bit of preface to my real inquiry.

    At about a week into quitting, I had an enormous breakout. Very out of the ordinary for me. I've never had a problem with acne, not even through my teens. I thought it was an allergic reaction to something, initially, that's how bad it was... and is.. unfortunately.

    I started searching the web and found several sites that list acne, or what they call "quitzits", as a side effect. Random Google sites don't give me much comfort though . So I came to WebMD. This is always my "go to" site when it comes to questions about health or body issues. I've not been steered wrong yet

    So, I'm here, with questions >.<

    I guess I'm just kind of worried that the acne might be caused by the electronic cigarette

    Can anyone tell me if this is a common sign of detox'ing from cigarettes?? And a possible duration *sigh*. I hate to admit it, but my vanity is getting hit pretty hard. That coupled with all the other side effects... headaches, irritability, etc... makes for a grumpy goose, indeed
    Jonathan Foulds, PhD responded:
    I'm no dermatologist, and my understanding is that acne is more common/worse in smokers. Here's a link to a paper on that . But there is also some evidence of a link between both mental distress (stress), and diet and acne. So it is plausible that the withdrawal symptoms you mentioned (irritability etc) may have contributed to the breakout. Note that these should reduce within a few weeks, and if your e-cigarette is delivering an adequate dose of nicotine then theoretically that should reduce the severity of the mood disturbance. As you are aware, there is insufficient evidence on both the beneficial and potentially harmful effects of e-cigarettes, but there is good published evidence suggesting that the commonly purchased brands deliver an inadequate dose of nicotine. One would normally expect nicotine withdrawal symptoms to noticeably lesson after around 3 weeks. If that happens and there is no improvement in your acne you may need to consult your health professional for other solutions. However, you have done very well to quit for 3 weeks so keep it up. I would like to hear if any other readers have noticed an association between acne and smoking or quitting (or e-cigs).
    DaniMarie73 replied to Jonathan Foulds, PhD's response:
    If I had to be completely honest, I think most of the irritability is stemming from the acne >.<

    Vanity is a horrible, horrible thing

    I purchased a starter pack online from the Smoketip company. I didn't want to write the brand in my first post because I worry people will think it's an advertisement or something. I'm really happy with it... The starter kit came with 16mg nicotine cartridges and after the first week I bought a refill pack and decided to go with the 12mg cartridge... Like lots of others, my addiction is more orally fixated than anything else. I'm addicted to the motions of smoking. I'm going to try the 0mg nicotine cartridge soon. I'm pretty confident I'll be fine with it.

    Although, now I'm kinda worried about the acne since it's not a common side effect of quitting

    I'd like to hear if anyone else has had this side effect >.<

    I won't stop the e-cigarette and if I do have to I'm definitely not going back to tobacco cigarettes. I don't even miss them. For 19 years I carried the smell, the shame non-smokers pose upon smokers, and the general feeling of blah. I know the verdict is still out on e-cigarettes, but the verdict is totally out and has been out for decades on tobacco cigarettes... Until further notice, I'll be "vaping"... hehe... don't see me ever using that term casually, but it's what people seem to be calling it...

    Back to the purpose of this post... Acne! helppppppp! >.<

    Thanks Again >.<
    Tango805 replied to DaniMarie73's response:
    I've visited a few forums where a few e-cig users complain about acne eruptions from using the e-cig. Their concerns are routinely dismissed as nonsense but I've come to believe there is truth to what they say.

    I smoked for more than 40 years and decided to try an e-cig because the taxes on cigarettes have become prohibitive. The e-cig is great and after 3 days I didn't even think about lighting up a traditional cigarette. I was, however, faced with the unexpected problem of facial acne at 60 years of age.

    The pimples are very small and are concentrated on and around my nose. Sometimes I can wake to find 2 or 3 of them when I look in the mirror in the morning. I haven't had anything like it since I was in high school.

    I'm convinced it is the e-cig because this past week I've cut back my usage and I've been seeing fewer pimples. It is a direct correlation. It isn't part of a "break-in" period where your body becomes accustomed to the e-cig vapors, either. I've been using the e-cig for just about a year and the severity of the acne hasn't changed. Now I have to decide what to do next. Perhaps pure vegetable glycol in my e-cig is the answer. I'll have to experiment.

    So don't listen to anyone that says you're imagining things. It's they that don't know what they're talking about, even if they have an MD after their name. Trust your own eyes and your own good sense.
    Jonathan Foulds, PhD replied to Tango805's response:
    I have to admit this is a new one for me, so I posted a question about it on the WebMD skin problem community page. If it is related to e-cig use then we should try to figure out the potential mechanism. What were the ingredients in you e-cig cartridge/liquid bottle? Nicotine is clearly one suspect, but you were already absorbing that from your cigarette. It could be something inhaled, but possibly something in the vapor that actually lands on your face is also a possibility? If you progress onto the zero nicotine cartridge it will be interesting to hear what effect that has on the acne. Anyone else have any ideas or experiences relevant to this?
    Tango805 replied to Jonathan Foulds, PhD's response:
    The "juice", as it's called, for refilling e-cigs has either a propylene glycol or vegetable glycol base. Flavoring is added to approximate a variety of tobacco flavors, or even a wide assortment of menthol and candy flavors. Nicotine is added according to personal preference. Juices are ordered by first selecting the desired flavor and then the desired nicotine strength, anywhere from 0mg to 24mg strength. The great majority of available juices are propylene glycol based. There is only a limited assortment of vegetable glycol based juices available.

    Although it's a major component of many things as innocuous as food coloring, propylene glycol can be an irritant and even be toxic in the right concentration. Since for the last year I have only used propylene glycol juices, today I ordered a vegetable glycol juice to try.

    I will report back with the results, perhaps in a week or two.
    DaniMarie73 replied to Tango805's response:
    Ok, I searched around the interwebs... I know that some sites are less reputable than other, so I searched pages and pages... If you go to acne message boards... of which, there are several... there are many smokers who have recently quit dealing with this problem... most are not using any type of electronic cigarette... that pretty much blows the theory of the e-cigarette being the main factor...

    Something I did notice while I was surfing around... there are lots of information about zinc and it's role in acne problems... I also noticed studies showing that smokers have issues with zinc... It's explained several different ways, some dealing with copper, cadmium toxicity, etc... Still trying to bring it all into perspective but there's a definite link between zinc, quitting smoking, and acne...

    There are also theories about smoking and the thyroid... thoughts that the reason smokers feel a sense of relaxation from smoking is due to tobacco and the chemicals inhibiting the stimulation of thyroid function giving them a feeling of being relaxed...

    I'm not doctor and like I said, I've read several pages... I do understand that some of them may not be as reputable as others... but there seems to be a definite link between quitting smoking, zinc, copper, and cadmium...

    What are your thoughts?
    Tango805 replied to DaniMarie73's response:
    DaniMarie73, could you give some insight into what you've learned about the relationship with zinc; I mean is it a deficiency or a surplus? Is it that zinc is not being absorbed due to some other factor? What is the mechanism as you understand it?

    I'm just hoping to avoid duplicating the legwork you've done.
    DaniMarie73 replied to Tango805's response:
    I may be totally off on this... and I was hoping Dr. Foulds could give more information about it, so I didn't chop it up too much

    If you look online, the information is touched upon but not as in depth as I'd like... mostly due to product advertisement... they start explaining it, then you realize it's an acne cream sales pitch or an attempt to sell you some other item they claim will help... Makes it difficult to cut through to the actual sites that are trying to be informative

    Here's a site about thyroid function... it talks about how smoking and quitting smoking throws your zinc, copper, and cadmium levels into a crazy whirl...

    there are several other sites like this... but like I said, annoyingly difficult to cut through the "buy this product" pages to the pages that don't have ulterior motives behind their information...
    Jonathan Foulds, PhD replied to DaniMarie73's response:
    Afraid I can't help much here. I've seen thousands of people trying to quit smoking and don't recall a specific case telling me that their acne flared up as soon as they quit. (not saying it never happened, just not with such a frequency that I noticed and remembered). Similarly when I do a lit search on a reputable medical research site like pubmed there is very little on it....mostly finding INCREASED rates of acne in smokers. There is awareness of a number of medical problems briefly worsening when someone quits smoking, such as canker sores, constipation, ulceritive colitis, coughing up more phlegm, insomnia etc, but I am unaware of a good explanation for post-adolesence onset of acne when quitting smoking. Sorry I can't be more helpful.
    rttnjc responded:
    Congrats on your first steps to quitting! I just quit a little over a month ago myself. I have had an increase in adult acne this month. My guess is that mine is due to more stress and detoxing.

    This may or may not help you but I've found that plain oatmeal cooked then cooled to room temp makes a great mask and has helped with the acne.

    Also, in case you don't want to do the ecigs maybe try auricular therapy. That is what I did and it has worked like a charm. Maybe there is someone in your area that does it. Also, acupuncture is pretty good too.

    Good luck!
    Tango805 replied to DaniMarie73's response:
    In my case at least, propylene glycol is the culprit. I've become used to rising each morning with at least one, and often two or three, fresh little pimples on and around my nose. I received my order of 100% vegetable glycerin eLiquid on April 16th and began using it exclusively the next day.

    For the last three days I have woke to being completely pimple free and the only thing different is the switch to 100% vegetable glycerin "juice".

    I learned in my research that some juice that is advertised as vegetable glycerin is often really a blend of propylene and vegetable bases with as much as 50% propylene. I was careful to read everything I could at each site to be sure I bought pure vegetable glycerin. I purchased it from

    I have since found a source of 100% USA made vegetable glycerin juice at Johnson Creek and placed an order for a few samples. I hope there's a flavor I like. Their VG line is under the brand "Red Oak".

    Knock on wood, if this is the answer for me I will be a very happy man.
    STEWIE22 replied to Jonathan Foulds, PhD's response:
    I was treated with acupuncture 13 weeks ago and havent had a cigarette since.I was a smoker for 28 years and am smoke free! Aside from some weight gain i haven't had the irritablity or other problems...but acne is horrible. I have never had a pimple on my back until about 7 weeks after quitting smoking- my entire back is pimples! it is horrible. even starting to get a few on my scalp! I am not sure what to do - but as you can imagine weight gain and pimples starts to make a person question there decision! I have no intention to go back to smoking but i certainly don't like this either....
    almost01organicGirl replied to STEWIE22's response:
    Your body is detoxing all the toxens through your pores and of course, causing the will pass. In the meantime, try bathing with Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (with mother/raw and unfiltered) and it will clean out your pores, not to mention, it decreases high blood pressure, removes toxis heavey metals, gout, and is also used as a weight lose merical when injested so that should take care of both issues (2 table spoons in a 8 oz glass of water). When bathing, fill the tub with luke warm water and had to cups, soak for 30-45min and you won't believe the wonders! It also alklines the blood which will pro-long life as well as prevent cancer.. So no pimples, weight lose, clean inside and out, and a long smoke-free healthly life ahead Enjoy..
    rosieveg replied to Jonathan Foulds, PhD's response:
    Yes my acne was very mild with good days now it's every day and it's been 31 days quit using the nic patch and nic Lozenge I had a minor cage of rosacia,(sp?) and my dr said I didn't have acne but rosacia! I think she's wrong I have both acne and rosacia,so she put me on 1% Noritate 1x/day for rosacia. Now my face is really sore,dry and scaly! It says on the pkg that it should get better after 4wks or so well it's been 3wk's ish and still waiting! I never have a good day-no marks or acne/Clear!! Any suggestions would help!!

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