It has long been known that smoking harms almost all human organs, including the skin. Cigarette smoke causes premature aging of the skin, contributing to the development of wrinkles, pigmentation and other problems. But it turns out that the effects of nicotine on the skin may be even worse than previously thought.
In a new study published in the journal Atmosphere, scientists at the University of California, Riverside, USA, found that a carcinogenic substance does not necessarily have to get into the lungs to cause injury. Even a relatively short exposure to nicotine is enough to cause skin damage.
The researchers exposed a 3D model of the epidermis of the skin to nicotine for 24 hours, which corresponds to the levels of nicotine that can be found in an environment polluted by passive smoking (cigarette smoke and spilled vaping liquid). This was enough to cause cell damage.
However, there is also good news: short-term exposure probably does not lead to long-term consequences. An adult’s skin recovers quickly.
Scientists warn that young children and infants, as well as people with pre-existing skin diseases, are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of secondhand smoke, as their skin will not be able to recover quickly after exposure to nicotine.
In conclusion, the researchers advise consumers and sellers of electronic cigarettes to minimize skin contact. They also emphasize the need to introduce restrictions on smoking and vaping in enclosed spaces.