Smoke and Skin: A Bad Combination

With rain falling more frequently, California is finally edging out of the dry season that seems increasingly prone to wildfires. The entire state spent what seemed like weeks smothered in smoke in 2018, with the threat—and sometimes reality—of burning homes displacing thousands of people and impacting millions. The effects of these devastating fires will be felt for years as people work to rebuild their lives from the ashes of what they lost.

Unfortunately, some of those effects will also be felt and seen in the very bodies of anyone who found themselves surrounded by the smoke. Wildfire smoke contains very small particulates, which means they more easily settle into the skin—not just sitting on the surface to be washed off.

Smoke particulates can cause short-term irritations and long-term damage by stressing the skin, leading to everything from the premature development of wrinkles and spots to flare-ups of chronic skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema.

Since we’re on the subject, we should note that tobacco smoke is not good for skin, either. It can cause discoloration, destruction of beneficial elements in the skin, and an overall reduction in health, which reduces the body’s ability to replenish the components necessary for keeping skin healthy, pliant, smooth, and tight.

Smoking is banned in specific areas in many communities throughout California, but the dermatologists at the Los Angeles area’s Skin Care and Laser Physicians of Beverly Hills cannot emphasize enough: Avoid smoke if you can. Anyone concerned about the effects smoke exposure has had on their skin can contact the practice to arrange for a consultation. Call 310-246-0495 or send a message online.

Written by Dr. Derek Jones

Dr. Derek Jones is a renowned Los Angeles and Beverly Hills area dermatologist practicing in cosmetic and general dermatology.