Does Smoking Weed Cause Acne? What The Science Says

Acne is a common skin condition that affects people of all ages. As a teenager, I struggled with breakouts and was desperate to find anything to help clear my skin. In my quest for smooth, blemish-free skin, I researched every possible cause and cure for acne, including the effects of smoking weed.

In this blog, we’ll explore the potential link between smoking marijuana and acne. Does lighting up lead to breakouts? Or could weed benefit our skin?

I’ll share scientific research on how Smoking Marijuana Create Skin Problems – both the good and the bad side effects of weed. We’ll also discuss other factors that can worsen acne, like smoking cigarettes.

By the end of this article, you’ll understand the complex relationship between smoking weed and acne. Let’s start by looking at the potential ways marijuana could negatively impact skin.

How Could Smoking Weed Potentially Worsen Breakouts?

Smoking Weed

The toxins from inhaling marijuana smoke can build up in the skin over time, leading to more clogged pores and acne breakouts. Additionally, smoking weed may disrupt hormonal balance and the endocannabinoid system, possibly increasing sebum production.

Some research also shows a higher risk of psoriasis and inflammation in those who smoke cannabis frequently. 

The irritants and chemicals in marijuana smoke potentially trigger inflammatory pathways that make acne worse. Though more research is still needed, these possible connections suggest smoking weed could indirectly exacerbate acne for some people prone to breakouts.

Does weed have any benefit for skin?

Smoking marijuana may not have direct skin benefits, but certain cannabis derivatives like CBD oil and hemp seed oil have shown promise when applied topically.

CBD has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties that could calm inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis by reducing immune responses and neutralizing triggers. CBD also regulates oil production and could counteract any overproduction caused by smoking. 

Hemp seed oil is an excellent natural moisturizer for hydrating dry, flaky skin thanks to its high concentration of fatty acids and antioxidants. The nutrients in hemp may protect the skin’s barrier function and increase moisture retention.

For managing acne specifically, cannabis likely has more value through topical skincare benefits as opposed to smoking the raw plant matter directly which could introduce impurities that clog pores.

Smoking and Aging

The smoke exposure over time from regular marijuana usage can also lead to accelerated skin aging. Smoking weed may degrade collagen and thin the skin more rapidly, causing fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, uneven tone, and loss of elasticity earlier than normal aging.

Additionally, the free radicals in marijuana smoke damage DNA and mitochondrial proteins in skin cells, making them dysfunctional faster. This leads to uneven pigmentation, dark spots, wrinkles, and a weathered appearance earlier than normal chronological aging. The facial blood vessels may also become more visible.

Other Acne Triggers Like Lack of Sleep and Cigarettes

There are several other lifestyle factors that seem to have a bigger influence on acne development and severity than smoking weed alone.

Lack of skin causes systematic inflammation that can manifest as skin issues like acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Poor sleep also interrupts hormone regulation and allows cortisol levels to rise overnight, which stimulates oil production. 

Smoking cigarettes introduces even more free radicals and chemicals that lower collagen levels, thin the skin, and impede the healing of acne lesions. Stress sparks inflammatory cascades systemically that overproduce sebum, cause vascular changes that deprive the skin of nutrients, and potentially alter the microbial balance.

All of these common acne triggers combined likely play a bigger role than occasional marijuana usage alone when it comes to clogged pores and inflamed breakouts.

Tips for Managing Acne Besides Quitting Weed

While the links between smoking weed and acne are still unclear, there are several evidence-based skincare and lifestyle steps one can take to help manage breakouts without needing to quit marijuana entirely.

Using non-comedogenic moisturizers and frequent cleansing with acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid can prevent clogged pores without drying out the skin. 

Exfoliating regularly lifts away pore-clogging dead skin cells and helps topicals penetrate better. Staying hydrated, managing stress levels, getting enough sleep, eating a nutrient-rich anti-inflammatory diet, and protecting skin from UV exposure are all important for balancing hormones and calming inflammation from the inside out. Oral probiotic supplements may also neutralize acne-causing bacteria. 

Ultimately, focusing on reducing inflammation and excess oil production holistically through healthy skin and lifestyle habits can improve acne symptoms regardless of marijuana usage. Though quitting smoking is generally advisable for overall health, topical cannabis derivatives like CBD oil could also help supplement an acne treatment routine.


After reviewing multiple scientific studies, it seems there is no definitive answer yet on whether smoking marijuana causes acne. Some limited research does suggest smoking cannabis could worsen breakouts and lead to more skin issues like premature aging. However, many factors influence acne – weed likely plays only a small role, if any.

While more research is still needed, it does appear cannabis has potential benefits for skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and even acne when applied topically. Smoking weed may not improve skin health, but CBD and other cannabis compounds could help when used directly on the skin.

When it comes to acne, focusing on overall healthy lifestyle habits seems more important than any one food, drug, or activity. Getting enough sleep, managing stress levels, not smoking cigarettes, removing makeup before bed, wearing non-comedogenic products, and keeping skin clean are much more vital for clear skin.

So does smoking weed cause acne? The verdict is still out. But even if cannabis isn’t directly causing your breakouts, reducing marijuana usage could still lead to better skin by minimizing smoke exposure and related aging effects.

What has your experience been with weed and skin health? Did quitting marijuana make a difference in your acne? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!


Dr. Luna Rey specializes in diagnosing and treating a wide range of skin conditions, from common conditions like acne and eczema to more complex conditions like psoriasis and skin cancer. In addition to her medical practice, Dr. Luna has a strong interest in writing and has published numerous articles on dermatology topics in leading medical journals. Her writing style is clear, concise, and easy to understand, making her work accessible to a broad audience.

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