Does Secondhand Smoke Cause Damage To My Skin?

Did you know that secondhand smoke is actually more dangerous than firsthand? Shocking, but true. The reason is because the components in secondhand smoke are more concentrated than in firsthand, since there is no filter at the end of the cigarette. The levels of nicotine, tar, nitric oxide and carbon monoxide are at least twice as high in secondhand smoke.

So what does this mean for your skin?

Simply put, you’re getting much of the skin damage that smokers can get – if not more, and you’re not even a smoker!

Among many things, secondhand smoke affects the skin greatly because collagen-destroying enzymes (MMPs) ramp up when exposed to tobacco smoke causing increased wrinkling and visible aging of the skin.

Read: Do You Have Smoker’s Lines But Have Never Smoked?

So if you’re someone who lives with smokers or works in smoky places, you’ll want to either avoid this or follow these tips to prevent skin damage.

Use skin care products that stimulate collagen. Peptides are a powerful ingredient that when used regularly will help with the formation of new collagen. Peptides are a chain of amino acids, that when used regularly will help with the formation of new collagen. Look for peptides like Caprooyl Tetrapeptide and Matrixyl 300. Use Bio Radiance Night Serum since it is loaded with peptides and is a great product to prevent wrinkles. Firming Eye Therapy also uses peptides and is amazing for the delicate eye area to keep it firm and moist…

Skin care products with White Tea Extract (in levels of 2%-5%) help to neutralize 55-75% of lipid peroxide, the damaging free radicals from tobacco smoke. You can find this in Soothing Relief Serum. Vitamins C & E replace vitamins lost to smoke and smog exposure, also keeping skin moist and hydrated. Our Vitamin C & E Treatment uses a blend of three unique, time-released targeted delivery systems that slowly diffuse three stabilized forms of Vitamin C and three forms of Vitamin E throughout the skin that help to visually repair smoke damage. It also helps to lighten pigmentation and discoloration caused from aging, breakouts and hormonal changes in the body.

Use products that stimulate blood flow. Products with ingredients like ginseng, peppermint and rosemary are all beneficial for boosting circulation to get your skin glowing. A smoker’s skin will benefit greatly from Luxe Mint Cleansing Gel, Revitalizing Ginseng Toner, Rosemary Mint Cleanser and Mint Buffing Beads. Go for the glow!

Use both retinol and glycolic acid in your skin care products. Glycolic acid and retinol are two ingredients which have been determined to affect collagen production. Glycolic acid, while better for clearing the pores and removing surface dryness, is not quite as effective as retinol for collagen stimulation. This is because retinol goes down deeper into the dermis and evokes stimulation right where collagen fibers are created. Glycolic acid, however, is better for stimulating new cells located near the surface of the skin, which gives skin a smooth texture by removing dryness. (Renée Rouleau is launching a new retinol serum soon!) See our collection of AHA Smoothing Serum formulas.

Apply sunscreen generously and wear it 365 days a year, rain or shine, inside or out. As a skin care consumer caring for my own skin, and as an esthetician for 25 years (read my bio), I know that for most of us the goal is to have skin that is young, youthful-looking and wrinkle-free. To achieve that, people will continually search for a magic potion, a perfect cure-all. What is funny is that even with this obsession about preventing skin aging, people overlook using the world’s best anti-aging product on a regular basis.

What is it? Simple sunscreen. Sunscreen blocks out the harmful UV rays that cause loss of elasticity, premature aging, skin cancer, dark spots, damaged capillaries etc. Sunscreen is a must whether you’re lying out at the beach OR working inside your office near windows. Did you know? Zinc Oxide (found in Daily Protection SPF 30) provides the broadest spectrum of coverage among UV filters currently approved by the FDA. I also highly suggest that everyone uses a sunscreen mineral powder to prevent wrinkles and sun damage. ColoreScience is the brand I recommend and personally use on my own skin. See the entire collection here.

Which skin care products are best for you? See our nine skin types or take the Skin Type Quiz and get products recommended.

Need expert advice from a licensed esthetician? Schedule a virtual consultation to get customized advice in person, over the phone or online via Skype or FaceTime.

For more expert advice check out the blog. Also sign up for our skin tip e-newsletter, follow Renée Rouleau on Twitter and Instagram and join the discussion on our Facebook page. You’ll be your own skin care expert in no time. Get the #ReneeRouleauGlow!

Get Blog Posts In Your Email

Content Copyright © 2018, Renée Rouleau, Inc

Content found on, including: text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.