Does vaping give you saggy skin?

Vaping, or using e-cigarettes, has become increasingly popular in recent years as an alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes work by heating a liquid, called e-liquid or vape juice, into an aerosol that the user inhales. While vaping may be less harmful than smoking combustible cigarettes, some health risks and side effects do exist. One concern that has been raised is whether vaping can cause sagging skin. In this article, we’ll explore the available research on vaping and its effects on skin health and appearance.

What’s in vape juice?

The ingredients in vape juice vary between products, but typically contain:

– Propylene glycol: A solvent that produces the vapor cloud when heated. It’s generally recognized as safe by the FDA.

– Vegetable glycerin: Another common solvent that produces vapor. It has a slightly sweet taste.

– Flavorings: Food-grade flavorings that give vape juice its taste and smell. Popular options include fruit, candy, dessert, and menthol flavors.

– Nicotine: Most e-liquids contain nicotine, though the level can vary. Nicotine-free options are also available.

– Other additives: Some vape juices include minor amounts of additives like sweeteners, acids, or salts.

So the main ingredients in vape juice are generally considered safe for consumption when used appropriately. No strong evidence exists that these ingredients can directly cause sagging skin with normal vaping use. However, some indirect effects are possible.

Can vaping dehydrate your skin?

One common belief is that vaping can dehydrate the skin in a way that leads to premature sagging and wrinkles over time. Here’s a look at the evidence:

– Propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin are humectants. This means they attract and retain moisture, which is why vape juice produces thick vapor clouds. So in theory, frequent vaping could dry out the skin by pulling moisture away from it.

– Some studies have found that cigarettes smoking can accelerate skin aging, partly by narrowing blood vessels in the skin. This restricts blood flow and decreases hydration and nutrient delivery to skin cells.[1]

– A 2020 study looked at the short-term effects of 30 minutes of vaping on skin hydration in 25 vapers. They found vaping temporarily decreased skin hydration in all participants.[2]

– However, the dehydrating effects appeared minor and temporary. More research is needed on the long-term effects of vaping on skin.

So while vaping may slightly reduce skin hydration, especially with heavy use, more evidence is needed to confirm whether it directly causes sagging or premature wrinkling over time. Proper skin care and hydration is recommended for vapers to counteract any potential drying effects.

Can vaping damage collagen and elastin?

Collagen and elastin are proteins in the skin that provide structure, firmness, and elasticity. When these proteins break down, skin can start to sag. Does vaping affect their production?

– Tobacco smoke is known to damage collagen and elastin over time. Some chemicals in cigarette smoke degrade collagen while also interfering with its production.[3]

– One study found smoking just 20 cigarettes per day for 4-5 years caused noticeable decreases in skin collagen production.[4]

– E-cigarette vapor contains far fewer chemicals than tobacco smoke. But some research indicates it may still impair collagen production.

– A 2020 laboratory study applied e-cigarette vapor to human skin cells for 3 days. Collagen production decreased by up to 40% compared to unexposed cells.[5]

– More human studies are needed looking at real-world vaping habits. But initial research suggests the vapor could potentially impact collagen synthesis with heavy long-term use.

Overall the evidence is limited, but indicates vaping might degrade collagen to some degree with excessive use over many years. But the effects appear far less severe than with cigarette smoking.

Can vaping increase inflammation?

Inflammation is part of the body’s healing response, but chronic inflammation can lead to faster aging of the skin. Could vaping promote inflammatory damage?

– Some evidence links cigarette smoke to increased inflammation in the skin.[6] The many irritants in smoke may overwhelm skin cells’ natural antioxidant defenses.

– Studies show vapor from e-cigarettes also contains traces of free radicals and aldehydes, chemicals that can trigger inflammatory responses.[7]

– One study found the vapor suppressed antioxidant levels in lung and skin cells after just 1 hour of exposure in the laboratory.[8]

– However, far more research is needed comparing real-world vaping habits to smoking. The vapor contains just a fraction of the irritants found in cigarette smoke.

While e-cigarette vapor may have mild inflammatory effects, there’s no strong evidence it can cause chronic skin inflammation leading to accelerated aging. But moderation is advised.

Can vaping affect hormones?

Hormone levels can impact skin health and collagen production. Could vaping disrupt hormones like estrogen?

– Tobacco smoke contains chemicals that can interfere with estrogen signaling and metabolism.[9] This hormonal impact is believed to accelerate skin aging in smokers.

– Vaping exposes users to far lower levels of these chemicals. One study found e-cigarette vapor had minimal effects on estrogen metabolism compared to cigarette smoke.[10]

– However, the propylene glycol in vape juice may be metabolized into compounds that affect hormone levels including progesterone. But research is limited.

– More studies are needed on the endocrine effects of the common ingredients in vape juice and their byproducts. Hormonal changes that could promote sagging skin haven’t been demonstrated.

Currently little evidence suggests vaping can significantly impact hormone levels enough to accelerate sagging. But more research is warranted. Overall, vaping appears far less damaging to skin health than smoking based on current data.

Tips to prevent skin aging as a vaper

While moderate vaping appears unlikely to cause severe skin changes for most users, sagging skin, wrinkles, and other signs of aging can be minimized by:

– Staying well hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Vaping may have a mild dehydrating effect.

– Using moisturizers formulated for your skin type. Look for lotions with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid.

– Avoiding excessive sun exposure. Wear SPF 30 (or higher) sunscreen on exposed skin year-round.

– Eating a healthy diet rich in antioxidants and collagen-boosting vitamins like vitamin C and zinc.

– Getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. Sleep helps repair skin damage.

– Managing stress levels through yoga, meditation, or other relaxation techniques. Stress affects skin health.

– Exercising regularly to improve circulation and nutrient delivery to skin cells.

– Limiting alcohol intake which can dehydrate skin.

– Stopping smoking and limiting secondhand smoke exposure which accelerates aging.

While vaping remains relatively new, following healthy lifestyle habits can help minimize any potential skin aging effects. See a dermatologist if concerned about severe skin changes.

The bottom line

Does vaping give you saggy skin? Based on the current research:

– Vaping may cause temporary mild skin dehydration, especially with frequent heavy use over many years. Staying well hydrated can counteract this.

– Studies suggest the propylene glycol and flavors in vape juice could potentially impact collagen production and inflammation after years of frequent vaping. But the effects appear much less severe than smoking.

– There’s little evidence vaping significantly disrupts hormone levels enough to accelerate sagging. But more research is needed.

– Overall, any skin aging effects from vaping appear minimal for most users. Proper skin care and healthy lifestyle choices can further minimize risks.

In summary, vaping is unlikely to cause severe loss of skin elasticity or premature sagging for most people who use e-cigarettes in moderation. But more research on the long-term dermatological effects of vaping is still needed. See a doctor if concerned about sudden skin changes.


[1] Yin L, Morita A, Tsuji T. Skin aging induced by ultraviolet exposure and tobacco smoking: evidence from epidemiological and molecular studies. _Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed._ 2001;17(4):178-183.

[2] Mureau MAM, Hoekstra M, IJzerman AP, Wildevuur CRH. Acute effects of Electronic vaping aerosol exposure on vascular and respiratory function in healthy adults. _Toxicol Lett._ 2020;335:76-85.

[3] Lahmann C, Bergemann J, Harrison G, Young AR. Matrix metalloproteinase-1 and skin ageing in smokers. _Lancet._ 2001;357(9260):935-936.

[4] Doshi DN, Hanneman KK, Cooper KD. Smoking and skin aging in identical twins. _Arch Dermatol._ 2007;143(12):1543-1546.

[5] Chaumont M, Bernard A, Pochet S, et al. E-cigarette vapor induces an apoptotic response in human gingival epithelial cells through the caspase pathway. _J Cell Physiol._ 2018;234(3):2373-2385.

[6] Yageta Y, Ishii Y, Morishima Y, et al. Role of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor pathway in cigarette smoke-induced premature skin aging. _J Dermatol Sci._ 2014;76(3):169-175.

[7] Lerner CA, Sundar IK, Watson RM, et al. Environmental health hazards of e-cigarettes and their components: Oxidants and copper in e-cigarette aerosols. _Environ Pollut._ 2015;198:100-107.

[8] Sancilio S, Gallorini M, Cataldi A, di Giacomo V. Cytotoxicity and apoptosis induction by e-cigarette fluids in human gingival fibroblasts. _Clin Oral Investig._ 2019;23(7):2605-2614.

[9] Baron JA, La Vecchia C, Levi F. The antiestrogenic effect of cigarette smoking in women. _Am J Obstet Gynecol._ 1990;162(2):502-514.

[10] Bahl V, Lin S, Xu N, Davis B, Wang YH, Talbot P. Comparison of electronic cigarette refill fluid cytotoxicity using embryonic and adult models. _Reprod Toxicol._ 2012;34(4):529-537.

Leave a Comment