BACKGROUND.: Post-adolescent acne is an inflammatory disorder, whose cause is unknown. Contrasting data are available on correlation between acne and smoking habit. OBJECTIVES.: To verify the frequency of clinically non-inflammatory (atypical) post-adolescent acne (APAA) among women, a possible correlation with cigarette smoking, possible differences in sebum composition in a group of female smokers with acne compared to healthy smokers and non-smokers. METHOD AND RESULTS.: 1046 randomly selected women (25-50-years-old) participated at the study. In 60 selected female subjects we analyzed sebum composition for alpha-tocopherol, squalene and squalene monohydroperoxide. We found a high prevalence of APAA among women (74.6%), a strong correlation with smoking habit (p < 0.0001), as well as an increase in the grade of sebum peroxidation (p < 0.05) with a reduction in vitamin E (p = 0.02), in the subjects with acne compared to the controls. CONCLUSIONS.: Clinical evidence and experimental data showed a straight correlation between smoking habit and post-pubertal acne in which the clinically non-inflammatory type-APAA-is the most frequent. In the more severe cases we could consider APAA as a new entity (smoker's acne).
Keywords: acne; nicotine; post adolescent; smoking; women.