The ultimate question we all want an answer to: does stress cause acne? Several clinical studies show that a stressed state of mind does in fact contribute to blemishes and breakouts. Many dermatologists consider stress as a leading cause of adult acne. If you're struggling with both a busy schedule and a less than clear complexion, here's what you need to know about the potential role of relaxation in keeping a healthy mind and clear skin!
Stress Impacts Hormones
When we feel stressed, our bodies produce increased levels of certain hormones, like cortisol and androgen. These substances trigger various physiological responses to stress, including increased oil production. This oil can clog pores, which leads to blackheads, whiteheads and other unwanted blemishes, while associated inflammation leads to the redness and pain associated with pimples. While this type of acne can appear anywhere on the face and body, it often clusters on the lower part of the face around the chin, jawline and cheeks. When that happens, some feel compelled to pick at these new spots during stressful times. Doing so can spread bacteria and infection, which often worsens stress acne and scarring.
Strategies for Stress Acne
Tackling stress related acne typically requires a two-pronged approach to resolve blemishes and maintain clear skin all while successfully managing these stressful situations. Add these practices to your self-care toolbox when you find that major blemishes tend to pop up right before a school presentation or business meeting:
- Maintain a simple but effective skin care routine even when you get too busy to throw on your favourite mascara. At the least, you should cleanse 2x a day using a face wash with natural ingredients, followed by a moisturizing sunscreen during the day and an oil-free hydration cream at night. Avoid harsh chemical treatments for acne, especially if you have sensitive skin!
- When you have an angry red zit, don't try to extract it. Instead, treat it with a warm compress to draw out the infection and alternate with an ice pack to reduce pain and swelling. Trust us, it isn’t worth picking at.
- Take time to practice the art of relaxation! Implement physical activity like yoga or a jog, pickup simple breathing exercises, try meditation (there’s lots of apps for this) or engage in aromatherapy by treating yourself to an organic face misting spray. So many options to try out!
- Take good care of yourself by eating a nutritious diet and getting enough sleep. Sounds simple but poor health impacts the immune system, which makes it more difficult for the body to fight back against blemish-causing bacteria.
- Keep a journal about your feelings and note times of emotional distress as well as the state of your skin. This information can be crucial to pinpointing the factors that trigger your breakouts and re-evaluate your skin care regimen during stressful times. So, can stress cause acne? Yes, but it isn't necessarily the driving force behind blemishes!
Adult acne is a more pervasive problem than ever before. If you think you're breaking out because of stress and feel frustrated by acne even as you face signs of aging, a consultation with a dermatologist may help you get to the root of these issues and create a treatment regimen that could restore your clear, smooth complexion. Acne can feel like we’re still in puberty, but sometimes it just happens simply with the stress of being an adult. Make time to practice relaxing and doing what makes your mind and body feel good.