Managing Your Back-to-School Stress Acne

Have you been struggling with breakouts since the new school year? You’re not alone! Many college and high school students experience stress induced acne. If tests, exams, essays and other responsibilities leave you little time to relax, your complexion could be negatively affected. Here's how to manage this type of acne so your skin will be as smooth as your semester!


How Stress Causes Breakouts

When we feel tense, anxious or threatened, our body increases the levels of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. In turn, the imbalanced hormone levels lead to excess production of pore-clogging oil, which leads you to ask Alexa questions about whether stress cause back acne (AKA back-ne). Cortisol and other stress hormones also trigger inflammation, causing swelling, redness and pain associated with a major blemish. Some people may pick at the skin when they feel nervous or stressed, which worsens the acne by spreading infection and scarring the skin! We know it’s tricky, but don’t pick at it. 


Tips To Reduce Stress-Induced Acne

While stress is a normal part of life for everyone, relaxation techniques can help you feel more calm and centered, balancing your hormones and resulting in clear skin with fewer whiteheads and blackheads. In the meantime, an effective skin care routine will banish the breakouts that do occur! These are some of our favorite strategies to combat acne and stress:


  • Cleanse 2x a day, in the morning and before bed. For our friends with sensitive skin: it's particularly important to choose a gentle face wash with natural ingredients
  • Create a basic skin care routine and try to keep it up even when work, classes and socializing keep you up way past a reasonable hour. Removing makeup and moisturizing before bed will make a HUGE difference in the texture and appearance of your skin, so it’s good to make it a habit!
  • Use a spot treatment to reduce the size and swelling of blemishes overnight. Look for natural formulas free of harsh ingredients that can dry the skin, making acne worse over time by encouraging the overproduction of oil.
  • Wash hands frequently to remove bacteria and avoid touching your face! Acne on hands is somewhat rare, but transferred germs and debris can affect your complexion.
  • Get plenty of exercise. When you spend time working out each day, your body produces endorphins that help ease stress and improve your mood. Lower level of stress hormones often equates to fewer breakouts. 
  • Develop a relaxing bedtime routine, even when final exams and papers are beating down your door. Practice meditation or breathing exercises and do something you enjoy for at least 15 minutes, like reading a book or catching up with a friend on the phone. Engage the benefits of aromatherapy with an organic face misting spray. Spritz the stress away. 
  • If you feel like you have stress you’re unable to manage, talk with a counselor. You may have access to free or low-cost services through your college or university. 

If you're experiencing acne in college or high school and you think stress may be to blame, you aren't alone! If these strategies don't seem to make a difference in your skin, consider seeing a dermatologist to learn more about what could be triggering your breakouts. Help is available and don’t be afraid to ask for it. We’re here for you.