Acne and Stress


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Stress is almost certainly a contributing factor to the development of acne in many sufferers. On its own, however, stress does not cause acne. Equally, living a calm existence will not necessarily protect you from acne. This is because there are a wide range of factors that contribute to the skin condition and these vary from person-to-person.

Stress, Hormones and Acne

Stress has been shown to trigger the production of more hormones in the body. In high levels these hormones, especially androgen, can cause the sebaceous glands in the skin to produce more sebum (natural oil). Excess sebum can then clog the skin’s pores and follicles, which causes whiteheads and blackheads to form. If the naturally occurring bacteria which exist on the skin come into contact with these whiteheads and blackheads these ‘clogs’ can become inflamed, resulting in the papules, pustules, nodules and cysts which characterise acne.

Stress and Acne Healing

The next problem with stress is that it can slow down your body’s ability to heal itself. In times of stress the healing process can take significantly longer than in calmer periods. This means that your acne may look substantially worse and individual blemishes may take a lot longer to heal.

Stress, Lifestyle and Acne

At times of stress you are likely to pay less attention to living a healthy lifestyle and more attention whatever it is that is causing you to feel stressed. This could mean that you neglect things like your diet, your skincare and your exercise regime. Changes in lifestyle, especially changes in your diet can have serious consequences for your skin and healthy skin requires a balanced diet full of the vitamins, fats and minerals your body needs to maintain hormonal and blood sugar levels. Changes in your intake of these things could make your skin more prone to acne or worsen your condition.

Dealing with Acne and Stress

Perhaps the worst thing about the link between stress and acne is that it can be a bit of a vicious cycle. Psychologically, simply having acne has been shown to cause stress, anxiety and depression in some acne sufferers. This acne-related stress could then cause your acne to worsen, causing yet more stress and so on. The best way to deal with this is to seek advice from your doctor and remember to talk honestly about the effect your acne has on you.


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