So what is stress acne about, what causes it, and how can it be managed or treated?
Most people think of acne as a problem that only teenagers have to worry about. But the truth is, acne can affect people of any age, and it’s not just limited to the face. Acne can form on any part of the body where there are pores, including the chest, back, and shoulders.
Stress acne (whether it’s mild acne, moderate or severe) is a very real form of acne that can be caused by stress. For many, it can be just as severe as regular acne and lead to scarring if not treated.
it’s important to identify any triggers and try to avoid and manage them if possible. Learn more about what stress acne is, what causes it, and how you can treat it in this article.
How can you tell you have stress acne?
Stress acne may also cause blackheads and whiteheads. some people may experience more severe cases of stress acne, which can lead to scarring.
What is stress acne and what causes it?
Acne that is caused by stress is known as stress acne, especially when you are acne prone. When you undergo emotional stress (or physical stress) your body releases more of a stress hormone called cortisol. When cortisol levels are high, it can increase oil production by the oil glands in your skin and cause pores to become blocked, leading to the development of acne.
Stress acne happens to many people, just like regular acne, with stress pimples and blackheads on their faces, necks, and chest. Acne that occurs under extreme stress can be just as bad as ordinary acne, causing scarring if left untreated.
1. Hormonal acne or hormonal changes:
When you’re stressed, your body produces more stress hormones (cortisol), which can lead to an increase in sebum production. This can block pores and cause acne breakouts, or hormonal acne.
2. Changes in diet:
Stress can cause you to crave sugary and fatty foods, which can lead to inflammation and acne.
3. Poor sleep:
Not getting enough sleep can make your skin more susceptible to stress related breakouts.
Most people smoke to relieve stress. Cigarette smoking can cause a type of acne called atypical post-adolescent acne (APAA) (also known as smoker’s acne).
Similarly, some people binge drink when they are stressed. Alcohol does not cause acne directly, but it can affect the balance of the hormones associated with acne.
Some medications, such as corticosteroids (synthetic cortisol), can cause acne. Corticosteroids are steroid hormones that are released in response to stress, and can cause “hormonal acne”. Corticosteroids can increase the production of sebum, or oil by the oil glands (known as sebaceous glands), which can clog pores and lead to acne
If you have a family history of stress and acne, you are more likely to get stress acne.
10 tips for preventing and managing stress acne
1. Keep your skin clean and dry:
One of the best ways to prevent stress acne is to keep your skin clean and dry. Make sure to wash your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser, and pat it dry with a towel.
2. Avoid touching your face:
Another good way to prevent acne is to avoid touching your face. Acne can be spread easily by touching your skin with your hands, so try to keep your hands away from your face as much as possible. Resist the urge to pick at your skin or pop pimples. This will only irritate and make them worse and can lead to scarring.
3. Avoid comedogenic products:
Comedogenic products are those that contain ingredients that can clog pores and cause acne. When choosing cosmetics or skincare products, avoid those that are labeled “comedogenic”.
4. Use an over-the-counter medication:
If you do experience stress-induced breakouts, you can treat them with over-the-counter medications such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.
5. Try stress-relieving techniques:
Stress can aggravate acne, so it’s important to find stress-relieving techniques that work for you. Some people find relief through yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises. You can incorporate these techniques into your daily routine.
6. Get enough sleep:
Getting enough sleep is important for stress relief and can also help to prevent stress acne. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night to help your body recover from stress.
7. Eat a healthy diet:
Eating a healthy diet may help to reduce the negative effect of stress. So, eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help reduce stress-related inflammation and acne.
8. Exercise regularly:
Exercise has many benefits, including stress relief and improved circulation. Both of these can help to reduce the risk of stress acne.
9. Limit alcohol consumption:
Some people turn to alcohol when their stress levels are high. Alcohol can cause stress acne flareups, so it’s important to limit your alcohol intake if you want to prevent stress acne.
10. Quit smoking:
So quitting is one of the best things you can do for your skin. Most people smoke to relax when their stress levels are high. Cigarette smoking can induce a form of acne called atypical post-adolescent acne (APAA) – also known as smoker’s acne.
See a board-certified dermatologist:
If you’re struggling with stress acne, see a board-certified dermatologist for advice on treatment options.
Treatment options for acne caused by stress.
There are several treatment options for stress-related acne. Some people find that over-the-counter acne medications work well, while others need prescription medication. There are also a few natural remedies that may help, such as tea tree oil or lavender oil.
Over-the-counter acne treatment
Over-the-counter (OTC) acne treatments come in a variety of forms that can form your skincare routine. Various forms of OTC include gels, creams, lotions, and pads. The most common ingredients in these products are benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, niacinamide, and retinol.
Benzoyl peroxide product:
Benzoyl peroxide is a bleaching agent that helps to kill acne causing bacteria on the skin. It is available in over-the-counter acne medications in concentrations of 2.5%, 5%, and 10%.
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Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that exfoliates the skin and helps to remove dead skin cells. It is available in over-the-counter acne medications in concentrations of 0.5% and 2%.
You can find salicylic acid products designed for acne online.
This is s a form of vitamin B3 that helps to brighten the skin and reduce inflammation. It is available in over-the-counter acne medications in concentrations of 2% and 5%.
Retinol is a form of vitamin A that helps to speed up cell turnover and reduce inflammation. It is available in over-the-counter acne medications in concentrations of 0.5%, 1%, and 2.5%.
You can find anti-acne retinol based products online.
Some people find that over-the-counter acne medications work well for them. They may need to try a few different products or as part of their skincare routine before finding one that works best for them. These products can be found at most drugstores, pharmacies or online
If over-the-counter treatments don’t work, your doctor may prescribe medication. The most common types of prescription medication for stress-related acne are retinoids, antibiotics, birth control pills, and isotretinoin.
Retinoids are synthetic forms of vitamin A. They help to unclog pores, reduce inflammation, and promote cell turnover. The most common retinoid used to treat stress-related acne is tretinoin. Other retinoids include adapalene and tazarotene.
Antibiotics are used to kill bacteria on the skin. They are usually taken orally, but they can also be applied topically. The most common antibiotics used to treat stress-induced acne are erythromycin and clindamycin.
Birth control pills contain hormones that can help to regulate hormone levels in the body. This can reduce stress-related acne for some people. The most common type of birth control pill used to treat stress-related acne is combination oral contraceptives, which contain both estrogen and progesterone.
Isotretinoin is a powerful type of retinoid that is used to treat severe acne. It is a pill that is taken orally. It works by reducing oil production in the skin and by preventing dead skin cells from sticking together. Isotretinoin can have serious side effects, so it is usually only prescribed as a last resort.
There are a few natural remedies that may help with stress and acne. These include lavender oil, tea tree oil, green tea, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, and manuka honey.
Lavender oil is a type of essential oil that can be used to reduce stress and anxiety. This can be helpful especially if you are prone to stress. It can also help to kill bacteria on the skin and reduce inflammation. It can be found in health food stores or online.
Tea tree oil:
Tea tree oil is another type of essential oil that can be used to kill bacteria on the skin and reduce inflammation. Tea tree can also be effective at reducing stress and treating acne. It can be found in health food stores or online.
This has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to protect the skin from damage. Green tea properties may help to reduce stress and acne. Green tea can be found in most grocery stores or online.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV):
ACV has several health benefits. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. ACV can help balance the pH levels of the skin. This can help to reduce the growth of bacteria and yeast on the skin. In addition, ACV helps to balance hormone levels. This may assist with stress-related acne. It can also help to heal wounds and scars. Apple cider vinegar can be found in most grocery stores or online.
Aloe vera is a plant that has been used for centuries for its healing properties. It has anti-inflammatory and healing properties. Aloe vera contains vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that can help to soothe the skin and reduce stress. This may help with stress-related acne. Aloe vera can be found in health food stores or online.
Manuka honey is a type of honey that is produced in New Zealand Manuka honey and Australia. It is extracted from a flowering plant that is in the tea tree and myrtle families. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Manuka honey can help to kill bacteria on the skin and reduce inflammation. It can also help to soothe the skin and reduce stress and acne. Manuka honey can be found in most health food stores or online.
5 relaxation techniques for reducing stress
Several relaxation techniques can help to reduce stress and minimize its effects on the skin. Try incorporating one or more of these relaxation techniques into your daily routine. Not only will they help to reduce stress, but they may also improve your overall mental and physical health.
1) Yoga and meditation are both excellent stress-reducing activities. They can help to clear the mind and focus on the present moment.
2) Deep breathing exercises can also help to reduce stress by increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood.
3) Aromatherapy can be used to relax the mind and body. essential oils such as lavender oil can be added to a diffuser or applied topically to the skin.
4) Journaling is another great way to reduce stress. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help to release them from your mind and provide clarity.
Stress acne is a type of acne that is caused by stress. Stress acne may be a difficult condition to deal with. However, it can be managed with natural remedies, OTC, or by using prescription medication, as well as relaxation techniques.
If you are concerned, or your acne is severe, it’s best to see your doctor.
Please leave a comment below if you have any questions or suggestions. Thanks for reading!