Can Stress Cause Acne?

It’s a known fact that stress may negatively affect our body. It causes deterioration of hair, hair loss, insomnia – this is just a small list of unpleasant consequences stress provides us with. But, many people might have noticed that long periods of strong nervous tension are often accompanied by worsening of the skin condition and acne, which require proper acne treatment. Indeed, such skin condition as acne and stress are linked. However, if your skin is healthy, then nervous tension will not affect its health; but if your skin is prone to pimples, stress might easily provoke an acne outbreak and it will take more time for acne to heal. This fact has been proven by a study that investigated the effect of stress on the development of acne disease in college students. The study has shown that exacerbation of acne happened around the time of their exams.

Researchers still don’t know how exactly stress worsens acne. But they do know that sebum-producing cells have certain receptors that are sensitive to stress hormone cortisol. Sebum produced by these cells gets mixed with the bacteria that dwell on the skin and dead skin cells; this mixture clogs pores and leads to an acne cyst or pimple. When a person is under a lot of stress, the blood level of cortisol increases and that triggers increased production of sebum. Therefore, overproduction of sebum promotes acne breakouts, which might cause even greater stress and turn the situation into a vicious circle.

Moreover, stress hormone is not the only possible cause of acne outbreak. Dermatologists believe that stress may also provoke acne indirectly. For example, when under stress we tend to neglect healthy nutrition giving preference to fast food and sweets, we sleep less and miss important skin care procedures. And all this is known to directly affect our skin.

Therefore, dermatologists recommend monitoring your state of mind in addition to regular procedures and treatments of acne – get enough sleep, do not skip meals, eat more fruits and vegetables and spend more time outdoors during particularly stressful periods of your life.