Acne is a common occurrence that affects up to 85 percent of people at some point in their lives. When you get a pimple or suffer from more severe breakouts, you likely feel some emotional distress. Because of this, people often associate acne and stress being linked. But does stress cause acne? Let’s investigate the question further!
What Causes Acne?
Acne is a skin condition common among teenagers but found in people of all ages. Acne affects the skin’s hair follicles, oil glands, and pores. Pores are small openings in the skin’s surface. Beneath the surface, the pores connect to glands that produce sebum, an oily substance, by way of a canal, or follicle. From this follicle, a thin hair grows out to the skin’s surface. Acne occurs when hair follicles get clogged with oil and dead skin cells, and sometimes bacteria or trapped hair, forming blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples in mild to moderate cases, and leading to nodules and cysts in more severe cases.
The exact reasons for acne’s development are not clearly known, though genetics is believed to be a factor. A few things are thought to trigger acne:
- Excess Androgens: A type of hormone active in teenagers that cause pores to enlarge and produce more oil
- Hormone Changes during pregnancy or menstrual cycles
- Birth Control & Other Medications
- Touching or picking existing pimples
- Pressure from clothing
Can Stress Cause Acne?
Directly, no. Stress on its own does not cause acne. But it could play a role. Other factors such as age, hormones, acne-producing bacteria, and additional factors are also involved. For people who already have the skin condition, both acute and chronic stress can trigger an increase in breakouts as well as worsen the severity of the acne.
How Does Stress Impact Acne?
Researchers have identified several stress-related acne triggers:
- Hormonal Increase in Oil Production
- Stress causes your body to release certain hormones that can increase your skins oil production and in turn cause acne
- Touching/Picking at Skin
- People unconsciously touch their faces all the time. Stress in particular can cause an increase in itching leading you to scratch or pick at your acne.
- Slower Healing
- When under stress the body takes longer to repair wounds, including acne
- Unhealthy Habits
- Stress causes poor sleep and an increased intake in unhealthy foods. Stress also often stops people from doing their skin care routines, thus further promoting blackheads
Ways of Treating and Preventing Acne
Treatment for acne depends on the severity of the condition. In mild cases you might treat breakouts by washing gently with soap and water and applying over-the-counter ointments or creams to affected skin. These OTC treatments include ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, and resorcinol. For example, the acne treatments Liquimat and Rezamid both contain sulfur, and the latter additionally includes resorcinol. Both of these Sumlab products are great acne treatments that will leave your skin clear and healthy.
More moderate to severe cases might require a topical or oral prescription from a dermatologist for medications such as retinoids, antibiotics, or hormonal treatments.
Techniques for preventing acne breakouts include:
- Using water-based skin products that do not irritate the skin
- Not squeezing pimples or picking at skin
- Wearing loose clothing and keeping things off your face as much as possible
- Practicing relaxation techniques
Keep Calm and Treat It
Based on the current research, stress and acne are indirectly correlated with one another. Stress alone doesn’t necessarily constitute more acne, but factors associated with the stress do. Many people who are under lots of stress do not have acne. Our ability to avoid unhealthy habits, such as face picking and/or zit popping, can get worse when we are stressed out and these bad habits can contribute to more breakouts. Stress tends to affect our hormones, and when we go through hormonal shifts, those can result in more zits or breakouts.
If you find yourself less stressed, but your acne persists, practice additional hygienic techniques and use water-based skin products to help treat the areas affected by acne, such as Liquimat and Rezamid.
Remember, you are not your acne; there are amazing treatment options at Summers Laboratories . Let Sumlab help your skin to be the best it can be!