The Link Between Acne and Stress

Stress does crazy things to us.  Stress can make us irritable and short tempered, put us in a bad mood and send us off for a fast food frenzy.   Stress can also have some pretty wide-ranging physiological effects too.  High stress has been linked to hair loss, memory problems, poor judgement, negativity, constipation, dizziness, loss of sex drive, moodiness, agitation, feelings of loneliness and isolation, eating too much or too little, procrastination, nail biting and and yes, acne outbreaks. Wow.

The good news is that if you focus on treating symptoms of the stress, and if that focus leads to taking steps to reduce the cause of the stress, you’ve taking the first steps to dialing down the stress in your life.

Are you stressed?

Stress is anything that adversely effects our emotional or physical wellbeing.  Emotional stress is very common, and very often triggered by life events like:

  • relationship problems
  • overwhelming workload or issues with your boss/manager/coworkers
  • loved ones who have declining health
  • a big event, like a final exam, wedding or presentation
  • being bullied
  • academic pressures

Stress can also come from physical things like:

  • a lack of proper sleep
  • a harmful addiction (smoking, drugs)
  • a sedentary lifestyle (not much exercise)
  • a too-crazy-busy lifestyle
  • overly demanding sports, workouts or exercise without proper rest and hydration

Everyone experiences stress.  In fact, everyone is pretty much under some sort of stress every hour of every day of their lives.  It’s all how you manage that stress that determines if the stress “gets to you” or not. Stress is usually nature’s way of telling us something needs to change.  We should listen more to that message.

Targeting one symptom at a time

If you’re stressed and have multiple symptoms like the ones above, experts suggest first focusing on making things right with just one of them.  If you regularly break out or get skin discoloration due to stress, there are some specific things you can do to focus on making that symptom lessen or disappear.

First is to pay attention to your skin.  Unless you’re a trained skincare specialist, this usually means springing for a visit to an esthetician for an assessment.  The esthetician will assess your skin situation, ask questions about the things that cause stress in your life, and recommend a treatment regimen.  They’ll also let you know if they believe a trip to a medical professional, like a dermatologist, makes sense.

You will likely find that reducing acne breakouts feels good.  You will look in the mirror and feel better about yourself.  You will feel like you’ve taking control of at least something in your life. Discussions with your esthetician that surround your acne home care can drive nutritional and other behavioral changes that will positive effect your wellbeing, and further reduce stress.