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Is Stress Acne Real? Know About It In Detail

Is Stress Acne Real? Know About It In Detail

You might have noticed acne breakouts just before you have a presentation or exam, or when you have an important function to attend or speak at a public speaking event, or when you are feeling/thinking an extra too much. Acne is a common skin condition, but if you have noticed the correlation between breakouts and the situations above, your acne can be best described as stress acne. 

The world we live in stress has become a part of our day-to-day lives. Getting stressed is natural and quite common too. Stress and acne are best friends! Acne starts showing up when you are under stress. And your acne breakouts can cause emotional stress. 

Let's talk about stress and acne in detail. 

Is stress acne a thing?

Is stress acne a thing

Stress and acne are closely tied, but technically, stress doesn't directly cause acne, but it sure has a hand in breakouts (and other skin conditions as well). Stress can show on our face making it look more dull than usual. When you are under stress, it interferes with the skin's barrier function and impairs wound healing. Thus causing skin conditions like eczema, breakouts, and rosacea to worsen. Stress-induced acne is one of the many ways our body reacts to our emotions.

How is acne related to stress?

Like other types of acne, stress acne is caused by a mix of oil, bacteria, and hormones. To prepare ourselves for a stressful environment, our body overproduces cortisol hormone, which stimulates oil glands into overdrive. This overproduction of oil then clogs the pores, thus causing breakouts. 

How to prevent acne?

How to prevent acne
  • Wash your face gently and not more than two times a day
  • Use OTC products that help reduce extra oils on your skin
  • Use water-based, non-irritating skincare products including sunscreen and cosmetics
  • Keep things off your face as much as possible that may contain oils or dirt like your hands, hair, or phone
  • Wear loose clothing that reduces sweating
  • Do not pick or squeeze pimples

How to manage stress?

How to manage stress


It is important to manage stress in order to treat acne as stress can worsen your acne. Here are some tips.

Take a few deep breaths: Whenever you feel like you are under immense stress and find it difficult to process your mind around things, try to sit calmly for a few minutes and take deep breaths. Focus on your breathing and let your body relax completely. This will help you calm your anxious mind, and will help you think clearly. 

Practicing meditation or yoga: If you have been living a stressful life, indulging yourself in mindful activities like meditation and yoga can help you a lot. Meditation and yoga connect your body to your mind, thus improving your overall health and wellness. 

Choose your comfort food carefully: Stress eating is real! And not eating properly when stressed is also real! So must choose your comfort food wisely. Do not rely on heavily processed sugary foods like chocolates, ice creams, cakes, or cookies. Steer clear of foods that are high in sugar, because consuming too much sugar can contribute to acne flare-ups. 

Maintaining a healthy diet: What we eat has a great impact on our skin. Make sure you are adding fruits and leafy vegetables to your diet, in order to keep acne at bay. Try to avoid fast foods and oily or deep-fried foods. Dairy can also cause acne flare-ups so try to avoid them. 

Get a proper good night’s sleep: Maintain a proper sleep cycle of 7 hours and follow it religiously. Sleep is crucial to our health for so many reasons. When it comes to our skin's health when our body is sleep-deprived it produces an increased amount of cortisol which can lead to acne breakouts. 

Open up to a friend, family member, or a therapist: If you are feeling overwhelmed and are under immense stress, try opening up to a friend, or a family member, or a therapist. Talking about what is troubling you can bring a sense of relief inside you, and their words might comfort you and help you in managing stress.

Summing up

Acne stress is a real thing! You can manage all stress, acne, and stress-related acne. There are many OTC drugs or topicals that help in treating acne. You can try products with salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and retinol, (isotretinoin: in severe cases) to treat acne. However, if your acne is persistent, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist.