Q Are stress and acne related?
A Yes. Stress can aggravate symptoms, but we can almost always overcome moderate or light stress with proper topical treatment.
Q What exactly is "stress" anyway?
A Stress is any taxing of our emotional or physical being. Widely defined this can include pretty much everything, but for our purposes we'll define it as any undue emotional or physical strain. It might be surprising that this definition includes physical strain. Many people view stress as just an emotional issue, but when we're speaking about acne, it is best to include undue physical strain in our definition since both can come into play.
Examples of emotional stress:
Examples of physical stress:
Q How does stress affect acne?
A The average acne sufferer's skin contains clogged pores that they can't even see. Stress causes an inflammatory response in the body and can cause the walls of these pores to break. When this happens, the body responds with redness around the broken pore, and an influx of pus (a zit).1-2
Also, when we experience stress, our adrenal gland goes into overdrive. Androgens (male hormones), which this gland produces, increase. Higher androgen levels can lead to more acne. This is especially true in women, who produce a much larger percentage of their androgens in the adrenal gland than men. This may explain why stress seems to affect women more than men when it comes to acne.
Q What are some effective tools to handle stress?
A Some effective tools to handle stress: