I’ve been reading acne related articles and studies from around the world, with topics ranging from genetics to Accutane flare risk factors. After reading them all I took a moment to see if there is a common thread linking them together. One thread I seem to keep finding is stress. Keep in mind that I am simply starting a discussion and not trying to draw any sort of scientific conclusion. Please present your own evidence as well.


1. A Canadian study I read found that living in urban areas was related to Accutane relapse. I know from personal experience that living in an urban area comes with added stressors. While I personally prefer the urban lifestyle, driving is more difficult, sirens wail, and crowds are common. You must stay more on guard to stay safe, even if that means staying more aware while crossing busy streets.

2. A Norwegian study showed a possible link between poor diet and acne in adolescents. While the conclusion was “too early to give evidence-based diet advice” it nonetheless once again shed light on the diet/acne connection. Researchers do not have a consensus about which type of diet is best or worst for acne sufferers, but if poor diet is related to acne, stress would be a factor here as well. A poor diet physically stresses the body. High glycemic (sugary) diets also cause mood swings and can affect mental stress levels.

3. An International Journal of Dermatology article focused on the impact of DHEA-S, an androgen (male sex hormone), on female adult-onset acne. Leutenizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), total testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), and DHEA-S were all evaluated. DHEA-S was the only androgen that was significantly higher in women with acne. DHEA-S is produced in the adrenal gland, the same gland that is activated during times of stress.

So what if stress was more intricately related to acne than we previously theorized? Anything that helps mitigate stress would then help with acne symptoms. Eating a low glycemic diet, getting plenty of rest, exercising, and breathing or meditating, would be potentially beneficial options.


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  • flower girl dress lover

    I think stress can definetely give you zits. Stress pretty much makes everyone lives worse. I really don’t think anyone does better under stress. I had a friend who was under so much stress right before she got married she threw up on the flower girl’s dress. It was pretty traumatic for the flower girl but dang funny.

  • flower girl dress lover

    I forgot to add what was funny was she was able to return the flower girl dress to pinkprincess.com. She dry cleaned it and sprayed a whole bunch of fabreeze on it.

  • Darell

    When it comes to acne-relief stress is the most important factor, it effects
    everything from the amount of oil your skin products to how much you sweat.

  • Ashley

    Just saw this blog post, and I wanted to share how stress has influenced my acne. I’ve had difficulty managing stress since I was 14 (I’m 29 now, so that’s 15 years of stress taking its toll on my body). I had two successful rounds of accutane, only to have it come back, and went through a few years of “ok” success with Proactiv. However, I recently started receiving treatment for my anxiety and stress (it was well overdue), and since I have been receiving psychological treatment including anti-anxiety medicines, my acne has improved greatly. Not gone away, but my skin definitely sees fewer break outs.

  • Florentina

    I agree with your article. Stress doesn’t cause acne, but stress can make acne worsen. I have several tips *link edited out*