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aussiegirl

Is acne an expression of how we feel about ourselves?

This is probably a silly theory - but I am going to post it anyway and see if it resonates with anyone....

What if acne is an expression of the way we feel about ourselves? It seems so random that some people get acne, despite all the treatments we give ourselves and the extent to which we go to clear it. A lot of my friend eat junk, drink excessively, don't get sufficient sleep, play hard etc... and yet their skin is perfect because they truly "love" themselves and have deep self-confidence.

Yes, it might just be "luck of the draw" and they are not genetically wired to get acne - but I have had a look at the people I know who suffer from acne, and many of them are naturally extremely hard on themselves, don't love themselves or feel that they don't receive acknowledgement for who they are.

This I know in myself - I never got acne when I was in my teens - back then I was confident about who I was, felt that I had a lot going for me, was a model, and continuously received positive feedback about my appearance, and I never suffered from health problems nor skin ailments.

However, as I have grown older, I have become so hard on myself, gone out of my way to be the best person I can be for everyone around me, and in a moment of insight last night, realised that I really don't love myself the way I should. And its now that I get skin ailments which constantly afflict me.

Perhaps there is a rational way of explaining this - the liver is supposedly the harborer of feelings and emotions - so a "congested" liver is one which holds pent-up feelings of disappointment, anxiety, and feelings that we are not good enough. This cycle is continuously repeated as we berate ourselves for having bad skin and we don't feel confident within ourselves.

I have been told that my liver is congested by my doctor - but there is no good "physical" reason as to why this should be. I don't drink, I am a vegetarian, I exercise regularly, and have always been in good physical condition. So what if the reason it is congested is because of emotions and unresolved anxiety and a lack of self-love? I know when I first got my cysts nearly 3 years ago, it was the direct result of wanting to please my family and making myself stressed out through working in the family business and wanting to make them proud of my accomplishments.

Until that point, my hormones were balanced - and I never suffered a day of ill-health. Since that point, and having been in this constant cycle of anxiety about cysts etc, I seem to have gone down a path of ill-health and continual self-doubt, and my skin has never really been clear since. My hormones are way out of whack - my cortisol is high, and both my testosterone and estrogen levels are constantly high, and I always feel like I am on the edge of tears.

I am sure there will be a heap of objections to this theory - but perhaps its something worth thinking about?

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It is an interesting theory, although personally i don't think this is the case as I have known people who have suffered from terrible depression without a blemish on their skin. I think for some people feeling bad about themselves can trigger other things that may lead to acne such as picking at blemishes or binge/comfort eating (if you believe the diet/acne link which I do).

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I have gone to a counsellor and she totally believes in this theory. She feels that the acne is a form of karma and I need to tackle my emotions and only then will my acne resolve itself. The anxiety and depression is just carry over from another lifetime. I tell her that the anxiety is the result of the acne and not the acne a result of the anxiety and lack of confidence or whatever it may be. An interesting theory and one that is ever more depressing to think about.

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I don't think its a depressing theory - yes, having the faith and love in yourself is sometimes hard to do, especially when we are used to criticising ourselves and not feeling confident. But I think self-esteem can be easy to tackle once its acknowledged.

I have absolutely no doubt I have ruined my health over the past few years through self-doubt, and perhaps its the result of all the emotion-suppressing and lack of faith in myself that has led to my body becoming fairly toxic and needing to push these toxins through to the skin.

I agree that diet plays a key role - but there seems like there is something more at play here. As I mentioned, I am vegetarian (I very occasionally eat fish), non-drinker, don't eat gluten or dairy, and yet I STILL get skin eruptions, particularly if I am under stress.

Maybe part of the acne healing process is by acknowledging the great things about ourselves, which would assist in relaxation, anxiety, and allow our bodies to function properly.

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Stress can definitely trigger acne in some people but I personally wouldn't go as far as to say that, if I feel as happy as a clam that I am going to clear up completely. It may be that way for some people but usually acne is an inherited defect in the pores. I DO believe that stress and your emotional state can play a role though.

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It's all connected cause when I'm healthy, my skin is healthy, my mood is super and I feel confident, optimist and glad to deal with life problems, and people notice this and feel confident and optimist around me.

When I'm unhealthy, my skin is terrible, my mood is even worse and I'm pessimist, angry and irritable, dealing with problems seems the hardest thing in the world and I end up asking for a life without problems (not someting I'd want when I feel healthy and ready to "play" this game which is life, without compromises) and people react accordingly being angry, depressed and even annoying and judgemental around me.

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in my experience no this was not the case

the period just before i started getting acne was the best of my life

my diet is a whole lot beter than it was then thought thats for sure

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more than one person has said this to me, maybe my emotions triggered my acne.

i always had acne in highschool and into college, but it seemed to be getting better after i graduated, then right as my boyfriend and I were ending my acne changed, became cystic (on my cheeks, was always on my forehead), increased oil, clogged pores, etc.

it took three years after that to figure out that this acne was caused by food intolerances.

funny that it also took me this whole time to get completely over it and want to date someone else, although the acne was more of the #1 thing keeping me from wanting to meet anyone.

maybe the breakup triggered the food intolerances and the food intolerances triggered the acne. or i always had the intolerances, even in high school and built up inflammation in my body and then it finally came out.

all i know is i figured it out, whatever it is, and now it's under control. finally.

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Hey Danny, just to clarify, when you say 'healthy' do you mean feeling good in your self, not being ill etc or do you mean actually doing things that would be considered healthy, such as eating a balanced diet, exercising, sleeping well?

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Aussie Girl,

This is a good post and I really identify with it. I can't say whether or not it's true, but it's a good theory nonetheless. I've often heard that you liver holds every emotion, past and present, and if it's not working optimally, all those emotions hang on and never exit the body. Moreover, I am the exact same personality type as you - I'm excessively hard on myself and I've only recently come to the conclusion (like you) that I don't really love myself the way I should. I always seem to find a way to focus on the things I like least about myself rather than the things I like most. This cannot be good for acne. And when I'm stressed, like I've been the last 5 months, my acne goes from something that's very manageable to out of control no matter what I do. I've been going through a very rough few months - my 9-year marriage is most likely going to come to an end, I feel constant guilt and shame over it, and I have two small children that I want to keep happy and stable. This balancing act, along with keeping things smooth at work, with friends, with family, etc. has been a heavy load to bear. Waking up each morning only to find more and more acne only leads you down an even more negative path. And in some twisted, sadistic way, it's as if acne helps you confirm what you've been afraid of all along: you're not good enough, not attractive enough, not deserving enough, etc. It's quite vicious.

I'm more inclined to believe that there's a gene we all received that makes us susceptible to acne; however, I also believe that it gets regulated by our current circumstances, and more importantly, how we FEEL about them.

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Just wondering if anyone has tried the Emotional Freedom Technique? I just had it done, and I went there to try to clear some feelings of self-doubt, and the question posed to me by the practitioner was "do I feel anger?" My initial response was no - I don't think I have ever felt real anger.

But yet, after doing the EFT I realised that in fact it probably is anger I am feeling, but that I feel it in terms of shame and guilt, because I never want to feel as though I am angry towards someone or something. He said one of the main things that the liver does is harbour anger and guilt, and that unless it is resolved, the liver doesn't function the way it should.

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its similar to what ive been thinking lately, but basically related to stress from lack of security or high anxiety.

Not neccessarily depression although all thouse mental afflictions are very closely related, i suspect that the emotions create a definite chemical environment in our bodys, we feel different and not normal, and this has health effects, perhaps leading to acne?

although i believe genetics are much more likely, i at least think by improving your mood and encouraging a feeling that everything is going to be all right and learn to relax yourself at will, then your acne can be improved.

how would any scientist study exactly what emotions can do to the body, its hard to measure what someone is feeling, how do you measure something like that, aside from asking the person how they feel, well i guess that wouldnt be that hard, but there should be many more studies done regarding emotions and their health effects.

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I have no personal objection to this theory, as it does make a lot of sense no doubt. The question is, is it possible to feel better about yourself while you suffer from such a terrible defect? I would like to think so, but I've tried this and the only way I can ignore it is by not looking in the mirror if I don't have to and totally not caring about what other people think or how my life turns out. After a while I found out this is nothing more than just another form of depression, another way to contain sad emotions.

I hope this helps some people, I can say for sure the only things that help me is this, Accutane and the hope that in the morning I will wake up with just slightly clearer skin. And for those doubters that this isn't true, when you get down to the raw chemistry of how the body works this actually makes more sense. All emotions are caused from chemical reactions in the brain and all choices such as how much insulin to produce, how much oil to produce, horomone levels these are all decisions the brain makes everyday.

So by eating healthy, finding what works for you, not picking or scratching and overall feeling good about yourself I'm sure everyone can achieve clear skin eventually. I'm 15 I have moderate - severe acne on face. Severe on back. Mild on chest and overall a hard time dealing with acne.

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