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Any Tips For Stress Related Cysts/nodules?

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Hi there!

I have cystic and nodular acne almost exclusively. I don't usually have multiples of them at all times (knock on wood), though I usually get a really deep cyst or two at least every other month (though this varies from time to time). Though, whenever I am afflicted with high ammounts of stress, without fail I almost always end up with multiple (at least three to four, or sometimes more) deep cysts on my forehead accompanied with a couple of nodules along my hairline as well. I was curious if anyone has found anything that helps prevent acne from popping up during stressful times. Of course I am not expecting complete elimination. Just hoping that maybe something will make it less severe from time to time?

Also, another question relating to stress/hormonal breakouts: I have heard that when you breakout on the bottom half of your face it means that the acne is hormonal and if you breakout on the top half of your face it is stress related. Is this true or just a myth?

If someone could answer either of these questions, or both I would really appriciate it. Thanks for taking the time to read!

Edited by Aleece
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Myth. Almost all acne is due to hormones, specifically androgens. Only exception are conditions such as rosacea, folliculitus, etc., which are caused by other factors. I too only get 1-2 deep cysts at a time and they always come in multiples or a really huge one if I'm stressed. My most stressful activity is traveling. Dread visiting people and then having to deal with a huge red infected cyst. So embarrassing. My way of coping for a very long time was to beg my derm for antibiotics to take when traveling. Bactrim works like a charm at preventing cysts. I don't care about the small stuff --- just the big painful obvious things. But my derm won't do that anymore so we've ramped up my treatment regime in an effort to stop the cysts from happening at all. We'll see...

Stress can aggravate already plugged up pores by causing the hormone cortisol to spike which in turn releases more androgens. The androgens cause excess sebum which plugs up the pores even more and bacteria sets in causing deep cysts. That's why cysts can be worse or more of them during times of stress.

So the idea is to de-stress. Easier said than done! I do yoga, positive self-talk, do posting here, talk with sympathetic friends, eat well, drink tons of water and try to take a brisk walk every day. All of this is to help calm my system down. I think it helps but if your pores are too easily plugged up then it won't help eneough. You have to do more to help your pores stay clear all the time so when stressful times happen the extra sebum can easily be expelled. That's why daily BP or retin-a is recommended. Both of these are proven to help keep pores clear. A topical antibiotic can also help kill acne bacteria and will make the cysts less inflamed. I am using Cleocin-T.

Sometimes it takes a really intensive treatment regime. See my regime below...insane. But my derm is determined to get my skin to where I don't have to take oral antibiotics. He has put me on Oracea which is a low dose doxy that only lowers inflammation and does not have any antibacterial properties. This is how I am getting off of antibiotics.

Hope this helps. But I can totally empathize...it is frustrating! Stress happens --- it is part of life. It's so unfair to have to be dealing with stress and acne at the same time. Totally depressing.

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Yes, your post was helpful. I actually think my acne has been getting worse recently. I have been going through a lot of different changes in my life, causing stress to my system. I also think my skin is changing too, It's becoming different from the way it used to be. I think I need to find a new method of skincare and be a bit more strict about keeping on it. I think it's great too that you mentioned the emotional de-stressers as well. I should probably start to at least stretch and have a 10 minute calming time. Your skin problems seem to be similar to mine I will look into your posted routine. Thanks for responding to my question! :)

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Sounds like me as well. I stopped Minocycline in December (was on it for 5 years)... and I've only gotten 1 or 2 cysts since then. I started using 20% salicylic acid (found on amazon) every 5 days to exfoliate. I use a glycolic acid face wash and bp every night. I've added 50mg of zinc daily. So far so good.

When I'm really anxious or upset, I try to breath really deeply to calm myself. Exercise helps everything as does eating well. Yoga is wonderful.

Edited by Rachelx7
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