Jump to content
Search In
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Presentation To Do, Stress Making Acne Worse

Recommended Posts

Hi guys. I'm new, as you can see. I hate talking about my acne but thought it would be about time I get it out and see if theres anyone or anything that can make me feel better.

I've had acne from around 14.

It's always been on my back, it started mild but then got a lot worse to the point of physical pain if someone just patted me on the back/couldn't wear white shirts because of blood etc etc. While it was bad on my back my face was relatively clear until about 16 where it started getting slowly worse.

I've always ignored my back, out of sight out of mind and to a point my face, hoping It would get out of it.

So at around 16/17 I was on oxytetrocycline (Sp?) and it worked for a bit but I was also taking it over the summer and I believe it was more to do with the sun than the medication. As I went into winter it started going back to normal, and being a hypercondriac I wasn't a fan of taking medications over a year so pulled my self off them.

Now at around 17/18 another summer came and my face and back improved and then back into winter same thing. Apart from my back was at it's worse.

At 20 I decided to go back to thee doctors, as I was at uni meeting new people and the acne on my face was making me socially awkward.

I'm now on Tetracyl and have been for nearly a year. It's really cleaned up my back and I can't believe how clear it is minus all the red marks and scarring.

Now my face has been up and down, it seems to be different to my back as it's more pimples and white heads/red patchy etc. seems like the Tetracyl hasn't touched my face.

My face isn't serious by any means, I've seen much worse than myself so sometimes feel guilty about feeling rubbish when there are others in a worse situation. It's just for me I've always been a nervous person, I've always struggled to look people in the eye when in conversation. This has happened since a young age where I've had anxiety attacks and depression. Now all this has improved, I've started going gym for the past year, seen a lot of improvement in my health and physic and I eat very clean. All this has stemmed from my skin, like others, trying everything to get clear skin.

Now when my skin is bad on my face, I feel like a lesser person, I feel degraded and that people take pity on me. Being at uni surrounded by people just makes it worse, it makes be a different person and probably less friendly.

I've been given some creams like Isotrex but I haven't used them because of the fear of drying out my face, premature ageing redness etc.

I've got a presentation on Thursday for uni project. My last presentation went horrible, broke down half way through, anxiety built up having people stare at me just made my brain an voice box disconnect and I made no sense at all. My skin was actually clear as well.

Now my face is a complete mess, and I can't bare going through the embarrassment of messing up again and everyone looking at my face.

I've always been a stressy person and when I'm stressed my skin gets terrible, so I'm worried that the acne on my face will be here forever.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Stirling

Acne can be so awful...emotionally especially. And when it happens on your face it's even worse because that's where everyone looks. I can empathize. I've dealt with acne on my face my whole adult life and I'm old now. Sometimes meds clear it up and sometimes they don't. I'm on a regime (below) that has cleared up almost all of it (I had horrid cystic acne before) but I still get 1-2 small inflammed whiteheads on my cheeks that my derm thinks is rosacea.

You're still young so hopefully you'll outgrow it. My son outgrew the worst of his acne in his mid-20's but he still gets a pimple here and there and he's in his 30's now.

I'm sharing this because I want to give you some thoughts about how to handle your acne. Like I said hopefully you will outgrow yours but if you're unlucky and keep on having it...just remember that life goes on. It does. And you can decide if you want it to cripple you or if you'll just get on with life.

I'm also a "stressy" person. This is mostly due to never knowing how my skin is going to look. From what you say, I think my skin was much worse than yours but even now that it's better I stress over even tiny whiteheads thinking they're going to blossom into full-face acne like I had before (terrifying). This may be happening to you because of how your back was...and now your face is breaking out. The mind goes into "what if" mode and worry sets in.

Despite how awful my skin was I went ahead and did presentations...rose to the top of my career and was head of a large department. Did I say my skin was awful? It was. I had cystic acne like you had on your back. I was on meds that helped. I took accutane twice. I got glimpses of how life could be for people with clear skin --- never having to worry. But that was short-lived and I was back to the usual inflammed face. Yet despite all this I made friends. I gave seminars. And being a woman it was even harder because all the magazines show perfectly clear skin and give advice...like as if if you still have acne you must not be washing your face or doing the right thing. Very embarrasing. But I went on and lived life...married, had kids, and now am still in a very public job.

Since I've been dealing with acne for so long I'm sure I have "Acne PTSD" (post-traumatic stress disorder). It takes very little to trigger my feelings of shame regarding my skin and also feelings of panic. I know what it is. And it sounds like you are beginning to develop some of that because your facial acne is not that bad and yet you are feeling ashamed and poorly about yourself and it is getting in the way of living life fully.

My recommendation is that you talk with a counselor about this. Be honest with the counselor and talk about how your acne is affecting you, especially when you have to give presentations. It will help! Besides dealing with the self-image issue it will also help you in feeling better about presentations.

Talking with friends might help but a therapist or professional counselor is trained to help with this kind of issue...and to help you cope better.

Here's two other scenarios of people I know who have coped much more successfully with acne than I have. One is my son who had horrid acne...much worse than yours and even mine. He got over the worst of it with age but was still breaking out. He purposely decided to ignore it emotionally. He uses some acne products (tea tree shampoos and body wash, salicylic acid facial wash, etc.) but doesn't freak out when he breaks out...he just goes on with his life. He travels, got his master's degree and is now a therapist. He once told me that he just accepts it as part of who he is and when he breaks out he just goes ahead with life.

The other person is my nephew who is in his early 20's. He is still coping with horrid cystic acne. He is on meds but they just clear it up a little bit. I saw him yesterday. He had inflammed acne all over the side of his face and some lesions on the front. He leaves it alone...ignores it and goes on with life. Funny thing is I noticed it for a few minutes and then forgot he had it. He was smiling, happy and fully engaged with everyone. He has a beautiful girlfriend (clear skin) who adores him. Here's this guy with terrible acne but he's not letting it get in the way of his life. I'm sure he's bothered by it but he's not going to let it stop him from living fully.

Honestly, I am still crippled by my acne at times but then I remember that it is all in my head. Yes, this is a horrid disease...but it is just a disease like other diseases. We cope, we go on, we find ways to feel better even in the worst of it.

Hopefully you will get lots of support here. You can private message me if you want. You will be okay!

Link to post
Share on other sites

i totally get that! its my first year in the dorms and its so hard to be around people all the time when you feel like youre not looking your best.

i think stress can have to do with it in a hormonal sense, i definitely feel like my acne is mainly hormonal, and when im stressed i do notice more zits. or it could be that when im feeling carefree i dont overanalyze my face or something

as for the presentation, can you try to memorize your speech, word for word? ive never broken down during a presentation, but i stutter a lot and i usually feel better if ive practiced exactly what im going to say so i really know my stuff when im talking. but good luck, kill that presentation!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Stress is definitely a huge trigger for my adult acne as well. I find that meditation and deep breathing exercises every night has really helped my skin. For presentation fears, the absolute BEST medication that you can take is inderal. It is a beta blocker and will stop all physical symptoms of anxiety. No shaking, no racing heart, NOTHING. While you may feel scared and nervous in your head, your body will show no symptoms and this is sure to make it so much easier. Just having it on hand should also help you be less stressed leading up to the presentation as you know it will help get you through it much easier.

Check out this government study on stress and acne




Patients with acne may experience worsening of the disease during examinations. Furthermore, changes in acne severity correlate highly with increasing stress, suggesting that emotional stress from external sources may have a significant influence on acne."

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Personalized Advice Quiz - All of Acne.org in just a few minutes