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Could Stress Make Acne Worse?

  • Posted on: Aug 15 2020
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Acne is a problematic condition that can linger long past our adolescent years. Some people sail through early adulthood only to struggle with acne during their twenties or thirties. In any situation, one of the challenges of managing healthy skin is identifying potential triggers. Some believe that what they eat affects whether or not they experience flare-ups in their skin. Some believe that hormones are at play. Some wonder if stress could be the cause of their breakouts. Here, we explore that potential.

While there is no solid scientific evidence to confirm that acne is caused by stress, there are indications that the two are related. When we are stressed, the body produces particular chemicals and hormones. For those who are prone to pimples and skin inflammation, these chemicals and hormones could be the precursor to unnecessary flare-ups.

Acne is a condition that can result in blocked pores, pimples, cysts, and blackheads. These problems aren’t limited to the face. We also see breakouts occur on the neck, back, shoulders, and chest. Breakouts usually occur due to a combination of factors, including the production of androgens and cortisol in the endocrine system. When there is an overabundance of these hormones, the production of sebum increases. Sebum is an oily substance made in the skin’s immune system as a way of protecting it from outside influences. However, sebum is attractive to a type of bacterium that lives on the skin. The bacterium Propionibacterium acnes prompts an immune response in the skin. This involves the secretion of an enzyme that could damage the walls of hair follicles, causing an inflammatory reaction.

As you can see, the body doesn’t go from stress to breakout in one fell swoop. There is a process of chemical secretions and reactions both in the body and in the skin. Ultimately, the result is unwanted pimples, spots, and or cysts.

Is Stress Management the Answer?

Let’s be honest, we could all benefit from a little stress-management practice these days. However, could that help the person with acne-prone skin even more than the Average Joe? Perhaps. In addition to secreting specific chemicals during times of stress, we may also engage more fervently in stress-driven habits, such as drinking more caffeine or alcohol. We may reach for comfort foods, or we may become too overwhelmed to maintain our regular skincare habits.

Learning to manage stress is one way to help acne-prone skin. However, this is rarely enough for the person who experiences regular breakouts. If you feel as though you have pimples and other skin problems more often than not, schedule a dermatology appointment. Treatments such as TheraClear, available in our Manhattan office, provide significant benefits for acne-sufferers who want to stop suffering.

Clear skin isn’t a given, but it’s a possibility. Contact us at 212.391.8600 to schedule your consultation to discuss the right acne treatment for you.

Posted in: Acne Treatment

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NYC Dermatologists
130 W 42nd St #1900 | New York, NY 10036
Hours: Monday – Friday: 7:30AM – 8PM
T. 212.391.8600 | F. 212.391.8601