In this article, you will find: Does stress cause acne, why does stress worsen acne, where is stress acne located, and stress acne treatment.

Does Stress Cause Acne?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, stress can worsen acne if it already exists. Studies suggest that when stress increases, the severity of acne intensifies.

Just imagine a scenario. It’s time for your final exam or interview, and you are worried, tired, and under stress. You will observe that your complexion is getting stressed out, and you will notice that your pimples and acne are intensified. To support this, one study published by Stanford University in 2003 stated that college students had acne aggravation during exams because of more stress during exam periods compared to normal periods without exams.

The experts say that if you already have pimples and are going through stressful conditions, you will notice your pimples and acne aggravate.

Most of us link stress with emotions. But you will be surprised to know physical stress can also cause acne aggravation.

It has been found that emotional or physical stress does not cause a new case of acne. But if you already have an acne problem, stress can aggravate the acne and pimple conditions.

Read here all about the causes of acne

How Does Stress Cause Acne Aggravation?

Some recent studies have tried to link the connection between stress and acne aggravation. Dermatologists blame it on the cortisol. When stress hits you, your body releases cortisol. Cortisol causes more sebum (oil) production. The sebum gets mixed up with dead skin cells and acne-forming bacteria, leading to clogged pores, acne cysts, and pimples.

However, the above research is not conclusive yet. Experts are still trying to find out how exactly stress is linked to acne as the root cause, as the root cause may be different than sebum over-production.

Read here how to clear clogged pores

Where is Stress Acne Located?

Stress pimples usually appear in the oiliest areas of the face, such as stress acne on face and stress acne on forehead, nose, and chin. Your T-zone is typically prone to greasier and more congested, too.

How To Know It’s Stress Acne?

If you do not generally break out and then ‘all of a sudden’ begin to notice acne after an intense work or school situation, a stressful event, relationship drama, or lack of sleep, that is usually stress acne. Period pimples or other consistent breakouts are generally not stress-related.

Dermatologists suggest that if you’re getting clusters of pimples all at once, stress is likely a factor – hormonal pimples happen one at a time.

Stress Acne Treatment

The best stress acne treatment is to reduce stress in your life. Identify the cause of stress, then work towards managing it. If you can’t tackle it, seek help.

Start with simple techniques like meditation, yoga, sleeping enough, or any kind of physical and mental exercise.

Exercising is one of the best ways to reduce stress. But do not overdo it, as physical stress can also flare up acne. Meditation and breathing exercises are other excellent ways to reduce stress.

Check this practical guide to stress-free living

But to treat the “stress acne” that has already occurred, reach out to topical treatments such as benzoyl peroxide and retinoids and oral medications like antibiotics or spironolactone. But take prescription medication treatment only after consulting your doctor.


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