Fact or Fiction: Does Stress Really Cause Breakouts?

Fact or Fiction: Does Stress Really Cause Breakouts?

Let's get the basics down first: Acne is a disorder of oil glands and is very commonly seen in adolescence and sometimes in adults.

What causes acne?

When pores get clogged with excessive oil, sebum, bacteria and dead skin cells, it can result in acne which may be seen as blackheads, whiteheads, red inflamed eruptions or even pus-filled ones. Acne is multifactorial and can be influenced by age, stress, hormones and lifestyle choices.

Can stress really cause acne?

While stress does not directly cause acne, it can definitely exacerbate it, resulting in flare ups if you are already acne prone.

What’s the connection between stress and acne?

Sebum production plays a major role in Acne Vulgaris. Emotional or psychological stress triggers the release of a stress hormone called Cortisol, which is the main culprit causing flare ups during stressful life events. As Cortisol levels rise, they disrupt the level of hormones that regulate sebum balance and put them into an overdrive. The overproduction of oil can result in clogged pores along with dead skin cells and bacterial infection/infestation which causes inflammation ultimately resulting in acne. Stress not only triggers acne but also interferes with skin barrier function, delays wound healing, and can cause skin conditions like eczema or rosacea to worsen.

Tips to manage stress related breakouts:

We can’t avoid stress in our day-to-day life, but we can increase our time of relaxing our mind and body. There are multiple ways to de-stress our body like doing yoga, meditation, exercising, going for a walk, listening to music, reducing your screen time and most importantly, getting a good night's sleep. Treating yourself to a spa day is an excellent time out from your daily routine and it helps your body and mind to relax! A little pampering goes a long way.

How to get rid of stress acne?

Besides managing stress levels, stress-induced acne is treated as regular acne. Using products which have:

  1. Salicylic acid - helps remove excess oil and dead skin cells from the surface and prevent clogging of pores.
  2. Benzoyl Peroxide - reduces inflammation and fights bacteria causing acne, commonly found in spot treatments.
  3. Pimple Patches - helps your acne heal faster by absorbing the pus and by reducing inflammation.

So, is it fact or fiction that stress causes acne? For this one, we'll have to call fiction because stress isn't something that directly creates acne and breakouts, it instead can worsen pre-existing acne and breakouts.

Thank you for reading!

This article of the Skinsider Scoop was graciously written by L.M.E. and Dentist, Dr. Pavitra Patel, and edited by the Clean Skin Club team. If you're interested in more from Dr. Pavitra, please shoot us an email, and follow her Instagram - @trueskin.by.pavi