Could Stress be causing your Acne?

Ever noticed how your acne gets worse exactly around the time of an important function or an exam, interview or a social gathering? But what exactly triggers sudden acne breakouts?

The reason behind sudden acne breakouts can be ‘stress’. While the opinion on this issue is divided amongst researchers and naturopaths, we will look at some of the possible contributing factors.

Stress or emotional outbursts can affect acne in two ways:

  • By stimulating Adrenal glands to produce more hormones
  • By slowing down the healing process

Adrenal glands located above the kidneys tend to ooze Norephinephrine and Epinephrine, also known as the stress hormones while the adrenal-cortex secretes male-hormones. Together they lead to an unhealthy increase in the overall hormone levels in the body. This further stimulates other processes in the body which may include sebaceous glands to produce extra sebum contributing to acne.

And this is not all. Stress triggers the secretion of Cortisol, which is a steroid that contributes to excess sebum secretion. This in turn leads to formation of pus-filled papules and painful acne. Thus Stress creates a vicious circle, where one thing leads to another and finally you have to bear the end result in the form of acne and pimples.

So although stress might not be the root cause of your acne it is certainly not going to help your situation and if you have a predisposition to breakouts it is possible that stress could act as a trigger. Some other ways stress and anxiety can impact on your skin are:

  • Increase the production of sebum, giving the skin a greasy appearance and making it more prone to acne, pimples and other bacterial infections
  • Leads to pale, lifeless and dull skin
  • Contributes to dark circles and skin pigmentation
  • Makes the skin more susceptible to free radical damage leading to appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
  • Excess amounts of cortisol in the blood can increase inflammation in the body including in the skin, prolonging breakouts and scarring.
  • Stress increases the demand on essential vitamins and minerals in the body, this extra demand caused by stress can really take away from the skin and slow the healing process.

Latest studies on Stress and Acne revealed that excessive stress or emotional triggers can not only lead to acne formation but can make them worse. Therefore the best home remedies for acne would include reducing stress levels and maintaining a relaxed and positive state of mind.

Here are a few strategies that can be implemented to control stress-related acne breakouts -

1) Take a break from your busy schedule and spend time with your family or friends

2) Watch comedy shows or movies that can take your mind away from the pressures of work or personal life

3) Exercise regularly. Exercising for just 30-35 minutes daily can regulate hormonal activity and reduce overall stress levels.

4) Practice Yoga and deep breathing exercises regularly. This calms the mind and keeps your emotions under control while providing relief from other stress-related health problems.

5) Maintain good hygiene. Wash your face with an anti-bacterial, hypoallergenic cleanser. Keep your skin clean and dry. Just this step can go a long way to prevent acne

6) Include more green vegetables and fruits in your daily diet, as they are rich in antioxidants and skin-friendly nutrients. A proper Acne Diet treats the condition internally, reducing toxic load and the incidence of breakouts.

7) Drink plenty of water as it helps in flushing away the toxins, controls oil secretion and keeps your skin hydrated

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