The Underlying
Stress And Acne Connection

Recent studies on stress and acne confirm what sufferers have long acknowledged about their unhealthy skin eruptions - that there’s a definite link between stress and a skin breakout or having one worsen.

stress and skin

We already know that bodily functions are very closely related to human emotions. Just as there’s the mind body connection, a mind-skin connection exists.

Stress effects body chemistry and those stress hormones can create disturbances throughout your entire body, inside and out.

Understanding what types of stress may be affecting your skin outbreaks will help you make better decisions in controlling your acne skin condition.

Stress and Acne Prone Skin: Heredity

A physical symptom of stress will often target a genetic vulnerability you were born with. People generally have an inherited pathway for disease or a predisposition for weakness in a particular organ.

(Remember… your skin is the largest organ of the human body…)

Some people dealing with a high-pressured lifestyle are prone to hypertension. Some get migraines or ulcers. You may get acne vulgaris because your skin is your target organ.

What Causes Acne?

The exact root cause of acne is still debated and more research is needed. But psychologically speaking, stress and acne are proving to go hand in hand.

However, any “stressful condition” on the human body that upsets the delicate balance of homeostasis can be a contributing factor in the development of acne. stress and acne

Your diseased skin may serve as a window that something else is wrong—somewhere—indicating perhaps a stressed and compromised immune system!

Top offenders can be: Diet, hormone imbalances, allergies, medications, pollutants, toxins—and so on.

What is agreed upon in the medical field is the formation of acne resulting from clogged pores.

Each hair shaft and follicle is associated with the oily lubricant, sebum. This substance is oftentimes overproduced by the surrounding sebaceous glands and can get trapped from the accumulation of dead skin cells. Skin bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes) within the blocked pores leads to inflammation.

Types of acne: Whiteheads, blackheads, and/or acne nodules or pustules (a more severe inflammatory skin lesion), mostly occur where there is the densest number of sebaceous oil glands. The most prominent of these areas result with acne on the face and neck. But, acne on the body can frequently affect the upper chest, shoulders, or on the back.

Controlling oily skin is key!

Stress, Hormones and Acne

Stress stimulates the release of the adrenal hormones that boosts the oil production known to worsen acne. But other hormonal imbalances may increase oil too.

Introduction of the androgen sex hormones during adolescence is one.

Puberty and acne is a challenge for most teenagers. And stress… well just dealing with these sudden emotional and physical changes compound the problem.

Scientific studies on stress and acne reveal, “Changes in acne severity correlate highly with increasing stress, suggesting that emotional stress from external sources may have a significant influence on acne.

There is also research suggesting that stress changes the composition of the sebaceous lipids, which induce inflammation.

Women in particular may be sensitive to the hormonal fluctuations of their menstrual cycle or menopause. The related emotional mood swings, depression or anxiety, can also trigger a stress response and bring about a possible inflammatory acne problem.

Diet And Acne

diet and acne Food choices that are not nutritionally sound for the optimum health of your body puts undo strain on your immune system!

Many researchers support the idea that a Western diet is to blame.

Refined carbohydrates and sugar-laden foods are toxic to your system and will cause surges in both glucose and insulin.

This generates more of the androgen male hormones… produces excess oil… accelerates the skin cells (keratinaocytes) to multiply… all, of which contribute to trapped oil in the skin pores and inflammation.

Stress and acne can result from dietary AND emotional factors, and it’s very likely one is perpetuating the other.

Recommended foods to eliminate are sodas, sweetened juices, breads, potatoes, corn, grains and cereals, in addition to sweets and sugars of all kinds.

And another thing… acne and chocolate are not the problem. The real culprit is SUGAR! Consume a diet loaded with sugar… and acne pimples will be almost guaranteed! (…Be wary that in the body simple carbs convert to—you guessed it—sugar!)

Practice eating a low-glycemic, gluten-free diet consisting of: fresh vegetables, some raw fruits and lean proteins. See if a diet geared for acne prevention doesn’t help and improve your overall health as well.

Skin and the Immune System

Inflammation of the skin occurs because the immune system is defending your body against the bacteria and irritating compounds. This action produces white blood cells and antibodies in order to heal.

A skin infection is characterized by warm, tender swelling and red inflamed skin.

One critical aspect of the skin’s function is—healing wounds. This miraculous ability for the body to heal itself is suppressed up to 40% from stress.

Just about every disease we encounter can be made worse by stress… And acne being a skin disease is vulnerable to it!

Physiological Effects of Stress and Acne:


Unfortunately, a social stigma exists for those troubled with the unsightly skin lesions, residual facial acne scars and pitted skin of chronic eruptions. The emotional effects of stress involved can be far-reaching and very damaging to any individual.

A new field of 'psychodermatology’ and ‘hypnodermatology’ may prove helpful with their alternative approach in treatment.

It combines medication, cognitive behavioral counseling, relaxation therapy, massage and more to alleviate stress and acne. Part of the problem is dealing with the mental issues of self-esteem, anxiety and depression… something they claim is long overdue.

How To Get Rid Of Acne?

To acquire acne-free skin, it’s critical to avoid stress and strengthen your immune system as much as possible.

Consider both nutrition and stress relief techniques (like yoga or massage) to effectively cope with an acne skin disorder. Get enough quality sleep and regular exercise to build up your immune system.

Exposure to sunlight also has an anti-inflammatory effect.

Adopt a strategy using these basic elements to improve your stress and acne—together! Everyone is unique and depending on your particular circumstances it’s important that you find a method that works best for you.

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