How much money have you spent to date trying to relive your face or other areas of your body from acne? When women experience breakouts during certain times of their menstrual cycle or teenagers are struck with little craters and bumps from forehead to chin it is typically blamed on hormones. Other times acne is blamed on poor hygiene or cursed genetics, but what if there was something else to it? What if there was a genuine connection between acne and stress?
While it is true that in many cases the causes of acne are in fact normal hormonal fluctuations and excess oil being produced by the glands under the skin. There can also be a variety of other causes that have nothing to do with stress. This fact in no way undermines recent research proving that there is a connection between acne and stress.
While it is hotly debated whether acne and stress have a genuine cause and effect relationship, most would agree today that stress can cause already existing acne conditions to worsen. People who are able to control and limit their acne conditions routinely find that they have worse flare ups that are more difficult to control when they are under a lot of stress in their daily life.
Some people who do not typically suffer from acne have also reported that they have outbreaks when intense stress hits their life. This obviously points in the direction of a very clear connection between acne and stress.
The Stress and Hormone Connection
Two things happen inside the body when you are under intense stress:
1. Adrenal glands produce more norepinephrine, epinephrine and cortisol.
2. Adrenal cortex increases production of male hormones.
These happen to be the same hormones that are responsible for teenagers and pregnant women experiencing the oily skin and seemingly uncontrollable pimples of every shape, size and type. The excess hormones stimulate the sebaceous glands which are located right underneath the skin. These glands begin to put out excess oil which clogs the pores and causes the dreadful whiteheads and blackheads everyone hates.
Since stress stimulates the process of production excess hormones which leads to excess oil production, it is clear that there is a relationship between acne and stress. This is why stress can worsen existing acne conditions and create acne in people who have never previously had a problem with it.
The Stress and Food Connection
Another connection between acne and stress could be found in the way dietary habits change during periods of intense stress. People under a lot of stress typically indulge in more comfort foods which tend to be greasy and loaded with sugar. Since there is a clear connection between the foods that go into the body and the amount and type of acne that comes out of the body, it is very likely that stress could stimulate or worsen acne in this manner as well.
Stress Management = Acne Management?
Now that the connection between acne and stress has been explored and it is understood what happens inside the body to create that connection, it may seem like getting rid of acne is as simple as getting rid of the stress. There are two problems with this reasoning:
1. Completely relieving stress is incredibly hard and for many people is entirely impossible.
2. Since there are many other potential causes of acne, living a completely stress-free life wouldnt necessarily eliminate all acne flare ups for all people.
What should be obvious here is that the connection between acne and stress is not always a connection of cause and effect. Many people suffer from acne regardless of the stress in their life and for them stress is just making the problem even worse. For some people relieving stress can relieve acne, but it doesnt work that way for everyone.
What everyone can do is try to manage stress to ensure that it doesnt intensify an acne condition being caused by other things. Doing this can bring great improvements in an acne condition and will make it a bit easier to manage.
Some methods proven to help relieve stress include:
Performing Pilates, yoga or other forms of exercise that engage the mind and body simultaneously on a regular basis.
Working out in any manner on a consistent basis.
Having someone safe to talk problems through with, rather than eating away your feelings.
If you suffer from acne and believe that stress may be a contributing or worsening factor, make a list of all sources of stress in you life and eliminate as many of them as you can outright. Use exercise, meditation and a healthy eating pattern to help with the remaining stress.