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Does Stress Cause Acne? Tips to Get Rid of It

Posted By: Lic. Silvia Derasner | March 4th, 2019 | Blog

Did you know that the effects of stress linger long after you feel relieved? Stress contributes to all kinds of health problems, and can make us feel like we are dragging through life. If you’ve gone through a stressful period of time, you may notice the effects appearing on your skin. Does stress cause acne? It sure does, but how? What does stress acne look like? Here’s what you need to know about how stress affects acne, and where you can get an effective solution to clear up your skin.

Stress and Acne


What Is Stress Acne?

Dermatologists and scientists have spent years trying to figure out how stress and acne are linked, and although the correlation has not been proven in a lab, human experience seems to offer all the proof we need. The phenomenon known as stress acne is a skin condition where pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads appear in areas of the skin that have a higher production of sebum (the skin’s natural oils). The overproduction of sebum has, however, been linked to stress hormones. When this oil combines with dead skin cells, bacteria, and other dirt, the skin and hair follicles can get clogged, leading to pimples.

How Does Stress Acne Develop?

The connection between stress and acne is all about the hormones. If you’ve ever broken out right before a big presentation, date, wedding, or performance review, it’s all because of the way stress affects your hormones. Stress does not directly cause acne, but it can exacerbate it, especially if you are already prone to breakouts. Acne is caused when hormones are released during times of stress, like puberty, or big life changes. This hormonal change increases inflammation and can cause your skin to do all kinds of strange things. Here’s how it breaks down:

  1. At the first sign of stress, your skin goes into defense mode by producing hormones like cortisol, adrenal androgens, and neuropeptides.
  2. The production of these hormones triggers and inflames the sebaceous glands in the skin.
  3. When dirt and sebum clog the pores, acne is the result.

How to Get Rid of Stress Acne?

Have a Skincare Routine

The first step you can take to prevent stress acne is to maintain a skincare routine. It’s easy to forget the basics of your routine when you’re stressed, but maintaining your process will prevent those unsightly flare ups. Remember to wash your face in the morning and before bed using a gentle cleanser, and use SPF face lotion when you go outside. Exfoliate your skin with a gentle scrub at least once a week to remove any excess dirt, dead skin, and bacteria from your skin, and use a daily moisturizer right after. You can also use cleansers that have acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or niacinamide.

Learn to Relax

Easier said than done, right? It may not be as simple as we’d like to learn how to slow down and take time to relax, especially with busy careers, social lives, and family responsibilities. However, when things feel like they’re spiraling out of control, take some time to do something that helps you centre your mind and slow down. Add yoga classes to your routine, exercise, meditate, or take a bubble bath. Getting enough sleep every night and sleeping on a schedule at least five days a week will make a huge difference in how you feel and in how your skin looks.

Change Your Diet

There are many professionals in the health and fitness industry that stress how important diet is to good skin. Heating high glycemic foods like pasta, bread, or pizza, won’t help your acne go away. Instead, substitute these items for foods like sweet potatoes, lentils, and fresh green vegetables, which are lower on the glycemic index. If you tend to snack on chocolate, candy, and chips when you’re stressed, you may want to choose a healthier snack to prevent more flare ups. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a fresh mango or pineapple, and enjoy whole grain salsa chips and homemade tomato dip instead of downing a bag of Doritos.

Avoid Touching Your Face

One of the habits many people do when they’re stressed is touch or pick at their skin. These bad habits are an easy way to make acne far worse! Your hands carry bacteria, so when you touch your face, you’re putting those germs on your skin. Also, picking at pimples worsens the situation, and will lead to scars on your skin. It’s better to keep your hands away from your face and only touch your skin after you have thoroughly washed your hands.

How Anti Aging Toronto Clinic Can Help Treat Acne?

Are you struggling with stress-related acne from childhood or acne that has recently flared up? There is an effective treatment that clears up your skin and paves the way for healthier, more vibrant skin. The Spectra Peel treatment is the solution to stubborn acne. It can be used in the early stages of acne flare ups to prevent future breakouts and scars from occurring. It targets deep within the skin and reduces the chances of scars forming from acne. It treats all four stages of acne, from mild to moderate, and controls the production of sebum. This safe procedure is available now, so if you’re ready to restore your confidence and skin’s beauty, we can help.

At the Anti Aging Toronto Clinic, we pride ourselves on using the latest clinical methods to give our patients the best anti-aging, body care, and fat loss treatment options. We support our clients’ ability to make informed decisions about their skin rejuvenation, and we are proud to provide some of the best treatments and practitioners in Toronto. Contact us by phone at (416) 546-4664 or by e-mail at info@AntiAgingToronto.ca to ask any questions. Our skincare specialists can also offer you a tour of our Toronto facilities.

With an MBA in computer science, Silvia started out in the IT field with proven success working on strategic initiatives with executive leaders to align an organization’s culture, capabilities, and structure, with business strategies. This career has lead her to a business path founding the Anti Aging Toronto Clinic in 2012. Silvia now holds a diploma in medical esthetics with interests in anti-aging skincare, evening out skin tone and texture, scalp hair regrowth, body contouring and laser hair removal treatments. Silvia believes in the importance of building open, trusting relationships with her clients and prides herself on excellent customer service. Whether it’s developing the business or awarding her clients with significant results, Silvia is committed to offering only the best. Silvia is the finance director and a medical esthetician at Anti Aging Toronto Clinic. She is fluent in both English and Spanish.

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