Stress And Acne: How To Treat It
Wednesday 3rd November is National Stress Awareness Day 2021 and you’ll likely know all too well that when you’re feeling a bit frazzled, it shows on your skin. Research has shown that stress can cause acne by triggering hormonal changes and that the severity of the acne caused by stress directly correlates to the severity of the stress itself...
Why does stress cause acne?
When you get stressed, the body reacts by going into a state of ‘fight or flight’ and elevating certain hormones, such as cortisol. When cortisol levels increase, they disrupt levels of other hormones that regulate sebum balance. Consequently, pores get clogged and acne develops. Research has shown that cortisol is key in causing stress acne on face, neck, back, and other body parts.
Another link between stress and acne is a hormone called CRH, or corticotrophin-releasing hormone. CRH is a stress-related hormones that binds to receptors in the skin’s sebaceous glands, making the skin oilier and ultimately causing acne.
A third link between stress and pimples comes from the fact that acne is hugely influenced by inflammation and stress causes inflammatory mediators in the skin to increase.
Who does stress acne typically affect?
Acne caused by stress commonly occurs in people who have a recent or past history of acne or problem skin. In recent years, there has also been an increase in the number of adult women with acne and a study has suggested that the reason for this is because of the link between stress and acne.
5 ways to de-stress on National Stress Awareness Day 2021
Practice a proven stress reduction technique such as mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or journaling.
Get moving. It doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous; you’ll feel the benefit just from going for a 15-minute walk in the fresh air.
Connect with friends and family. Try to see people if possible; if it’s not possible to see them then pick up the phone and speak to them.
Cut down the amount of time you spend online. Set timeframes in which you can check social media and emails; and stick to them.
Switch off. Schedule in some genuine ‘me-time’ to do exactly what makes you feel calm and relaxed. Make this a regular thing.
Best products to treat acne caused by stress
Recommended by Vogue, Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream is a soothing choice for anyone suffering from stress and pimples that can be a consequence of it. Particularly good for oily and acne-prone skin, Midnight Blue Calming Cream contains Guaiazulene, an active well known for its soothing effect. The moisturising cream is also effective at calming redness, inflammation, and irritation.
Remove acne from your list of worries on National Stress Awareness Day 2021, with Hydropeptide Spot Correction – Acne Eliminating Treatment’s unique custom blend of niacinamide, lactic acid, peptides and sulphur, which kills acne-causing bacteria and cell turnover to speed healing. Unlike many spot treatments, this serum won't dry out the treated areas, meaning less stress and better skin all-round.
Perfect for sufferers of stress acne on face, neck, back, or other body parts, Mesoestetic Acne One Treatment Cream is a daily use treatment that has been specifically formulated for acne-prone skin. The dermatologically developed treatment unblocks clogged pores, slows down the production of sebum, inhibits the growth of acne-causing bacteria, and reduces post-inflammatory pigmentation.
Whilst there’s no getting away from the fact that stress can cause acne, the good news is that Image Skincare’s Clear Cell Clarifying Masque can eliminate even the toughest acne lesions in just one application. The AHA/BHA blended acne masque immediately draws out impurities and excess oil, reducing redness and drying up lesions overnight. It can also be used as a spot treatment.
This two-in-one spot treatment from Dermalogica is ideal for anyone suffering from stress and acne as it both reduces the appearance of active breakouts and post-breakout marks. Age Bright Spot Fader contains salicylic acid, which works to clear breakouts, while niacinamide and hexylresorcinol work together to fade post-breakout marks. Age Bright Spot Fader also contains AGE Bright Complex, which reduces visible signs of skin ageing.
Awarded best face peel in the W.ICONS Beauty Awards 2021, Oskia’s Liquid Mask is a perfect pick for National Stress Awareness Day 2021 as it contains niacinamide (vitamin B3) which helps to reduce skin congestion and appearance of blemishes and pores, boost skin immunity, and even skin tone. It also contains 10% lactic acid, a gentle yet powerful exfoliator, and hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin.
Of great benefit to those suffering from acne caused by stress, the vibrations of the A.KAY.A Beauty Wand help with the absorption of your skin creams and serums. The Beauty Wand uses hot and cold technology and has three vibration settings, to provide an indulgent at-home skin treatment that helps lift, firm, and soothe. The multifunctional beauty tool is easy to use and is fully rechargeable via a USB cable.
Sufferers of stress acne on face will benefit from using Estime & Sens Intense Purifying Serum which tightens pores, regulates sebum, makes the skin less oily, and reduces breakouts. It also calms, soothes, and reduces inflammation. Perfect for daily use on the whole face, but can also be used as a spot treatment.
Vogue calls this “the gold standard (and a celebrity go-to)”, and it’s also recommended by Town and Country, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour, Deesse’s PRO LED Mask is a hero product in the fight against acne caused by stress. The multi-tasking LED facial mask delivers four different wavelengths including blue light, which delivers powerful anti-bacterial properties, alleviates acne, controls sebum, and is anti-inflammatory. It also delivers green lights, which calms and soothes irritated skin and treats skin redness.
Shop our full edit of skincare for acne-prone skin.
Written by Sarah Blake.