Out Damned Spot How To Get Rid Of Stress Acne
Your first stop is your local drugstore: Pick up some topical spot treatments, says Robin Evans, MD, a dermatologist in Connecticut.
Topical benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid are options, she says. Both are available over the counter and can be directly applied as a spot treatment to individual lesions or over the general affected area, as long as it doesnt cause too much dryness or irritation for you.
If youre experiencing a painful stress cyst, Evans also recommends a holding a warm or cold compress over the area to reduce pain and redness. Plain old ice can also do a surprising amount for stress acne.
For a double-whammy, super-cheap DIY treatment, consider making ice cubes from green tea, which has been shown in some clinical trials to help reduce sebum production. Saric S, et al. . Green tea and other tea polyphenols: Effects on sebum production and acne vulgaris.
Michele Green, MD, a dermatologist in New York City, recommends seeing your dermatologist for a more serious treatment regimen if stress acne poses a regular problem for you.
The sooner you act to get an appointment with your dermatologist, the better, because it will prevent or minimize acne scarring, Green says. Your dermatologist can prescribe medication to control and regulate hormones.
Stress Isn’t Always Cut & Dry
Balancing work, family life, hobbies and interests, social situations, and other small details of your average week can take a toll on you in both obvious and subtle ways. Nearly everyone has felt nervous or tired due to a packed schedule, but stress can manifest in ways we don’t necessarily consider.
For example, how often have you felt so stressed that your stomach hurt, or you broke out in a rash?
There are dozens of possible symptoms of stress, both mental and physical. If you suddenly find yourself with bouts of insomnia and anxiety to go with an acne problem, stress very well may be the issue.
How To Prevent Stress Acne
“First and foremost, get plenty of sleep. When sleep deprived, the body makes more of the stress hormone, cortisol,” says Dr. Shamban. “Increased cortisol causes inflammation and stress on the body and can worsen skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis, as well as cause an increased breakdown of collagen and hyaluronic acid .”
As for when you’re awake and not drinking water? Run, do yoga, read, mediditate. Partake in any solo activity that helps take your mind off of the news.
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What Does Stress Acne Look Like
While most women experience hormonal acne on their jawline, stress acne more closely resembles the breakouts you probably got when you were a teenager, since it’s caused by an overproduction of oil. “Stress acne, unlike your regular breakouts, usually occurs on the oiliest parts of your faceyour forehead, nose, and chin areas,” says Shereene Idriss, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist at New York City’s Union Square Laser Dermatology. Given the increase in oil production, she says your skin will usually look greasier and slightly more inflamed.
Zeichner adds that stress acne can also look like a combination of blackheads, whiteheads, red bumps, and pus pimples. A telltale sign that you’re experiencing a stress breakout is that you’ll get several new pimples at once, while hormonal breakouts tend to happen one at a time . Even if you aren’t usually acne-prone, stressful periods or events can trigger breakouts. However, those of us who are genetically more predisposed to acne and struggle with it on a regular basis are more likely to experience flare-ups when stressed.
Anxious Personalities Are More Likely To Pick At Their Blemishes When Anxious And Stressed
Oftentimes picking at, squeezing, and popping blemishes makes them worse and more susceptible to irritation and infection, since the bodys immune system is impaired.
Any one or combination of the above can contribute to worsening acne as a result of behaving anxiously.
While addressing your anxiety issues and reducing stress may not eliminate acne problems, they can help reduce them.
Working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to eliminate issues with anxiety and the stress they cause.
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The Facts About Chest Acne
Acne is a skin condition that nearly everyone deals with at some point in their lives.
Acne is caused by the accumulation of dead skin cells that block your pores and leads to an abundance of a specific type of bacteria present on the skin called propionibacterium acne. As a result, your skin becomes inflamed and causes whiteheads, blackheads or pimples to form.
The unfortunate truth is that acne has no boundaries. It is more common for teenagers, but it can affect people of all ages. And I see it about equally between men and women. Acne also can appear anywhere you have oil glands in your skin, so it can occur on your back, face, stomach or chest.
Chest acne develops the same way as acne on other parts of your body, but there are some factors that lead to the development of chest acne, including:
- Using skin care products that prevent or hinder water loss
- Friction from clothing
- Excessive sweating
It is important to note that chest acne is not the result of poor hygiene. It’s not caused by dirty skin, and can actually be made worse with harsh soap or chemicals and rough scrubbing.
Other factors that worsen acne include:
If over-the-counter products are not working, talk with your health care provider about topical and oral medications that can help you manage your acne.
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How Is Acne Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider can diagnose acne during a skin exam. They may also ask if youre undergoing significant stress or if you have a family history of acne, all of which are risk factors. Teenage girls and women may also be asked about their menstrual cycles, as breakouts are sometimes related. Sudden, severe acne outbreaks in older people can sometimes signal another underlying disease that requires medical attention.
Also Check: How To Treat Acne Scars At Home
Other Ways Stress Affects Your Face
Other ways stress can affect your face include:
- Tooth damage. Many people adopt the habit of teeth grinding when they feel stressed or anxious. Over time, this can cause permanent damage to your teeth.
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction . TMD is a group of health problems that affect the joint where your jaw connects to your skull. It can be caused by repeated clenching of your teeth.
- Face flushing. Stress can cause you to change your breathing habits. These breathing habits can cause your face to flush temporarily.
- Sore lips. Many people chew their lips or the inside of their mouths when they feel stressed.
Some causes of stress like a sudden death in the family or an unexpected job loss are unavoidable. However, finding ways to cope with stress and minimize avoidable stress can help you better manage it.
Some ways you can cope with stress include:
Stop Picking Your Pimples
Sometimes, stress sees us picking up bad habits unconsciously. Some people pick at their skin when dealing with stress or anxiety, which can rupture the skin cell walls, result in inflammation, and cause infection to spread.
No matter how strong the urge, never pick at your pimples. People often wonder how to get rid of pimples and begin taking matters into their own hand before doing the necessary research. It may seem to alleviate redness and swelling for the first few minutes, but give it an hour or two and your pimples will expandand new ones will most likely develop.
Beyond just picking at your pimples, avoid touching your face as much as possible. The oil and bacteria on our hands can spread across the skin, and make acne breakouts more frequent.
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What Type Of Stress Causes It
Whether it’s acute or chronic stress that brings on acne depends on the person. While one person might have an acute stressor that triggers a flare up of acne, another person may be chronically stressed and unable to control all the intermittent flare ups that they have.
Sometimes, people are stressed and don’t even realize it. Maybe they’re able to manage the stress day-to-day, or maybe they’ve developed coping mechanisms to make themselves feel as though they aren’t stressed. “But if you delve into it and ask, a lot of my moms are like ‘Well, I’ve been taking care of my two kids and having a full-time job at home.’ And I’m like, ‘That sounds pretty stressful.’ And then they’re like, ‘Yeah, OK, it’s been pretty hard lately,'” Dr. Truong says.
So How Do You Know If It’s Stress Acne Or Something Else
So yes, stress acne is something that you’re normally not having and then, all of a sudden, you are. But just because you were stressed, and now have new red bumps on your face, chest, or back, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have stress acne.
According to Dr. Truong, a sudden breakout could also be due to an infection or rash. For instance, it could be folliculitis , or allergic contact dermatitis . “If something is new for you, it’s not common, and it’s worsening, I think that’s an important time to visit your doctor just to make sure it is what you think it is because if you’re treating it with the wrong thing, you could potentially make it worse,” Dr. Truong says.
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The Vicious Cycle Of Acne Stress
When youre in the midst of a massive breakout, its easy to want to hide from the world. Constant stress over your appearance is enough to make anyone give up and call it a day.
Unfortunately, one of the causes of acne is stress, meaning staring in the mirror and hoping for some real-life Photoshop magic can actually make your acne worse! Cells that produce sebum, your skins natural oil, have hormone receptors that can cause an acne flare up during stressful periods of time. If youre living every day worrying if people are staring at your acne, that constant stress could be taking its toll on your skin.
Stress And Acne The Equation
In adulthood, one experiences different forms of stress. It can come from work overload, conflicting priorities, conflicts with colleagues, an unpleasant work atmosphere, challenging deadlines, financial issues and so on.
In some cases, work related stress is good as it helps exhilarate and motivates one to do better. But too much stress also raises the cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is an adrenal hormone which affects all other female hormone levels. These hormone imbalances lead to an increased sebum production which clogs up the hair follicles in the skin. Clogged follicles accumulate dirt and dried sebum leading to blackheads, whiteheads and acne pustules.
Pre-menstrual stress in women is another common factor causing acne breakouts. Many women tend to experience sugar cravings during this time. Sugar feeds the bacteria in the body. So, if a clogged hair follicle is already harboring the P. Acnes bacteria , the higher sugar levels in the blood end up aggravating the breakouts.
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Choose Your Comfort Food Carefully
Stress eating can trigger breakouts unless fresh vegetables, fruits, and nuts are your idea of comfort food, in which case, we salute you. Eating too many high glycemic index foods, such as simple carbs can all contribute to acne breakouts. For more on foods that cause acne, check out our guide to foods that cause acne.
The latest scientific evidence suggests that diets high in sugar, simple carbohydrate foods, and dairy make some people more prone to acne. A recent study also showed that low weekly intake of fruits or vegetables and low consumption of fresh fish were also associated with adult acne.
How Does Acne Form
If you have acne you certainly aren’t alone. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, about 40 to 50 million Americans suffer from acne at any given time.
Our body constantly creates new skin cells to replace old, dead cells, and these dead cells are moved to the surface of our skin for removal. Occasionally, natural oils produced by our skin causes dead skin cells to be trapped in a pore.
This is not an issue by itself, but if acne bacteria that lives on our skin also becomes stuck in a clogged pore, that pore may become swollen and inflamed, eventually leading to the formation of acne.
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How Does Stress Affect Acne
Research shows that stress is linked with an increase in acne. Stress can worsen acne in two ways:1-3
However, the relationship between acne and stress is not clear-cut. Scientists speculate whether some people might be more prone to stress-related acne flare-ups than others. In addition, having acne can itself induce stress, so this can become a vicious cycle.4,5 Therefore, it is a good idea to learn some techniques for managing stress.
How Do I Find A Skin Care Routine
If speaking to a skin care expert isn’t an option, consider following someone else’s routine. Especially if they have complained of acne issues in the past and no longer suffer from outbreaks.
For example, YouTube blogger Michelle Phan offers up her own personal skin care routine on her channel, and she isn’t the only YouTube personality to offer help with skin care and beautification.
As with all home treatments, you should be wary of untested or sensational methods. And always ensure you do proper research into what you might be putting on your face – you don’t want to accidentally make the problem worse.
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How Does Stress Cause Acne
Stress makes the skin age faster
- Severe stress can make you look older than you are. You may feel that your skin is drier or you may be seeing more fine lines, wrinkles and have a generally dull appearance. This happens because of the decrease in collagen and hyaluronic acid synthesis in the skin. These changes may occur due to elevations in cortisol, the primary stress hormone, which goes into overdrive after long or excessive bouts of stress.
- Stress can also accelerate the aging process of the skin by increasing the formation of harmful chemical species called free radicals.
- Abandoning healthy habits when under stress, such as working longer hours, disruptions in sleep patterns, not following a healthy and balanced diet, consuming too much caffeine and alcohol or smoking can give you dark or puffy areas under the eyes, causing you to have a tired appearance. Skin affected by acne also loses its former shine and looks pale and dull.
Stress dries the skin out
Stress ramps up oil production
Researchers found that stress can trigger a variety of chemical responses within the body, which may cause breakouts. Then, if you nervously pick at your skin when you are under a lot of stress, you could exacerbate the problem because this may cause infection and scarring.
Seek Medical Treatment For Acne
Reducing your stress is step one. However, you want to address the changes in your skin right away. Make an appointment with your Atlanta dermatologist so you can ensure that you are using the right products for your skin. Your doctor may also recommend prescription medications to combat the acne and prevent new acne from developing. Before starting any skin care or medication regimen, it is important that you consult with your dermatologist to ensure that you are choosing the right products for your unique skin.
Acne and stress are related, but there is something you can do about it. If you live in the Atlanta area and are suffering with acne and believe it is due to stress, follow the tips in this article and schedule a consultation with Dr. Straughn of Buckhead Dermatology today.
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What Is Acne Excoriee
While many people squeeze a pimple occasionally, Garner sees more extreme cases in which patients pick at their blemishes compulsively because theyâre worried and embarrassed about their skin. “Every little thing that shows up on a personâs skin — every small pimple — they pick it. They canât make themselves stop.”
This condition is called acne excoriee. When these patients see Garner, ”they literally donât have a pimple in existence,” she says. Instead, they have scabs that can lead to scarring. “Those patients can actually turn very mild acne into terrible scars.”
Garner treats their acne. If their skin clears up, “thereâs nothing to pick,” she says.
Sometimes, she can convince patients to stop picking, but if not, she might refer them for psychological help, she says.
To prevent scarring, “Itâs really important that people do not pick and squeeze their pimples,” Garner says.