Obviously stress is not the main cause of our acne. It just help makes it worse.
If you want to know the main cause of your acne, then you can read this previous post I wrote.
But I'm just talking about stress in this post.
What Are Stress Pimples?
Chronic stress can result in the skin’s nerve endings releasing an increased level of chemicals that can affect how and at what level our body responds to many important functions.
Stress can also lead to increased inflammation in the body, which is an important precursor in acne.
If you want to know all the ways stress negatively effects your body, you can read this article.
How Does Stress Cause Acne?
Several studies have noted an association between acne severity and stress levels.
For example, this study evaluated changes in acne severity in students during exams and off exams.
Patients with acne experienced a worsening of the disease during exam time, and changes in acne severity correlated highly with increasing stress.
This suggests that emotional stress from external sources can have a significant influence on acne.
Another study found that stress associated with the ending of a committed marital relationship could actually impede recovery of the stratum corneum barrier function of the skin.
How is the Skin Specifically Effected by Stress?
People undergoing stress have a more delayed skin barrier recovery compared with people who are undergoing less stress.
Furthermore, scientists have found that cells that produce our sebum have receptors for stress hormones.
When a person with acne experiences stress, they’re then unregulated and more sebum is produced which can then clog our hair follicles that may then lead to a pimple.
However, scientists then found that stress didn’t appear to increase sebum production in teens, despite stress leading to an increase in acne.
This means that acne induced by stress may be a result of other root causes, and not just increased sebum production.
So, it’s clear that stress can affect our skin.
In the right environment, stress can lead to more acne breakouts.
Does Everyone Have Stress Pimples?
It’s difficult to say for sure, as stress is extremely subjective.
I can't say for sure if everyone's acne is effected by stress.
If I were to guess I'd say probably not.
This muddies the waters a little bit in trying to determine if our stress is actually affecting our skin, or if it’s another cause entirely.
Some people endure large amounts of stress and don’t experience breakouts, while other people experience frequent stress-related breakouts.
Because stress affects our cortisol levels, it is likely that stress pimples are located in the “hormonal” area, on the nose, chin, and lower half of the face.
If you tend to get acne on the lower part of your face that does not coincide with menstruation, stress could be the cause.
Or, if you’re someone with frequently clear skin but under times of stress you experience the occasional pimple, it’s safe to say that you probably suffer from stress-induced acne.
Unfortunately, not all cases of stress-induced acne are so obvious – others are more elusive.
For example, someone dealing with hormonal acne or any other skin condition not caused by stress specifically, may still be dealing with stress pimples or stress-induced acne breakouts that will be hard to decipher from your other breakouts.
Stress Causes Most People to Constantly Touch Their Hair or Face
If, under stressful experiences, you tend to touch your face a lot by picking or scratching at your skin, you could be causing “stress” acne inadvertently.
Touching our skin, especially our pimples, can transfer bacteria and damage the skin, impeding the healing process and causing more acne.
If, under stressful experiences you also tend to eat poorly to cope with your stress, you may be causing pimples that aren’t a result of the stress itself, but initiated by a stressful event and our coping mechanism.
These are psychological issues with coping, and would need to be addressed separate from the acne.
Then Does Stress Cause Acne?
It can definitely help worsen acne, although obviously it is not the main cause.
In the end, the best thing that we can do to mitigate stress-induced acne is to take part in stress reduction techniques that we truly enjoy and feel peaceful doing, like mindfulness meditation, yoga, tai chi, exercise, reading, walking, playing games, etc.
How I Clear My Own Stress Pimples?
I found the fastest way to clear my acne, whether it was from stress or something else, is with an antioxidant acne treatment.
I stumbled upon a treatment called Derma a few months ago (I'm writing this post on their blog).
I wasn't sure what to think at first because I had never seen a drinkable acne treatment, and they were a little too pricey for me to get excited about.
Right now they cost $25 for a pack of 8.
There was a few other companies that are much cheaper, like HUM or Murad - but they aren't even close to as strong as Derma's treatment.
So I decided to email them asking to try the treatment for free - and in exchange I promised to write a blog post about it (IF it worked for me).
If it didn't work I wouldn't have written anything.
Fast forward a few days to when it arrived in the mail.
I literally noticed a real improvement a few hours after I started using it - but I thought it was probably the lighting.
The next morning though there was a serious difference though.
Every pimple and scar I had the night before literally shrunk, and turned a much lighter color (not as red).
It felt more amazing than I could put into words honestly.
Now I take them sometimes if I notice a small pimple starting to form, and it disappears the next day before it even had a chance to emerge.
My acne is nowhere near as bad as it was before though.
If any of this sounds familiar to you then I highly encourage you to check them out.
Stress pimples suck but you can still find something to get rid of them like I did.