The real problem here is that most of the information available regarding the connection between acne and stress is anecdotal. In other words it comes from the real life stories and observations of the people who suffer from acne rather than some clinical trial or test.
Very often evidence of stress related acne is discounted or ignored because of that and also because within the medical field there is no particular recommendation on how to control stress other than mood altering psychiatric drugs or perhaps to take a holiday!
On the other hand the anecdotal evidence is quite strong that many, many acne sufferers can identify a direct relationship between their acne and stress levels.
This also tends to explain why for many people, worrying about a fresh acne outbreak appears to be a certain path towards getting one, sort of like a self fulfilling prophecy!
Try answering these questions to see if their may be some stress related aspect to your acne:
Prior to an outbreak:
- Were you worrying about having a fresh outbreak or a mild one getting worse?
- Were you worrying about something in your personal life?
- Did you begin having “circular” thoughts regarding an old unresolved situation in your past?
- Were you worrying about something at work?
- Did you have a conversation with someone who seemed to be “kindly” telling you bad things about yourself… “for your own good?”
- Did you speak to someone who seemed to indicate to you that your opinions, hopes, goals, dreams, job… (anything) were of little or no value or just plain wrong?
It is very possible you may find that you can answer yes to one or more of these questions.
Stress can work against you in many ways especially if you are already suffering from or prone to acne. It can suppress your immune system so that infections within blocked pores develop but more importantly it can throw your entire hormone system into disarray.
More on the connection between hormones and acne can be found here.
What is most often missed especially by Doctors, is the relationship between emotion and hormones.
The medicos tend to just stick to the idea that hormones affect emotions and forget to consider the idea that it works the other way around too most likely because they can offer no advice on how to control it. Emotions, within which stress can be included affect hormones leading to acne.
The control or reduction of stress can play a major role not only in the lessening of outbreaks developing but also in the healing process after there has been one.
Stress is widely recognized as a major suppressant to the body’s natural healing processes and will result in prolonging the time it takes for the body to repair itself.
As well as aggravating an existing breakout, stress can also cause an overall reduction in the normal function of skin.
It can increase sebum production and may even cause the adrenal glands to over-produce cortisol. Cortisol released into the sebaceous gland produces greater amounts of oil in the skin and we know where that is leading!
Here are some tips for general Acne Stress Control:
Ok, I know no-one is going to be jumping up and down at the joy of this one but bear with me for a minute!
You evolved or were created depending on your outlook, under adversity. This means your system came out of a need to be avoiding being eaten by predators, tolerating harsh climate variations and working hard in the fields planting and tending to crops for it to survive.
It was designed to be able to walk great distances to find food and achieve short bursts of speed to avoid becoming food!
These are the things your body should be doing regularly because that is how it works… so what is it actually doing on a daily basis?
Is it fighting tooth and nail 16 hours a day to survive? Or is it sitting at a desk, in front of the T.V. or just lying around motionless.
Normal body function requires MOVEMENT. An unmoving body becomes uncomfortable and leads to an emotionally fragile state that tends towards inward thinking.
Constantly internalizing about every little detail of your life is very unhealthy.
Get out and take a walk, MAKE yourself do it every day and be amazed at the reduction in stress that seems to magically occur!
As an avid coffee lover this one even pains me!
By now you would have discovered that a lack of proactive acne stress control results in over stimulation of hormones, glands and the whole balance of your system going out. Well the last thing you need to be doing is adding more stimulants!
Cut the tea and the coffee down.
(You should say cut them out altogether, but I can’t bring myself to say that!)
The sugar industry has all over the world, financed many studies that absolutely conclude no connection between sugar and any adverse physical or emotional reactions.
My answer to all of that well funded research is this:
Throw a kids party, give them absolutely all the super-sweet treats and snacks they want. Wait 20 minutes… stand back! Actually, stand way, way back!
There is no way you can tell me that it has received an unfair bad rap. It is quite literally poison in its pure form and the results on acne sufferers can be devastating.
Your diet already has lots of sugar hidden in it, cut out the added sugar and be amazed as your stress levels drop.
- Go outside at least once a day for at least 20 minutes and walk.
This ties in with the exercise point but it has added benefits. The natural sunlight will stimulate the production of vitamin D which is great for normal skin function.
Additionally, while you are walking LOOK at your surroundings, DON’T think… LOOK! Get outside and then when you are outside… get outside your head!
The best way to really get a grip on acne stress control is by following a known and proven program. The program I recommend is the Acne No More Program because it incorporates this important point.