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A quick look at the messages and a look at the number of unread emails on your phone can be enough to add to your stress levels before you leave your bedroom in the morning. The journey to work and to work itself will seldom take the strain off you. And wait Pimples too? Why is the universe doing this?
Well, it’s probably not the universe. It’s the stress. And when the trials of modern life strain not only your psyche but also your skin, you are not alone.
We checked with dermatologists about how to manage breakouts. These tips won̵
Your first stop is your local drug store: pick up some topical spot treatments, says Dr. Robin Evans, Connecticut dermatologist.
“Topical benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid are options,” she says. “Both are available over-the-counter and can be used directly as a spot treatment on individual lesions or the general area, provided they don’t cause too much dryness or irritation.”
Additionally, if you have a painful stress cyst, Evans recommends holding a warm or cold compress over the area to reduce pain and redness. Regular old ice can do a surprising amount for stress acne as well.
For a dual, super-cheap DIY treatment, consider making ice cubes from green tea, which have been shown in some clinical studies to help reduce sebum production.
Another mitigation option: an alpha hydroxy acid solution,
Michele Green, MD, a dermatologist in New York City, recommends consulting your dermatologist for more serious treatment if stress acne is a regular problem for you.
“The sooner you act to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist, the better, as it will prevent or minimize acne scars,” says Green. “Your dermatologist can prescribe medication to control and regulate hormones.”
They can also book you for a number of treatments that can help, including:
- chemical peels
Soleymani T et al. (2018). A Practical Approach to Chemical Peels: A Review of the Basics and Step-by-Step algorithmic protocol for treatment. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6122508/
Kołodziejczak A, et al. (2019). Evaluation of the effects of the combination of microdermabrasion and cavitation peeling in the therapy of seborrheic skin with visible symptoms of punctate acne. DOI: 10.1080 / 14764172.2018.1525751
- Microneedling, which can help reduce acne scars
El-Domyati M, et al. (2015). Microneedle Therapy for Atrophic Acne Scars: An Objective Evaluation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4509584/
However, this treatment is better for the pigmentation and scarring that acne can cause than it is to reduce the acne itself. For the direct treatment of stress acne, a dermatologist is more likely to prescribe:
- topical antibiotics and retinoids
- oral antibiotics and retinoids
- hormonal drugs
Just knowing how many options are available to you should help you get some stress off.
If you’ve ever had an outbreak after a performance review or the night before a bumble date, thank your old hormones for it.
In order to break it down further, your skin goes into “defense mode” at the first sign of stress. Your body releases hormones like cortisol and adrenal androgens to keep you safe, as well as neuropeptides.
These hormones are reminiscent of the old days when stress prepared us to escape a mammoth or to look harder for food than annoyed us about which font to use in a PowerPoint presentation.
Unfortunately, this barrage of protective chemicals also triggers and inflames the sebum glands – yes, the oily ones that lead to flare-ups of skin conditions (including acne).
“While stress doesn’t directly cause acne, it does can Tighten it up, and if you’re already acne prone, stress can make your acne worse, ”says Green. “Acne is an inflammatory disease that can be made worse by stress-releasing hormones that increase inflammation.”
According to Green, you can usually spot stress breakouts by looking for the redness, itching, and increased numbers of blackheads and white heads that accompany your normal pimples. She sees stress acne when people experience periods of high anxiety, even in those whose acne is usually under control.
“I see a lot of stress breakouts,” she says. “When adult patients are having a difficult time at home or at work, it can cause their acne, once controlled, to flare up.” And final exams lead to breakouts in high school students too.
The good news is that treatment is similar to other acne breakouts, even if the underlying cause is that you are stressed out at work.
Stress acne SuuuucksHowever, staying up to date with your routine skin care routine can reduce the risk of your surfacing.
Make sure you use a pH balanced detergent.
After cleansing, but before applying your moisturizer, apply one of the gentler vitamin C serums like Mad Hippie. This can help with acne and a number of other skin problems.
Make sure you stay hydrated and consider switching to a low blood sugar diet, which can also help.
While you can’t just stop engaging in stressful situations (unless you go offline and get a cabin somewhere in the woods that brings more than a reasonable amount of stress with it), it can’t be denied that Stress is bad for your body.
And while you may not be able to spend the time (or money) on a full day of spa, you should devote some time to self-care from time to time – doctor’s orders. So you go And you Take the bubble bath.
Find the method that works best for you. You could try:
And if your schedule is too busy for that, remember that just one deep breath can go a long way.
Stress acne is a pain in the ass (and face) and won’t go away overnight. It does this because of stress hormones that circulate in your body and cause physical reactions. In short, do what you are supposed to do.
There are numerous OTC and prescription drugs and procedures available to help you feel better and look clearer.
Remember, you can reduce these effects by managing your stress levels. Relax today – you owe so much and you deserve it.