Research suggests a significant link between stress and acne. Learn how your lifestyle might be affecting your skin’s health.
How does stress affect acne?
We know that external elements found in our environment have the potential to influence our skin’s future. These environmental factors, such as air pollution and cigarette smoke, may seem like obvious culprits when it comes to getting to the bottom of worsening acne, but it’s important not to underestimate the influence stress can have on skin’s health. As the body’s largest organ, skin fulfils a key role in keeping us safe from bacteria and harmful external elements - making it a good indicator of our general overall health. Unfortunately, stress has the capacity to significantly influence skin behavior. In particular, certain studies have linked elevated stress levels to worsening symptoms of acne.
Stress-busting tips for managing acne
When it comes to managing stress, relaxation therapist Nathalie Saulnier says it’s important to know the difference between ‘external stress’, such as work-related anxiety or pressures linked to family or home life, and ‘internal’ stress, which is often the result of poor self-confidence or a perceived inability to meet goals.
If you feel you’re struggling with anxiety at work or at home, check out Nathalie’s expert tips on how to reduce feelings of stress. Acne can often have a significant effect on our self-image, particularly during recurring or persistent breakouts. This creates a vicious circle: the more visible acne symptoms become, the more likely our self-confidence is to take a hit, leading to more and more internal stress as breakouts continue to appear. In other words, it’s important that you take steps to deal with skin-related stress as and when it arises, as a complementary step to your acne treatment.
 G. Yosipovitch, M. Tang, A.G. Dawn, M. Chen, C.L. Goh, Y. Huak, L. Seng, ‘Study of psychological stress, sebum production and acne vulgaris in adolescents’ in Acta Derm Venereol (2007) 87 (2), pp. 135-9. [Accessible at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17340019]