Do you find yourself covered in pimples when life is crazy? Stress acne is a real skin condition. Use these expert tips to help manage your symptoms.

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Stress Acne: What It Is And How To Get Rid Of It

Do you have pimples that pop up when you're stressed out? If so, you're not alone. Stress acne is an actual skin condition.

But don't worry. We're here to help. First, let’s look at why stress can cause your acne to flare up, and then we’ll identify strategies to treat it. That way, you can experience more good skin days.

Table Of Contents

What Is Stress Acne?

Man examining his stress acne in the mirror

Stress acne is characterized by pimples and other blemishes that appear when you're under stress. This is because stress can cause your body to produce more oil, leading to clogged pores and breakouts.

Two main types of stress can manifest into zits: psychological and physical. Psychological stress includes mental or emotional stress. Factors like anxiety, depression, and poor sleeping habits all play a role in this type.

On the other hand, physical stress typically happens when your body experiences physical stressors. For example, hormone changes (such as during puberty or pregnancy), an injury, or an illness can all be triggers.

No matter what type of stress you’re experiencing, it can worsen your existing acne . Unfortunately, it also makes you more susceptible to new breakouts.

Stress Acne Compared To Other Types Of Acne

Before we dive into how to get rid of stress acne, it's crucial to understand how it's different from other types of acne.

The main difference between stress acne and other types of acne is the timing of your breakouts. With stress acne, you tend to see pimples pop up when you're experiencing periods of high stress.

Other types of acne don’t have a clear connection to stress. Instead, there’s another primary cause. For example, an imbalance of hormones can lead to hormonal acne. This can be due to things like puberty, pregnancy, or menopause.

Cystic acne is another type of acne that causes clogged pores and inflammation. Genetics, skincare products, and certain medications contribute to this deep, painful acne.

It’s important to note that stress can worsen any type of acne. So if you have other blemishes, you may notice them flaring up when you’re feeling stressed.

Because of this, it can be challenging to determine what type of acne you have with so much overlap.

If you’re not sure what’s plaguing your skin, it's good to see a dermatologist. They can help you identify your condition and develop a treatment plan.

Why Does Stress Cause Pimples?

A woman sitting at a computer desk covering her face with her hand

When you're feeling stressed, your body produces more of the hormone cortisol. Your body uses cortisol for many different processes, including the regulation of oil production. And too much oil can lead to clogged pores and breakouts.

In addition, stress increases your body’s production of cytokines. Cytokines are chemicals that promote inflammation, which can make existing pimples redder and cause new ones to form.

Stress Acne Treatment

Now that you're familiar with stress acne, let's look at ways to treat this skin condition effectively.

Reduce Stress

Woman unrolling a yoga mat

One of the best ways to get rid of stress acne is to reduce your stress levels. If you're regularly experiencing high levels of stress, find ways to relax. Your relaxation techniques can involve yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises.

In addition, try to avoid situations that cause you undue stress in general. For example, if work is a significant trigger for your stress acne, see if you can take some time off or speak to your boss about reducing your workload.

Seeking professional help is also an excellent way to manage stress. If you're struggling, consider talking to a therapist or counselor. Sharing your feelings and concerns with someone else can help you feel better.

Over-The-Counter Treatment Options

In addition to reducing stress, several over-the-counter treatments can help clear up your acne.

If your pimples are mild, you may be able to treat them with spot treatments that contain benzoyl peroxide, colloidal oatmeal, or salicylic acid. These ingredients can help reduce inflammation, minimize redness, and kill bacteria.

For more moderate to severe cases of stress acne, you may need to use an over-the-counter topical steroid.

You’ll also want to swap out your skincare products for ones that promote healing. For example, try to avoid harsh cleansers or astringents. These products can strip your skin of its natural oils, making acne worse.

Instead, opt for something like Bodewell's Sensitive Skin Moisturizing Body Wash. It's gentle enough to use daily and can help keep your skin hydrated.

Prescription-Strength Pharmaceuticals

Young woman applying cream to her stress acne

Not everyone responds to over-the-counter treatments. If your stress acne is severe, you may need to see a dermatologist for a prescription-strength medication.

One of the most common pharmaceuticals used to treat stress acne is tretinoin, a type of retinoid. Retinoids help unclog pores, reduce inflammation, and kill bacteria.

Other common prescription medications include oral antibiotics, birth control pills, and isotretinoin (Accutane). Like any medication, these options have potential side effects. You’ll want to talk to your doctor before beginning a new treatment.

Natural Treatments

If you prefer to stick to non-pharmaceutical approaches to combat your stress acne, you have many natural treatments to try.

One popular option is aloe vera gel. Aloe vera is known for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. Apply a small amount to your skin twice a day to help reduce swelling and redness.

You can also try using green tea. Green tea contains antioxidants that help fight inflammation. Steep a tea bag in hot water for 3-5 minutes, then remove it and let the liquid cool before applying it to your skin with a cotton ball.

Honey is another favorite for skincare. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the swelling and redness associated with stress acne. Apply a small amount of honey to your skin and leave it on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off.

Dietary changes are also a natural way to clear up your skin. For example, avoid foods high in sugar and refined carbs, as these can trigger inflammation. Processed foods can also be problematic for you to digest, which can cause more stress inside your body.

Instead of these foods, focus on eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and veggies, lean protein, and healthy fats. These nutrients promote health and reduce inflammation.

You may need to experiment with different natural remedies to see what works best for your skin. It may take some time, but don’t give up.

Stress Acne Prevention

Woman relaxing with a book and a cup of coffee

Of course, the best way to deal with stress acne is to prevent it from happening in the first place. While you may not be able to keep your skin completely clear, there are a few things you can do to lower your risk of developing this condition.

First, as we mentioned earlier, make de-stressing a priority. Take some time for yourself to relax and focus on self-care each day.

Additionally, try to keep your hands off your face. Touching your face can irritate your skin and cause breakouts.

Sometimes when people are stressed, they pick at their skin without realizing what they're doing. Try to keep your hands busy with something else if you notice yourself doing this. Otherwise, you could cause more damage to your skin.

Also, clean your skin gently and avoid harsh skincare products. Use a gentle cleanser, like our Sensitive Skin Moisturizing Body Wash, to remove dirt and oil without stripping your skin of essential moisture.

Finally, eat a healthy diet, stay hydrated, and exercise regularly. A healthy lifestyle reduces stress and improves your overall skin health.

Say Goodbye To Stress-Induced Blemishes

Woman looking into bathroom mirror and touching her face

Stress acne can be a real pain, both physically and emotionally. It pops up at the worst times and seems to come and go. But, worst of all, if you don't combat the root of the problem and find ways to relax, your breakouts may worsen.

Fortunately, by following these expert tips, you can get your stress acne under control.

You deserve to have clear and beautiful skin, so don’t let stress stand in your way. Instead, try natural remedies, make time for self-care, and know when to reach out to a professional to help your skin heal the right way.

At Bodewell, we strive to help you live more freely from the limitations of skin conditions. For more tips on skin remedies and treating your skin with the love it deserves, visit our blog.

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