How Stress Affects Acne
It's rather well known that stress can have many effects on a person's health. Some include weight gain or loss, poor sleep, and skin problems. Once it begins, it may become a vicious cycle. Let's look at the relationship between acne and stress.
What is Acne?
Acne is a common skin problem. Approximately 9% of the world’s population is affected, which makes it the 8th most prevalent disease globally. Although it can occur at any age, it is generally post-pubescent teens (especially boys) who are most often affected. It is also otherwise known as zits or pimples.
This skin disease arises when the pores of your skin are clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and even bacteria. The secretion of oil from the glands builds up and combines with naturally occurring bacteria and dead skin cells. With this environment, it becomes suitable for the skin bacteria to form acne.
Stress Affecting Acne
Stress defined is anything that becomes a threat to our well-being. Studies among college students had shown that acne flare-ups usually occur when a person is under stress; most especially during their exam weeks. With stress, we don’t actually know how our body will respond to it in different situations.
Upon exposure to stress, your body starts to produce cortisol and other hormones. Let’s focus on cortisol. This hormone is also known as our body’s stress hormone. It is essential to maintaining balance inside your body. What it does to the body is vast. It activates our body's fight-or-flight response in response to an alarm or to a stress. If this initiates, our cardiovascular system is also activated, just like how your heart beats so fast before an exam, or an approaching deadline at work. Moreover, our body would also increase our blood pressure and breathing rate. On the contrary, our digestion ceases and immune response decreases. It’s like your body is trying to give focus to the more important organs of your body in response to the threat or immediate situation.
Eventually, this stress response causes a decreased ability of your skin to hydrate itself. This leads your skin glands to produce more oil as usual to compensate. Excessive oil secretion could eventually lead to clogged pores. Oil and your naturally occurring bacteria is a great set-up for that acne to proliferate and even stress you out.
Tips on How to Reduce Stress and Acne
Although stress can cause acne flare-ups, this could be prevented by proper skin care. Here are ways to have an acne-free glowing skin:
Do regular exercise. It’s actually a great way to get rid of stress, and a simple jog can do.
Eat healthy. One simple trick is to make sure your plate has as much color as possible, like green, orange, and
Exercise stress management techniques. (e.g. breathing exercises, yoga, or meditation)
Who says sleep is for the weak? You still need those 6 – 8 hours of sleep.
Learn to say no. Simply put limits because you’re human, you also need rest.
Talk it out with a friend or significant other.
Last and most importantly, take good care of your skin! Even though you are tired or stressed, you won’t want those acne to increase in number.
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