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10 Ways to Help Clear Stress Acne
by Emily Linehan on May 12, 2022
You may have noticed that during stressful times in your life you seem to break out more. This is no coincidence! Stress greatly affects our hormones, which then affects the skin. When we are stressed out, our endocrine system secretes increased levels of cortisol and androgens. When this happens, we produce more oil on our face which leads to… increased acne.
If you’re struggling with stress induced acne, here are a few tips to help you on your way to clear skin.
Regular exfoliation is a great habit to get into when it comes to acne, but it’s important to make sure that you are using a gentle exfoliant since rough exfoliants can cause micro-tears in the skin. You may not be able to see these micro-tears, but they ultimately cause chronic inflammation that later snowballs into premature aging of the skin. If the exfoliant is gentle enough you can exfoliate daily, but if you’re unsure, always check in with a skincare professional.
Tip: The best tool you can use to exfoliate at home is your hands! While skin brushes are marketed to "deep pore clean" the skin, they often do more harm than good due to their tendency to harbor bacteria and create damaging micro tears in the skin.
Spend Time With Friends and Family
It may sound pretty obvious, but a huge part of decreasing stress-caused acne is by finding ways to decrease the amount of stress in your life. Spending time with friends, family, and loved ones is a proven method for decreasing stress. Grab a coffee with a friend and catch up, or start a group chat that you regularly communicate in. These are just a few simple, but powerful, ways to decrease stress.
Do More of What You Love
Is there a hobby that you used to do fairly often, but you just seemed to stop? Start that hobby up again! Another proven method for decreasing feelings of stress is enjoying how you are spending your time. Whether it’s arts and crafts, baking, or anything else, make a commitment to yourself to get back into a project you feel excited about.
Take a Social Media Break
We’ve all seen the articles and documentaries about the negative effects of social media. Taking a break from social media platforms, even if it’s just for a day or two, can have major benefits on your mental health.
Fuel Your Body
When we’re stressed, it can be easy to turn to comfort foods like a bag of chips or that pint of ice cream calling your name. However, sugar and dietary iodine are both huge triggers for breakouts. When you are feeling stressed out and experiencing stress acne, make sure you are fueling your body with nutritious foods!
Talk to a Mental Health Expert
It never hurts to talk to a therapist or counselor, especially when you’re experiencing the physical symptoms of stress. If at any time your stress feels unmanageable, talking to a therapist or counselor, whether it’s through an app or at a local practice should be seriously considered.
Motivation can be hard to come by when we’re feeling stressed, but exercise is a proven way to increase feelings of wellness. It’s easy to associate de-stressing with yoga or meditation, but that doesn’t mean that’s what works for you! Maybe it’s dancing, walking, or weight lifting. The way you’re exercising isn’t important… it’s about whatever gets your body moving!
Have a Pre and Post Workout Skincare Routine
…Which brings me to my next tip. Always wash, tone, and moisturize your face before and after every workout. Sweat is a huge acne trigger and if you’re already having stress acne breakouts, you can bet that sweat will exacerbate it. If you use active serums or products like Acne Eraser that contain benzoyl peroxide, make sure you wash those off before your workout as sweat can reactivate them.
Tip: Completing your skincare routine within 5 minutes of working out is essential! To ensure you can get this done, bring your Skincare Travel Set with you to the gym!