Does Acne Have You Stressed Out?



Stress is a proven precipitator of acne. Yes, men also suffer from stress, but because of their hormonal differences, adult women are much more adversely affected. Recent statistics from the American Dermatology Association report that the median age for patients suffering from acne has been gradually increasing.

It is a sad but true fact that acne often rears its ugly head at the most inopportune times possible. Acne has an uncanny knack for flaring up just in time for that big date, job interview, wedding day or other special event in our lives. This happens with alarming frequency – far too often in fact to chalk it up to “bad luck” or coincidence. There is a physiological reason for these untimely flare-ups and its name is stress.

Of all of the physical conditions we experience, stress is the most deadly. Many circumstances create stress in our daily lives. Arguing with family, friends or colleagues, not getting enough sleep, worrying, working too hard or even playing too hard can all create stress. Weekend warriors, who try to make up for a week of inactivity by spending hours engaged in strenuous physical sports, raise their stress levels to an unhealthy degree. Any activity that is practiced without moderation can lead to a stress response. This is extremely important to remember if you hope to begin treating adult acne.

For those of you familiar with my work in the anti-aging field, you know that elevated levels of the hormone, cortisol (also referred to as the ‘death’ hormone) are very destructive to the body. Elevated cortisol levels cause an increase in blood sugar. This in turn causes an instant response from our cells as they enter an extreme pro-inflammatory mode. Because acne is a systemic, inflammatory disease, any increase in inflammation will result in an increase in the length and severity of the outbreak.

Have you noticed more more acne flare ups during the most stressful times in your life? Visit this page for more acne related resources.

3 thoughts on “Does Acne Have You Stressed Out?

  1. WOW. I’ve always chided myself that I’m suffering now for having gone through high school with good skin. Now I’m in my 30s and its freaking out on me. However, its all starting to make sense after reading your articles! I knew the basics about stress, hormones, etc., but not in such detail as your articles provide. I am now triple whammied with having gone through a year of random illnesses from travelling, having my hormones totally out of whack, mainly low estrogen, and then recently being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I LOVE that you promote WILD Alaskan Salmon!!! I was living in rural Alaska and was very spoiled in that wild salmon was a staple of my diet (and I realize my skin wasn’t breaking out as much then, compared to now that I have moved to the Lower 48 and don’t have free access to the salmon anymore)
    I also am Asian and have always spent a great deal of time in the outdoors, and am starting to deal with all the hyperpigmentation on top of the combination skin and cystic breakouts.

    Thank you for providing recipes and plans along with your informative articles. I generally like to stay with the Mediterranean diet, and now I see how important it is for me to really knuckle down and follow an anti-inflammatory diet.

  2. Also, I am wondering if you have any plans for liquid versions of your supplements? I know many people who have problems with so many large pills, myself included.

    Then, I also forgot the shorter comment I had originally thought before my other tangents, was that YES, its a vicious cycle – stress. I also have a nervous habit of picking at my skin, most times I’ve no idea I’m doing it, or it happens in my sleep, so sometimes my face is a mess, and I avoid going out because I’m so self-conscious of it.


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