A word to the wise for anyone suffering with acne, especially teens trying to come to grips with (although best left untouched) those unsightly zits, pimples, and blackheads: Take it easy. Relax. Chill. Don’t sweat it. Do those things, and you might help clear up a lot of that acne yourself, without help of medications or topical applications such as creams or lotions.
Think of it this way: Get the stress out of your life, and maybe that acne will follow suit as you bid it farewell. Growing evidence compiled by health care experts is showing that stress, if not causing acne in the first place, at least stands a good chance of making existing acne worse. Case in point: students gearing up for the next round of exams.
Researchers are increasingly finding that acne flare-ups are worse during stressful times, such as a couple days out from that big science test that could mean the difference between a final grade of an A or a C. This was a finding of a 2003 study at Stanford University, per webmd.com, which concluded that acne severity is closely correlated to periods of heightened stress
It’s no wonder that, more and more, health care professionals are espousing stress relief as an avenue to improved health (and better-looking skin), and why over-the-counter, stress-reducing products such as Valerin (by WonderLabs) has become such a popular mainstay in cabinets across America and elsewhere.
Sebum Production Could be the Culprit
Although scientists aren’t quite certain of what causes the link between rampant stress and the spread of existing acne, signs point to a substance known as “sebum” that is produced by cells equipped with receptors for stress hormones. Per webmd.com, “Sebum is the oily substance that mixes with dead skin cells and bacteria to clog the hair follicles, leading to a pimple or acne cyst.”
What Causes Acne?
While stress itself isn’t a root cause of acne – it can’t by itself produce acne in someone who’s never had it before, it can work in tandem with various factors such as age, hormones, bacteria, and diet to bring on the zits. Stress can trigger breakouts and make current skin issues worse. An acne breakout might not just be biologically driven, either. Per Dr. Alexa Kimball, a dermatology professor, quoted at time.com, being “frazzled” can lead to poor sleep, bad eating habits, and gravitating away from typical skin-care routines, all of which can spur those unwanted, unsightly acne breakouts. Certain medications, such as birth control pills, as well as a family history of acne can be influential factors when it comes to cases of acne, per healthline.com.
Then there’s the issue of chronic stress, which goes beyond the relatively short period of final exams or some other shorter-term stressor. Some studies have shown that long-term (chronic) stress can impact the body’s immune system in a manner to obstruct healing. In such instances, an acne breakout might persist for a longer time, possibly even leading to scarring of the skin.
Women Seeing More Acne Issues
Kimball, again per time.com, mentioned that more adult women than ever are dealing with worsening acne issues, a phenomenon that Kimball suggested might be attributed to a rise in “urban noise” and socioeconomic pressures directly affecting women.
Rest, Relaxation, and “Calming” Acne Outbreaks
The reported link between stress and acne has convinced health care and skin experts that the means to fend off acne outbreaks can include rest and relaxation. Here are some rest/relaxation-related steps an acne sufferer can take to halt the spread and duration of acne:
- Get more sleep. As cited at webmd.com, a study published in Sleep found that psychological stress can get boosted by 14 percent per lost hour of a night’s sleep. “Stress increases glucocorticoid production, which can lead to abnormalities in skin structure and function,” said Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, a California-based dermatologist. So, there you have it – there is such a thing as “beauty sleep.” If you are having sleep issues, supplemental melatonin can work well as a sleep aid.
- Relaxation techniques. There are several techniques that can help provide stress relief. These include tai chi and yoga. Disciplined time management and staying organized count, too, such as when it comes to keeping your workspace organized. Spare use of social media, such as Facebook, can also help. A persistent waste of time can induce stress.
- Dietary supplements. Start with Valerin, the all-natural, non-addictive relaxant formulated, manufactured, and sold by WonderLabs. It can counter stress while also providing quick relief of muscle spasms, sore muscles, and tension. Valerin is a homeopathic remedy that is comprised of valerian root, passiflora, and magnesium, while also being free of gluten and mercury.