Skin Care Spotlight: Can Intense Stress Trigger A Breakout?

Skin Care Spotlight: Can Intense Stress Trigger A Breakout?
Photo by kevin laminto on Unsplash

Everyone has had acne at some point of their lives, either as a teenager or as an adult. Hormones, when you are a young adult during puberty, can be to blame, as they tend to make your skin produce more oil, leaving your skin susceptible to breakouts. Certain skin care products can also block your pores – the perfect setting for a breakout to occur. But did you know that a breakout can also be caused by stress?

The Science Behind Breakouts and Stress

In a study performed by the Department of Dermatology from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina, 94 subjects with mild or moderate acne were used to determine whether stress and acne has a direct link. The study results suggested that there was a significant association between stress and severity of acne (especially in males).

In an interview with TIME magazine, Dr. Adam Friedman, an associate professor of dermatology at George Washington University, says that the link between acne and stress is due to a specific hormone, CRH; Corticotrophin-releasing hormone is one major culprit that binds to receptors in the skin’s sebaceous glands which drives up oil production and causes pimples. “These sebaceous glands are also immune organs, and they create inflammation,” Friedman adds. “At the end of the day, an acne blemish is basically inappropriate inflammation, and so turning on that immune response can exacerbate swelling or redness.”

Asides from these biological drivers of stress-related acne, feeling stressed and overwhelmed can leave to poor quality of sleep, a poor diet and a breakaway from skin care routines that would normally rid your skin of excess dirt and oil, further promoting acne breakouts. If you are someone who is prone to experiencing acne breakouts when stressed, then this could be the much-needed wake-up call that you need to get your stress levels under control.

The Skin Care Routine You’ve Been Searching For

Clean your Skin with A Superior Cleanser

Throughout the day, your skin is collecting dirt, oil, and other unwanted debris and is covered by bacteria, pollutants and old (and dead) skin cells. Washing your face daily will help to remove those impurities. Leaving your face unwashed could cause clogged pores, dirty skin and a breakout you really don’t need.

You’ll want to find an all-natural facial cleanser that cleanses deep benefit your skin’s surface and provides long-lasting hydration to get you through the day. Stay away from products that contain parabens, petrolum, colorants, fragrances, sulfates, benzoic acid and other harsh and dangerous ingredients. Be sure your facial cleanser contains antioxidant ingredients (like Green tea, Grape Seed extract, and Vitamin C) to help slough off rough, dead skin cells, tone pores and clean the skin.

It’s Time to Tone!

If you’ve been skipping a facial toner, you don’t know what you’ve been missing, especially if you have acne-prone skin! Facial toners help to prep the skin for moisturizer and can get rid of the excess oils, stubborn dirt and makeup that could be left over after using your facial cleanser. A facial toner will also help to keep your pores tight. You’ll want to use a facial toner that contains ingredients that are light enough to not leave your skin feeling tight, but powerful enough to show benefit. These ingredients include Green Tea, Witch Hazel, Marine collagen, Aloe Vera and Cucumber oils.

Moisturizing is Key!

If you’re skin care routine is easiest for you after you shower, that’s great! But did you know that a hot shower or bath can strip your skin of moisture and oils it needs to stay hydrated? No worries – here is where a good facial moisturizer comes in! Using a facial moisturizer replenishes the hydration that your skin needs in order to give you that dewy, glowing skin you’ve been looking for, without making it feel oily to the touch. The best moisturizer includes antioxidants like Grape Seed, Bilberry Fruit, Vitamin C and E and Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA), that offers enriching protection for healthy, smooth, and even-toned skin.

Taking it a Step Further with An Overnight Serum

If you’re concerned about your skin’s brightness or discoloration (especially in the summer due to the sun), you may want to invest in a toning serum. It’s job is to help fight free-radical and chemical damage on your face and neck and brighten your skin tone. Uneven pigmentation can be a serious issue for many women (and men!). An overnight toning serum, especially one with Vitamin C, can help be both protective and beneficial.

Questions about your skin care routine or breakouts? Leave a comment for our certified nutritionists below!


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