Does it ever seem like your most stressful days happen to coincide with your worst breakouts? According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee (aka Dr. Pimple Popper), stress is not the primary cause of blemishes.
However, the ways you cope with stress and the effects that stress has on your body can definitely exacerbate breakouts. We’re here with all of the facts about the connection between your stress and your spots, so you’re better prepared to deal with both.
How does stress affect your immune system?
Pimples in their simplest form are inflamed or infected hair follicles. To fight infection, your immune system sends white blood cells to destroy germs. However, when you’re stressed, your brain tells your endocrine system to release hormones that prep your body for emergency situations. This has some consequences:
- Depressing your immune system, which makes it harder for your body to fight inflammation
- Releasing a hormone called CRH (corticotropin-releasing hormone), which can increase the skin’s oil production and cause more spots
Keeping pores clear can help ward off breakouts before they turn into inflammatory blemishes. SLMD Skincare Salicylic Acid Cleanser contains a powerful exfoliant, beta hydroxy acid, that helps clear skin and unclog pores.
How does stress affect your lifestyle?
Stress can also have adverse effects on your lifestyle. Everyone reacts to stress differently, but common symptoms include:
- Trouble sleeping. Altering your sleep cycle can trigger your body to release those same blemish-causing hormones that lead to excessive oil-production. It also prevents your body from conducting its natural night-time repair process, which is when your skin cells turn over.
- Poor eating habits. Dairy consumption has been linked to blemishes due the presence of additional hormones. A high-glycemic diet—one with many refined carbohydrates, including sugar— rapidly raises your blood glucose and insulin levels and may lead to more frequent breakouts by causing inflammation and skin stiffness.
- Disruptions to normal skincare routines. A busier schedule can cause your skincare to suffer. Maintaining a consistent skincare routine is important for managing oil levels, keeping your skin clean and preventing breakouts.
Does stress lead to pimple popping?
One of the most harmful and common responses to stress is picking at your skin. When faced with nerves and anxiety, many of us suffer from a condition called neurodermatitis, which causes us to pick or scratch at our skin. Although this is a very typical reaction, it often worsens any redness or inflammation.
Dr. Lee’s best advice at overriding this instinct is to use products formulated for blemish-prone skin, with ingredients like salicylic acid, sulfur, and retinol. This will help prevent pimples in the first place.
When a spot does pop up, don't pick it! Stick to your routine and apply your favourite spot treatment to address swelling, redness and inflammation overnight.
How to prevent stress related blemishes
First things first: let's take a deep breath...and remember that blemishes aren't the end of the world. But since they can be a sign that our bodies are out of balance, Dr. Lee suggests a holistic approach:
- Eat a healthy diet
- Get adequate sleep
- Practice mindfulness
- Maintain a consistent skincare routine
Dr. Lee's Cleanse, Treat, Moisturize philosophy is an easy, practical way to stay consistent with your regimen. SLMD Skincare Blemish-Prone Skin System provides three simple steps to take morning and night. It includes these blemish-care essentials:
- Salicylic Acid Cleanser: removes dirt, oil and debris.
- Sulfur Lotion: formulated for blemish-prone skin.
- Retinol Serum: supports the skin cycle.
- Facial Moisturizer: keeps skin balanced.
The last thing you need when you’re stressed is a breakout. With these tips, you can keep your skin healthy and happy, so the rest of you can follow suit.