Does Stress Cause Acne?

Obviously around finals time, everyone we know is completely stressed out. Stress can have multiple side effects on your body & mind, but is acne one of them? If so, WHY? 

After reading many articles on the topic, the answer still seems unclear. Some articles suggest that while stress doesn't directly cause acne, it could worsen existing acne; but the reason why is unclear. Another article claims to KNOW that stress causes acne, but the study done only included 94 high school students, and out of those students, only 23% were more likely to break out because of a stressful situation, like a midterm. 

The article that I, personally, found most help was an article in the Huffington Post that attempts to debunk this beauty myth. Dr. Anne Chapas explains in the article that there are two types of stress: psychological stress and physical stress. Both types of stresses have been found to raise cortisol levels in the body, which is a contributing factor to acne. But what what uncertain, even to the doctor, is whether these breakouts are stress-related or are they a result of the things we do while under stress?

The doctor suggests, "When people are under psychological or physical stress, maybe they aren't eating as well, maybe they aren't getting enough sleep, maybe they're not taking their makeup off at night." 

So, stress may not be directly causing the breakout that you're freaking out about, but something is. The best way to reduce the chance of breaking out (while under stress or not) is to make sure you are taking good care of your body, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, taking off your makeup before bed, and using a skin-care regimen that works for you. 

happy finals. :)



I always thought that my breakouts were directly related to me being under so much stress. I do not typically have a lot of acne, but towards the end of the semester I do see an increase in the number of pimples on my face. I was hoping it was due to stress, but now after reading this blog I know that they are not directly related. It could be a ripple effect however. Stress causes fluctuations in eating habits which then can be related to an outbreak of pimples. This is interesting and I am going to try and find some results similar to my idea!

I don't think stress causes acne directly. I think stress may cause a person to sweat more, eat more, etc. This in turn will cause the acne, not the stress itself. Sometimes when people are stressed they skip the important daily routines and items that are acne blockers, such as getting a good nights sleep, showering, and eating healthy.

I feel stressed all the time, but I sleep right, eat healthy, and take care of my body and I am acne free. I think this says a lot about the society we are living in. Everyone thinks to blame something for causing something, when maybe they just need to simply wash their face.

I recommend Kiehl's products to anyone suffering from serious skin problems. They are really good and can be found online, at a Kiehl's store near you, or major department stores like Bloomingdales, Nordstroms, and Neiman Marcus.

I think this is interesting in that it's easy for a third party to skew the "data", though this is more of an observation than an experiment. I do believe that other factors play a role in the development in acne, and would have to agree with the doctor. Yes, stress may cause acne. But as stated, when people are stressed, they may eat unhealthily, and be less concerned with washing their face, hence leading to acne. It's difficult to draw a direct correlation between stress and acne, but there certainly may be indirect causation.

I agree with Brian that I also don't think stress causes acne directly either. But, I think it is the lack of sleep or the junk food we eat while staying up late that causes it.
I suffer from acne and I know that when I'm stressed, which leads to lack of sleep, I tend to break out more.
Also, maybe there's a change in our hormonal levels when we are stressed that could possibly be cause "stress acne".

I think that there could eventually be a huge medial discovery that disregards any link between acne and stress. You can relate this to what we talked about in class. Although this is just a guess from me i think it could happen. Many thought that stress caused ulcers for the longest time until it was disproved. I think there could be a similar case here. This might just be a causation but usually when people are stressed and if they get acne because they know they are stressed they might just blame it on it. Does anyone else agree? For all we know stress could be the cause but more experimentation and research needs to be completed. An interesting blog would be if somebody analyzed the different causes of acne and not just focus on stress.

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