Stressful times can lead to breakouts

Research has shown that increased stress can be linked to new outbreaks or worsening acne.

The main reason for this is the chemical reactions and changing hormone levels in your body when you’re stressed. For example, during times of stress, cortisol (the stress hormone) increases oil production which can stimulate acne.

Most of the research around stress and acne focuses on teenagers. Typically stressful times include major exams and other assessment periods during high school or early years of university.

However, financial problems, work pressures and personal crises such as major illnesses or relationship breakdowns are also known to increase stress levels.

Tips for managing stress

While it’s almost impossible to eliminate stress from your life, you can learn to manage some situations better and reduce the impact on your emotional and physical wellbeing. 

For example, developing regular study routines along with good planning and time management skills should help reduce your stress at exam time.

It’s also a good idea to try some relaxation and stress reduction techniques if you notice your acne is worse during times of stress. You might find activities like walking or listening to music help you to relax.

Other people find specific relaxation techniques like slow breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation and visualisation exercises are worth learning and incorporating into their daily lives.

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