Managing stress, managing acne.
By William Graves, Modupe Olubunmi Soji-Adeyemo
It’s not uncommon for spots to appear in times of stress, and when a person with acne is particularly tense, more oil is produced, causing the hair follicles to clog and more acne to form. Sebum is the oily substance that mixes with dead skin cells and bacteria to block the hair follicles. It’s not clear whether the cells that produce sebum have receptors for the stress hormone, but its increased presence on the skin leads to increased redness, inflammation, and a pimple or an acne cyst to form.
Often, stress and acne can interact in a harmful cycle. When you’re anxious or stressed, you are more likely to aggravate the skin by picking your spots or acne. This can result in excessive scarring, which is called acne excoriate. Acne is a chronic long-term skin condition, and it requires regular treatment topically or orally. Treatment will not reduce stress, and it’s advisable for patients to seek support in managing their stress levels. Nevertheless, when acne is treated and cleared, patient will have nothing to pick.
So how can we avoid stress and deploy coping strategies when it arises? The first thing to do is to recognise stressors and the cause of discontent. From here, there are several things that we can do, and we've got some ideas to get you started:
Can you identify triggers in your life? Once you’ve identified pressures, assess what can be eliminated or reduced. We often take on unnecessary responsibilities that cause anxiety and contribute very little to our wellbeing, and cramming everything in leads to rushing around. Go easy on your self, cutback, and slow down.
Take control and accept the things that you can’t change
It’s easy to feel helpless when under stress, but remaining passive won't help. There may be things that you can’t change, but focusing on what you can do to manage or influence a stressful situation will help to dispel the disconcerting feelings that come with the perception of being out of control.
Avoid unhealthy habits
Smoking, excess drinking, and binge eating are just a few of the unhealthy habits that can creep into our lives in taxing times, and it’s surprising how we can become reliant on these harmful coping mechanisms to manage stress. Try making positive lifestyle choices that coincide with improving your wellbeing.
Exercise improves sleep and causes the body to produce endorphins known to present stress-busting benefits.
Being active is a wonderful way to reduce the emotional intensity that clouds our judgment and hinders our ability to effectively manage challenging periods. Exercise improves sleep and causes the body to produce endorphins known to present stress-busting benefits.
Do something you enjoy
Reserving time in our busy schedules to do the things that we enjoy is important to maintaining a positive outlook. Even if you can only set aside 20 minutes a day to read, practice a musical instrument, or complete another activity that brings you joy, you must take a break and remember not to neglect your hobbies.
Try something new
Getting stuck into something new can be a great way to build self-confidence and resilience. By continually learning, you’ll realise newfound determination and find the belief that you’re capable of overcoming even the toughest of challenges.
Spend time with friends and family
Friends and family can be a great source of encouragement in times of difficulty, and spending time with those close to you can ease your worries. Talking things out can often be beneficial, and others can provide support and an alternative perspective on your troubles.
We tend to overlook the positives in life when we’re stressed and focus on the negative. In such times, it can be useful to take some time to appreciate what we have. Try considering the things that you’re grateful for and make a note of a few of them each day.
Prioritise your workload
If taking a break or slowing down isn’t an option, prioritising your workload and organising your time is essential when incoming jobs never seem to let-up. Complete the most pressing tasks first and set realistic targets.
You can find more information about acne and managing stress via the NHS website.