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Who wants to deal with pressure or stress? I bet no one is raising his or her hand right now. We’re all subject to it at higher or lower degree at different times in our lives. Whatever the reason is – job, family, kids, money, health or personal concerns - unfortunately; this can take a toll on you physically—including your skin!
Here’s a look at the science behind stress and what it means for your acne. Additionally, we’ll take a look at physical pressure and the damage it can do to your skin as well, which is something many people tend to overlook in discussions like these.
Pressure or certain doses of stress is an unavoidable part of life, and actually, it’s been important to the survival of humanity. When humans experience a stressful situation, our bodies go into “fight or flight” mode—a state where senses are heightened and the brain is ready to make a decision to attack or flee at a moment’s notice. For generations, this ability to gather our “internal resources” has been responsible not only for our survival but also for the progress we had made.
In ancient times when pressure was often a physical danger, like a predatory animal looking for a meal, this fight or flight response meant the difference between life and death. In today’s society, the stakes are much lower since the pressure is typically caused by challenges at work, financial concerns, marital issues, etc. Even though certain scenarios might not be a matter of life or death, your body still has a distinct physical reaction to stress, and this can spell trouble for your skin.
When the body enters fight or flight mode, a few things happen physically, but most importantly for acne sufferers, the immune system goes on high alert. This reaction leads to inflammation, which is an immune system response to harmful stimuli. While this is a perfectly natural and necessary function, it has drawbacks.
If you’re constantly stressed by everyday factors, your body will similarly be in a constant state of inflammation. This can lead to skin that is red, painful to the touch, and prone to acne. While the underlying hormonal causes of acne must still be present for a breakout to occur, anything that damages your skin’s health (like inflammation) will increase its risk and severity. And as sex hormones are considered a main culprit in over-stimulating sebaceous glands, adrenaline and noradrenaline- so-called “stress hormones” - may do it too.
Sweating and stress go hand in hand. While scientists are still baffled about the evolutionary benefits of this physical reaction, there’s no denying that a close call on the highway or a looming deadline can make even the calmest of people break out into a cold sweat! Unfortunately, this unsightly side effect is especially bad news for people with acne.
If you’re currently dealing with breakouts, your skin’s pores are already clogged. When you add more sweat into the mix, you’re simply contributing extra dirt and debris to create a breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria. While you might not be able to stop pressure-induced sweating, you can minimize its damage by staying clean.
While stress-induced pressure is bad enough, the physical pressure you place on your skin can contribute to breakouts as well—sometimes in ways you would not expect. For example, in moderation, exfoliation is a treatment that can remove dead skin cells clogging your pores and give you a fresh, healthy appearance. However, when done too often or too vigorously, this can leave your skin raw, painful, and inflamed because of its abrasive nature and ability to strip too much oil from the skin. Keep your exfoliating regimen to no more than once or twice a week and be careful not to over-scrub. When possible, create your own all-natural exfoliating mask to avoid potentially harsh chemicals in store-bought ones.
Makeup is another common pressure culprit. In today’s image-obsessed world we place a lot of importance on physical appearance—and for many women this translates to hours of preparation and large quantities of makeup. However, caking on products can actually hurt your look in the long run.
In addition to the weight of the makeup itself, items like makeup brushes can push products deep into your pores, which can lead to clogging and start a breakout. This is especially problematic if you’re using a dirty brush, because in addition to the makeup, you’re also allowing dead skin cells and acne-causing bacteria into your pores.
To avoid these problems, only wear makeup occasionally and never apply more than you really need. Additionally, be sure to thoroughly and gently cleanse your face afterwards—never go to bed wearing makeup! When using a makeup brush, use light strokes to avoid pushing makeup into your pores, and be sure to clean it at least once a week using warm water and a small drop of shampoo.
Some stress and pressure can be alleviated and there are some times when we can’t escape it. For those reasons, we normally recommend an effective moderate exercise regimen as a way to de-stress. In addition to adopting this regimen, many AcnEase® users play it smart and prevent acne from further damaging their complexion.
AcnEase® combats the underlying cause of your acne, which is normally hormonal, and does not alter your hormones in any way - it only buffers the way your body reacts to excess hormones in your bloodstream. When too many hormones are present in your blood, your skin’s sebaceous glands produce an excess amount of sebum, wreaking havoc on your skin. AcnEase® moderates these effects, without having to use harsh chemicals which cause side effects.
We want to hear from you. How has stress or pressure affected your skin, and what have you done to resolve it? Tell us in the comments. We’re here as your personal sounding board!