My Stress Gives me Acne and my Acne Gives me Stress!
Acne doesn’t stop for everyone after high school. I’ve seen plenty of patients in their 20’s and older looking for help with their acne. I often hear a similar story from patients: things are really stressful right now, my diet has been off, I’m not sleeping well, my periods have been wonky and I think all this is causing me to break out! And they are usually correct. Acne is often the end result of a lot of things going wrong. That’s why creams, washes and face procedures may help partially but they don’t always completely resolve it. To get good results, acne needs to be treated from the outside and the inside.
Stop the Stress Cycle
Stress is one of the most common acne triggers I’ve seen in my practice. Acne can also trigger a lot of stress. This can make for a cruel stress-acne-stress-acne cycle. Implementing strategies like mindfulness and exercise is important for soothing stress. When that’s not enough, I recommend acupuncture and certain nutrients and herbs to cool down the body’s stress response. Sometimes you may benefit from a cortisol test to see whether this stress hormone is too high or too low. Both scenarios may contribute to acne and they are treated differently.
It’s also important to make sure you’re going to bed at a reasonable time and getting enough hours of sleep. This is key for the health of your skin cells and for keeping inflammation and your stress hormones in check. If you struggle with sleep, there are many natural options for improving the quality of your sleep.
When you’re more stressed, you’re more likely to pick at those pimples. That means spreading more acne-causing bacteria around your face and worsening your acne. We’ve all been there. Quelling stress can help you break those nervous habits that are worsening your skin.
Don’t Forget the Rest
Lowering stress is important for reducing acne but there is also other work that needs to be done. I work with my patients to optimize skin-essential nutrients, reduce foods that trigger inflammation in the skin and test and treat hormone imbalances like estrogen and testosterone abnormalities. Combining all of these approaches makes for a powerful punch against acne.
To reduce acne scarring, even out skin tone and improve the health of the skin I recommend cosmetic acupuncture to some of my patients. I like to combine it with regular, traditional acupuncture which is especially powerful for reducing stress. Like I said before, acne needs to be treated from the outside and the inside. To learn more about how cosmetic acupuncture works click here.
So if you’re longing for that dewy, fresh skin, let’s make it happen. Treating acne may seem superficial but once it’s under control you would be amazed at how much your confidence can soar. Once you feel confident, you feel more excited about heading out into the world and facing work, social situations and life in general.
Dr. Samantha Dass is currently a naturopathic doctor working at Holland Landing Health Centre in East Gwillimbury, Ontario, which services Holland Landing, Newmarket, Aurora, Keswick and Bradford areas. If you are interested in naturopathic services please contact Holland Landing Health Centre at 905-853-7900 or via e-mail at [email protected].