Does Stress Cause Acne?

Acne is more than just a teenager’s problem. Many adults struggle to control acne breakouts, too. As an experienced dermatologist, Lisa Hitchins, MD, offers comprehensive care for acne that focuses on preventing breakouts and improving the overall health of your skin.

Dr. Hitchins treats acne in both teens and adults. Many patients ask what’s causing their acne and worry that stress is a contributing factor. Here, she explains how stress and other factors contribute to acne and what treatments are available.

An overview of acne

Acne is a very common skin issue that develops when the sebaceous (oil) glands in your hair follicles become blocked with dead skin cells and excess oils.

Small, clogged openings appear as whiteheads, flesh-colored bumps on your skin. Large pores develop blackheads, small dark spots on your skin. Both whiteheads and blackheads can progress into acne lesions that become inflamed and fill with pus.

In cases of severe acne, your pores can become so inflamed they become hard and painful. Infected nodules underneath your skin can also develop.

Underlying causes of acne

There are many factors that play a role in the development of acne. Your genetic history and your hormones are primary players in acne breakouts.

You might also be prone to acne due to:

  • Naturally oily skin
  • High androgen levels
  • Use of hormonal birth control
  • Overgrowth of bacteria in hair follicles

Stress can also contribute to acne breakouts, but doesn’t directly cause them.

How stress plays a role in acne

When you’re under a lot of stress, it can have an impact on your physical body. Stress can make any type of skin wound including acne heal much slower than usual.

Because your acne is slow to heal, the pimples on your skin remain there longer and can worsen in severity. If you have many pimples on your skin, your acne breakout can look severe and take much longer to go away.

When you can no longer manage or prevent acne breakouts with over-the-counter products and a good skin hygiene routine, we can help you find a solution to protect the long-term health of your skin.

Effective treatments for acne

There are a number of topical products Dr. Hitchins can recommend to control acne. These products contain benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, sulfur,  or retinols/retinoids. , and you apply them directly to your skin to treat existing acne.

If you have an infection from a severe acne outbreak, you might need prescription antibiotics to clear it. If you have acne lesions primarily located on the jawline and chin which flares during your menstrual cycle, you might benefit from prescription oral medications such as oral contraceptives and anti-androgen drugs.

Dr. Hitchins can also recommend skin care products for cleansing your skin and sunscreen for acne prone skin.  There are also cosmetic products she can suggest that are suitable for those with acne.

It’s also important that you avoid touching acne-prone skin as much as possible. If you tend to squeeze visible pimples, you can increase your risk for infections, long-term skin damage, and scarring.

Get the help you need for acne by scheduling a consultation online or by calling Dermatology of Northwest Houston today.

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