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Stress and Acne: Unravelling the Complex Connection

Acne isn't just a teenage dilemma. Many adults, especially women in their 30s, grapple with it. While various factors can trigger adult acne, there's a significant link between our stress levels and skin breakouts.


A woman feeling stressed about her work

Understanding Stress

Stress, in its essence, is the body's response to external or internal challenges. It can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). When we encounter stress, our body releases stress hormones, including cortisol, to help us cope.

Stress and Skin Physiology

Our skin is sensitive to changes in our internal environment. When stress levels rise, the skin can produce more oil due to the increased production of cortisol. This excess oil can clog pores, leading to inflammation and acne breakouts. Additionally, stress can slow down the skin's healing process, making acne scars more prominent.

The Gut-Brain-Skin Axis Revisited

Stress doesn't just affect our skin directly. It can also disrupt our gut health, leading to a cascade of reactions that can exacerbate acne. When stressed, our gut barrier can become compromised, leading to inflammation, which can further aggravate acne.

Practical Advice for Managing Stress-Induced Acne

  1. Manage Stress: Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and regular physical activity can help reduce stress levels.

  2. Skincare for Stressed Skin: Gentle cleansing, avoiding over-exfoliation, and using non-comedogenic products can help prevent stress-induced breakouts.

  3. Seek Professional Advice: If acne persists, consider consulting a doctor to address both skin concerns and underlying stress.

Schedule a consultation today and start your acne recovery journey today.


The intricate relationship between stress and acne underscores the importance of holistic well-being. By understanding and managing our stress, we can take a proactive step towards achieving clearer, healthier skin.

This blog post was medically reviewed by Dr Summer Zhang.



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