Ever noticed that when you're stressed and anxious, your skin can suffer too? If you're prone to acne and breakouts, periods of elevated stress and anxiety can really make your breakouts worse. Hormone fluctuations are the main cause and anxiety may also cause you to do things like spot squeezing or skin picking which causes scarring and may spread bacteria - increasing the likelihood of a future breakout. No matter how 'satisfying' picking or squeezing is - seriously, try to avoid doing this.
Stress causes skin to produce more oil. This increased production of oil can easily clog hair follicles, allowing acne to form. Stress also causes blood to flow away from the skin and to parts of the body more vital to survival (that good old fight or flight). Reduced blood available to the skin can cause skin problems, such as aggravating acne.
Anxiety suppresses the body’s immune system, which can adversely affect the body’s ability to fight off intruders - i.e bacteria. Anxiety also causes an inflammatory response in the body, which can cause the walls of pores to break. This can cause the body to respond with redness around the broken pore and an influx of puss (gross!).
Treating acne holistically is the most effective way to achieve long-term clear skin. Looking at diet, sleep pattern and stress is a great place to start. Integrating adaptogens - natural plant extracts that help the body deal with stress, can be super helpful in combatting internal inflammation. Take a test to see what you're intolerant to - what inflames your body and causes a stress response. Finding better ways to manage stress and anxiety in the long term is also important - talking with a therapist or attending a support group can be amazing, and there are a loads of resources online too.