Whether you’re naturally prone to acne breakouts or not, the added level of stress in the pandemic can affect some people’s skin. The increase of your stress hormones can contribute to unwanted acne flare-ups, and it can be pretty annoying because it doesn’t always go down like normal acne flare-ups.

What exactly causes these seemingly stress-induced acne breakouts?

Stress alone does not directly cause acne breakouts, but there is a correlation that high-stress periods cause more acne breakouts. Preexisting acne conditions and the surge of different hormones when you are stressed can also aggravate this. This is because cortisol (stress hormone) can trigger your glands to produce more oil than usual. Many anecdotal reports also suggest that when they are under extreme stress, it causes them to have acne when it has never been an issue for them. But up until now, it is still not fully understood how stress can truly affect acne-related problems.

Stress in the pandemic

The pandemic has, without a doubt, been stressful. Many traumatic events have happened within the span of nearly two years, being in an abnormal working or schooling setup. A survey conducted by the American Psychological Association states that overall stress has increased to a point where many people resorted to unhealthy coping mechanisms that affect their weight gain and weight loss. There are a lot of factors that can affect one’s stress level in the pandemic. The fact that many have been isolated for so long with little to no social interaction can stunt one’s mental health. Some also have more pressing struggles such as losing their jobs and failing grades because they cannot cope with the online setup. The list is endless.

Stress is much more prominent now than before the pandemic. It can lead to various health problems such as depression, muscle deterioration because of the lack of physical activity, and the milder one, which is acne breakouts.

How do we cope with stress-induced acne?

Acne can be really annoying. Not only does it leave unwanted scars and uncomfortable bumps on your face, but worse comes to worst, it can be harrowing when it’s horribly infected. Stress-induced acne can be a different beast to treat only because it’s not because of poor hygiene but because it is your body’s way of responding to stressful stimuli. The easiest way to get rid of this sudden outburst is not to be stressed, but that’s easier said than done, and not all of us can avoid being stressed.

  1. Exercise regularly

Exercising is a great way to relieve tension and stress. Doing so regularly can help regulate your stress levels. Any physical activity will do. Running, yoga, and going to the gym are great ways to unload all of that stress.

  1. Hydrate a lot

Hydration is important. When your skin is too dry, it can cause inflammation which can lead to acne breakouts. Staying hydrated every day is a good way to avoid this from happening.

  1. Do not be sleep-deprived

Sleep deprivation can make you lose your A-game, which can lead to more stress. Sleeping is also a way for your body to restart and rejuvenate itself. So get enough sleep, preferably a good eight hours. Let your mind and body have a chance to restart and relax.

  1. Do not abandon your skincare routine

In times of immense stress and prolific acne breakouts, you should be more religious in your skincare routine. This aids your skin fight back inflammation and contamination that can cause pimples. Wash your face, moisturize, and exfoliate once a week. If worse comes to worst, a visit to a dermatologist to get a facial or treatment to get all that gunk out of your face would be more helpful than you think.

  1. Do not pop your pimples

It can be tempting to pop your own pimples, but it’s been proven that doing this by yourself can lead to more inflammation and even infection. Do not do this; let it heal by itself. Spot treatment through pimple patches can be a better and safer alternative.

  1. Use gentle products

If you’re the kind to use fragrant soaps or harsh cleansers, stop it. Harsh products can irritate your skin even more and cause more pimples. Opt for non-fragrant soaps and gentle products instead. Treat your skin like a baby, and it will thank you in these trying times.

Going through stress is normal. The most crucial part of minimizing these stress-induced breakouts is to be kinder to yourself. Take breaks and practice self-care. Even robots overheat under intense stress and non-stop work.

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