The link between stress and acne is often debated. However, what is clear is this. When a person becomes stressed, the body releases a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol triggers a number of reactions affecting the skin (a) it messages the sebaceous glands to increase sebum (oil) production which increases the likelihood of acne breakouts (b) high levels of cortisol blocks collagen production which can inhibit skin repair (c) last, but not least, stress promotes inflammation and oxidative stress (lack of oxygen in the bloodstream) which leads to acne. Oxidative stress happens when the body reacts to stress by redirecting blood and oxygen away from the skin to other areas to fight the stress. This leaves the skin starved for blood and oxygen.  By the time that happens, the hair follicles (pores) are already primed with additional oils, dead skin cells and waxy build-up. A perfect storm for a fresh stress-induced breakout!

How to Prevent Stress Breakouts

Stress acne looks like any other acne triggered by the factors outline above. It’s important to recognize stress-induced acne so you can implement the correct regimen to treat the condition and prevent future stress-related breakouts.

Clearly, reducing stress is important. While that sounds easier said than done, the fastest way to combat stress-induced acne is to exercise to improve blood flow and oxygen to the skin since that is the root cause of the stress acne. It’s a strategy that will not only improve your skin, it will lower cortisol levels in the body too.


People who exercise after stress-induced acne appears, see positive results and clear skin 80 percent faster due to internal healing.

Next, like all acne suffers, developing a skin care regimen to keep your skin clear, hydrated and conditioned will prevent future breakouts next time you are stressed out.