a women staring intently into a mirror while squeezing a pimple on her chin

Stress Acne: What It Is and How To Fight It

This may not be a coincidence if you've noticed worsened acne breakouts and acne severity when you're under more stress. Stress won't cause acne, but it can worsen it.

Clogged pores cause acne; pores clog when the oil glands produce too much oil. Stress can spike a hormone called cortisol which can increase sebum production. Sebum is an oily substance that protects the skin. Too much sebum can lead to clogged pores.

Nourishing Biologicals knows how inconvenient breakouts can be. They can be uncomfortable and lead to acne scars, but they can even take a toll on your mental health — it's hard to feel confident with blemishes like a zit (or five) on your forehead.

However, there's no need to stress; take a few deep breaths and keep reading. We're going to show you how to fight off these provoked pores.

What Is Stress Acne?

Essentially, stress acne is when a breakout worsens due to increased stress. Your body is full of different hormones, and these hormones all have various jobs. Cortisol is the hormone your body releases when it perceives physical or emotional stress. Cortisol is often referred to as the "stress hormone."

The stress hormone can increase heart rate, blood pressure, and sebum production. Too much sebum production in your sebaceous glands can lead to clogged pores, blackheads, whiteheads, and acne flare-ups.

Of course, sometimes acne and breakouts can be completely unrelated to stress since there are different types of acne. Sometimes bacteria or dead skin cell build-up are the cause of your breakout.

Stress can worsen a breakout, but sometimes a skincare routine or lifestyle habits can be to blame. The good thing is, nobody's perfect, so we're going to fill you in on all ways to fight acne — stress-induced or not.

How Can You Help Reduce Stress Acne?

Acne is more common in young adults ages 13 to 19. However, adult acne is not unheard of. Often adults experiencing acne don't have puberty-related hormonal imbalances to blame, which is why stress is often their first guess.

If you think your acne flare-ups are caused by chronic stress and aren't cystic acne, the best thing to do is take it easy. You want to lower your stress levels as much as possible. Of course, that can be easier said than done, but we may have a few tricks to help.

At-Home Spa Night

There is no better way to calm your stress than a night of pampering. A hot bath paired with the right skincare routine and your favorite skin care products can elevate your basic evening into a night of luxury.

There are many ways to turn your average weeknight into something special; here are some of our tips to help you set the mood with an at-home spa night.

Light a candle

Lighting your favorite scent can seriously settle your mood. Scents like lavender are naturally relaxing.

Take a Hot Bath (or Shower)

Hot baths are known for relaxing the mind and body, but hot showers work. Baths are nice because even if the water is boiling hot, it won't affect the skin on your face. If your shower water is too hot, it can lead to dry skin.

Read a Book or Watch a Movie

Whether you're a book or movie connoisseur, we suggest laying back and enjoying your downtime the right way —-- with whatever wellness activity you prefer.

Intricate Skincare Routine

We don't want you to see the word intricate as a bad thing; sometimes, spending extra time on your skin can be relaxing. Grab your robe and slippers and head over to your vanity; it's time to pamper your skin!

Skincare routines include a cleanser, exfoliator, essence, moisturizer, and facial serum.

Our Miracular Line comes complete with everything you'll need, from cleansers, serums, eye creams, and more.

How To Help Prevent Stress Acne

Preventing stress acne from occurring is your best line of defense, and we have tons of tips and tricks to help you do so!

Bottom line, pimples are no fun —- stress-induced or not. There are ways to prevent most acne from developing unless certain skin conditions cause it.

Exercise Regularly

Excessive exercise can cause stress to your body leading to a spike in cortisol. Still, healthy and regular exercise can lower the stress hormone (and the stress breakouts that can follow).

The increased blood flow can help bring nutrients and oxygen to the skin leading to reduced acne flare-ups.

What Are Effective Acne Treatments?

Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are topical spot treatments that can help clear up the skin. Salicylic acid removes dead skin cells that can clog pores, and benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria.

Bacteria and dead skin cell build-up are two common causes of breakouts. Either can be bought at most drugstores and are sold over-the-counter.

Wash Your Face Twice a Day

Washing your face twice a day is the best way to ensure there is no unwanted build-up. Be sure to use a nourishing and high-quality cleanser during each wash.

Nourishing Tip: Having a morning and evening skincare routine can benefit your skin in many ways — you can read about it here.

Get Plenty of Sleep

Sleep is essential for your physical and mental health. If you don't get enough sleep, it can even affect your hormone levels and the health of your immune system.

Sleep gives your skin time to repair, hence "beauty rest." A lack of proper sleep can lead to dry or more acne-prone skin.

Limit Your Caffeine

No matter how bad that evening pick-me-up is calling your name, your skin is begging you to ignore it. A cup of coffee (or two) a day won't be harmful, but high caffeine intake can cause dehydrated skin.

How To Help Preventing the Risk of Acne

Various factors can cause acne, but if you've limited your stress and are still noticing flare-ups, here are other ways to combat these stubborn pimples.

Talk to Your Dermatologist

The only thing more stressful than stress acne is acne you can't seem to get rid of. Sometimes breakouts are due to factors you can change yourself, and other times they're not.

If your acne is persistent and won't budge (no matter how many lifestyle changes you make), talking to a dermatologist might be helpful.

Avoid Sleeping In Makeup

No matter how tired you are after a long night, we suggest you avoid sleeping in your makeup.

Your body uses this time to repair and rest the skin. If there is a lot of makeup, oil, and bacteria on the skin, it won't be able to properly rejuvenate itself.

Your skin has a natural exfoliation and rejuvenation process. When you leave a layer of makeup on, it creates a barrier preventing your skin from properly carrying out this natural process.

Wear Sunscreen

Wearing sunscreen every day is good for your skin's health. If your skin isn't adequately protected with quality sunscreen, it can suffer sun damage.


Moisturizing every day is a crucial part of keeping your skin clear. If your skin is left dehydrated, it can lead to peeling and discomfort and cause an increase in oil production.

Our Miracular Face Serum is ultra-hydrating and can help visibly reduce the look of fine lines, wrinkles, and dull-looking skin.

Drink Plenty of Water

A topical moisturizer is one way to moisturize your skin, but ensuring you're properly hydrated is another.

Hydration is an essential part of your skin health and your entire body — consider your new habit of constant water intake as a form of self-care. If drinking plain old water gets boring, consider adding fruit.

Lemons and cucumbers are great ways to add some flavor and antioxidants.

Be Careful With Your Makeup

Everyone appreciates the occasional glam, but your makeup may clog your pores even if you’re using hypoallergenic products. If you’re having issues with your skin, we suggest taking a break from makeup for a little or until your skin clears up.

Makeup is fun and all, but the natural look is what’s in. All you need is perfectly glowing skin — courtesy of Nourishing Biologicals.

A Stress (And Acne) Free Future Awaits

At Nourishing Biologicals, we understand that stress acne can be frustrating, but the last thing you want to do is get upset. That can worsen your already bad breakout. It may take some time to get your skin precisely where you’d like it to be, but patience is key.

Achieving clear skin isn’t as simple as lowering your stress levels. It’s often a combination of a good diet, exercise regimen, skincare routine, and lifestyle choices.


Acne - NHS

The association between stress and acne among female medical students in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia | PMC

Acne Breakouts | NIH News in Health

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