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Regardless of age, gender, period, the causes of acne problem, which many people suffer from, have always been a matter of curiosity. Pimples are caused by the combination of overproduced oil, i.e. sebum, and dead skin, which clog the pores. But there are many types of acne that have different triggers. The relationship between acne and stress, which can show different formations in the body, has been researched for many years.

Until the last 10 years, research has not been enough to prove the relationship between stress and acne formation. However, many studies over the past 10 years support a relationship between stress and acne formation.

According to the scientific data revealed by the latest studies, the answer to the question of whether acne occurs due to stress will be yes. Because the skin, like many other organs of the body, is affected by stress. For example, pimples observed during a stressful period look slightly different from those observed during a non-stressful period. Compared to normal periods, acne occurring during stressful periods; look like larger, bumpless pimples.


Lisa Garner, Professor of Dermatology at the University of Texas, has also conducted studies confirming a relationship between stress and acne. According to Garner's studies, if someone with acne problems is in a stressful period, sebum cells act up. This causes more acne formation, clogging of hair cells and more oil production on the skin. Thus, the increased stress level with increasing acne causes more acne. Similarly, sebum-producing cells act as receptors for stress hormones. That is, while experiencing stress; hormones trigger sebum, and sebum triggers hormones; They turn this period into a vicious circle.

Another study was conducted at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in 2007. According to this study, which was based on high school students in Singapore, acne worsens during exam periods compared to low-stress periods like summer vacation. That's why the researchers who conducted the study think that the increase in acne may be due to higher levels of sebum produced during stressful times. However, research shows that psychological stress does not significantly increase sebum production in teenagers, and there may be other underlying causes of stress-related acne.


Pimples caused by stress are large, non-tip and swollen. During this period, an increasing number of blackheads (closed comedones) and whiteheads (open comedones) can also be seen.

Hormones such as cortisol and androgens, which are secreted by the endocrine glands due to the rising stress level, can cause the formation of stress acne.

These hormones increase the production of sebum, a protective, oily substance naturally produced by the sebaceous glands that open into hair follicles. The increase in sebum causes the proliferation of P.acnes bacteria that live on human skin and feed on sebum. The presence of a large number of P. acnes on the skin activates the immune system. To prevent this bacterial growth, white blood cells secrete an enzyme that can damage the wall of the hair follicle. This secreted enzyme causes an inflammatory reaction. Each of these factors, both separately and in combination, causes reactions that lead to acne formation.


Although it cannot be determined whether stress affects acne precisely, an idea about whether there is a connection can be obtained by noting when stress is experienced and when the stress level decreases. If the period of stress and increased acne formation match, there is a possibility of a connection. If the appearance of acne does not match stressful times, the condition is more likely to be related to environmental factors.

In addition, it is necessary to consider the possibility that acne is not directly related to stress. Acne can be caused by stress-based habits, not stress. for example, drinking more coffee than usual during stressful periods can cause an increase in cortisol production and have an impact on the microbiome. In addition, not paying attention to personal hygiene, sudden changes in eating habits or changing the skin care routine can also worsen the condition of acne. Seeking help from a dermatologist is the surest way to see how best to deal with acne.


Whatever the type or cause, it is of course possible to treat stress acne as well. The first move in the fight against acne should be to develop a daily skin care routine that is specific and correct for your skin. The skin should be cleaned, moisturized and renewed regularly. Make sure that the selected products are suitable for your skin type.

If we accept stress as a factor that contributes to the formation of acne, reducing the level of stress in order to prevent the formation of acne can be considered a kind of treatment. Small changes, such as a sport or a new hobby, are very easy solutions to reduce stress levels. When stress management is provided with such activities, stress-induced acne will also be prevented.

Some people can't help touching their faces and playing with pimples, especially during times of stress. No matter how stressful it is, pimples should never be touched or squeezed. If it is squeezed and popped, it means that these pimples leave permanent marks on the face and spread.

In addition to these, consuming healthy foods containing probiotics that will be good for intestinal bacteria is also very beneficial for body health. Other foods that positively affect body and skin health are fresh vegetables and fruits, fermented foods, plenty of water and beverages containing less caffeine.

In summary; Stress can trigger acne breakouts. However, acne formation is a problem encountered most of the time, not only during stressful periods, and the cause may be one or more of many physical or environmental factors.

In such cases, the best solution is to determine the factors that cause acne and to prevent it and to apply the right methods. Staying away from stress and managing stress is one of the sine qua non for eliminating both mental and physical acne problems. However, if acne becomes a big problem in daily life, whether it is due to stress or not, the best solution is to start acne treatment by consulting a specialist dermatologist.

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