Breakouts aren’t always emotional, but in some cases they can be attributed to one particular emotion, stress. It happens a bit like this: There’s the initial stress that signals your skin to birth a zit in the first place, then there’s the stress that you have a zit, which prompts more zits to pop up, and then, even if you’ve suddenly found a way to keep your cool, you have to pull a few decidedly stress-adjacent maneuvers like remembering to apply pimple cream every few hours, to set yourself up on a path to clarity. Scientists theorize that certain hormones react to stress, which in turn communicate to your sebaceous glands—your skin’s natural oil factory—to rev up production, thereby upping your breakout chances. And that’s just the overview of how stress impacts your skin—keep in mind that taking a look at stress-related conditions is relatively bold new terrority for researchers. Who knows what we’ll find out in a few years or decades from now?
In the meantime, a good place to start is with the stress itself. It’s no good anyway. In addition to breakouts, it’s connected to hair loss, unfortunate stomach, uh, incidents, headaches...the list of health dramas never ends. But since a consequence of life itself is that stress is inevitable, the best we can do is break out the tools that can help manage it, and calm us down. Sorry, but none of us have the answers over here; this is where you come in. What do you do to relieve stress? To prevent it from happening in the first place? To keep cool when you’re feeling anything but? Maybe it’s a drink, or an app, or the tears of your nemesis, whatever. There are no wrong answers here, but please oh please, can we leave pimple-popping off the table?
Photo via ITG.