Acne is mostly naturally occurring, no arguments there, however, sometimes, the acne breakouts we suffer are as a result of stress; mental, physical, and even emotional. So don’t beat yourself too hard, especially if you’re a stickler to the almighty rules and regulation of skincare.  

The lower extremities of our faces are typically the zones that showcase a stress breakout. Scientific studies show that when we are stressed, our primary stress hormones like cortisol are released in large amounts, and as a result, our body tries to adapt to it. However, the stress hormones produced are in far more excess than what’s required which can trigger or exacerbate inflammation, and even purging via the pores.

These studies postulate that stress triggers our adrenals to pump out more cortisol, which can majorly compromise our immune system. The health of our skin hinges on the health of our immune response in a major way—pimples are a sign that our hormonal balance (or lack thereof) is freaking out, too. It is not all hopeless, because when you feel a wave of stress coming on, you can see the signs and heed these tips to help you combat it.

Exercise, but not too intensely

Work out in the morning, when your natural cortisol rhythm is meant to be highest, and don’t overexert. Intense workouts can cause adrenals to overproduce, so if anxiety already has that going, you don’t want to exacerbate the issue. Make sure to do a cool-down and stretch, which is a soothing way to tell your body that everything is alright. 

Try a breathing exercise

Yep, try breathing to clear up your skin. A great basic breathing exercise is the 4-7-8 breath, in which you inhale for 4 counts, hold for 7, and exhale fully for 8, repeating as many times as necessary. Studies show breathing exercises like this have an immediate effect on lowering your heart rate and controlling your body’s stress response.

Eat for immunity

Foods high in antioxidants like dark berries and cacao will seek out free radicals produced by stress. Foods like ginger and garlic will strengthen our natural immune response, which has a direct effect on skin health. Herbs like ashwagandha and rhodiola help control stress and aid in relaxation for restful night’s sleep.

Try a spot treatment

Since stress breakouts tend to stick to the lower part of the face, you don’t want to over treat your entire face. Apply a clay mask where the stress manifests itself, exfoliate a little more, and spot treat when necessary.

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