Acne can be a frustrating and troubling symptom for a young adolescent or teenager trying to deal with problems associated with school such as achieving good grades, fitting into the social scene, and interacting with other teens. We all know that acne can cause stress in it’s sufferers, but could these stressors actually contribute to the development of acne? It seems to be so according to a new study which looked at stress as an acne cause.
This interesting study carried out in Singapore examined 54 female and 43 male secondary school students who had mild to moderate acne symptoms. The researchers looked at the study participants in two phases. In the first phase they looked at the students under high stress conditions, such as during particularly stressful times at school which might include exams, deadlines, social events etc. In the second phase, they examined them under low stress conditions, for example, during summer holidays when the students were able to relax. Each participant was asked to fill out a questionnaire and their level was stress was assessed using a standard stress scale.
What did the study show?
The researchers found a definite correlation between documented stress levels as measured by the stress scale and the development of acne lesions. They were also able to show in this study that the increase in acne lesions relating to stress was not due to increased sebum production, but to some other acne inducing factor. The researchers are proposing that stress may increase the production of inflammatory chemicals which can have an adverse effect on the development of new acne lesions.
The idea that stress is an acne cause is further supported by a study done at Stanford University which showed that college students developed worsening of their acne symptoms around the time of exams. It would certainly appear that stress does aggravate acne to some degree in the majority of test subjects looked at.
If stress is an acne cause, what can be done to reduce the frequency of acne lesions? There could be a role for such stress reducing activities as biofeedback, aerobic exercise, yoga, and meditation in preventing acne outbreaks. These activities would certainly have their advantages in reducing overall stress levels in teens who seem to be the most prone to the development of acne lesions. If you or someone you know has problems with acne, encourage them to spend a little more time relaxing and watch those acne lesions disappear!