Its easier to prevent and treat stress pimples only when we know what causes them, how to spot them and what other factors can trigger or worsen pimple prone skin.Simply put, pimples are a combination of oil, dirt and bacteria.They can be triggered and worsened by lifestyle, hormonal changes and genetics.
Broadly there are two ways to find out if pimples are caused by stress. Firstly, if they appear right before an important(rather stressful) event such as an exam, presentation, interview or even a wedding.
Secondly, they occur mostly on forehead or near the nose(oily areas of the face).
Now, how stress causes pimples? -when we are stressed out our body produces a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol increases oil production in the body, if due to genetics, poor diet, lack of sleep and unhygienic habits the skin is already acne prone then stress will definitely act as a trigger and cause more pimples. Therefore, it is not only imperative to manage stress better but also to take care of other factors, as elaborated below.
How to prevent stress pimples
1. Stress management
I know its easier said than done, it’s only human to feel stressed out and anxious. But there are few things you can do to combat stress and its various side effects on the body.
Meditation-Have you ever noticed that our breathing speed increases while we are anxious? If the answer is yes than simply focusing on your breath will not only slower the breathing speed but also calm you down after few minutes.
Deep breathing for 5-10 minutes twice a day reduces stress and rejuvenates you.( if interested in a new and simple meditation technique read my post on heartfulness meditation.). For those not interested in meditation check out below how working out can reduce stress too.
Exercise-Any kind of exercise be it yoga, aerobics, weight training, dancing or just a 20-30 minute walk around the block will calm the mind down by producing happy hormones called endorphins-they instantly relax and freshen you up.
Other than reducing stress, exercise will boost immunity and raise your fitness level. ( Always cleanse your face after workout with a face wash suitable to your skin type to avoid clogged pores due to sweat)
Diet plays an important role in maintaining skin health and preventing pimples. There are various foods that cause inflammation and increase oil production, resulting in clogged pores and pimples.
The foods to avoid for healthy skin( and healthy body) are deep fried foods like french fries, starchy foods such as white rice, pasta, foods with high sugar content and dairy. Consume fiber rich green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits that are rich in anti-oxidants such as berries and watermelon ,good fats such as fish, avocado, walnuts and almonds.
Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water in a day to flush out toxins regularly. Fresh fruit juices and smoothies is another great way of consuming vitamins and detoxifying. For anti-oxidants, consuming green tea twice a day is a great option.
Following a hygienic skin care routine plays an important part in preventing pimples. Wash your face twice a day. Do not touch or pick pimples. Sleep on clean pillow covers, always use sunscreen while going out in sun. Never sleep with make up on, it will clog pores and hinder skin renewal process that happens during sleep( its called beauty sleep for a reason).
Uneven sleep pattern or less sleep produces stress hormones resulting in pimples and pre-mature ageing. Try to sleep for at least 6-7 hours.
How to treat stress pimples
There are various over the counter spot treatments for pimples, use products containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.( these ingredients might irritate sensitive skin, use in very little quantity, continue only if they suit you).
For those who prefer natural ingredients- Tea tree, aloe vera and neem work pretty well for acne prone skin.
Along with spot treatments you can use cleansers and moisturizers with salicylic acid too. For oily skin apply a natural toner such as rose water after cleansing, then use a non clogging, gel or water based moisturizer.Exfoliate 2-3 times a week.
For dry skin skip the toner part and wash face only once a day. You can use natural moisturizers too such as sweet almond oil or apply honey for 10 minutes-its anti-bacterial properties will prevent pimples as well. Include good fats in your diet.( mentioned in the diet part above).
In conclusion-Now you are aware of how stress causes pimples, simple answer is-our skin reflects whats going on in the body. To prevent and treat pimples cleanse your system from within-eat healthy, keep the mind relaxed, workout, drink lots of water,sleep better, keep your face clean and be mindful of the products you apply- read the ingredients carefully,they should be noncomedogenic(i.e non-clogging) and paraben free as these are skin irritants.
If you have a severe case of acne then consult a dermatologist. If pimples occur around your menstrual cycle then they are hormonal pimples which can be prevented too by following the steps above.