The following insights and recommendations have been provided by Danielle Hulan, MSW, RSW.
We’ve all heard that stress can contribute to, or aggravate acne. There is however another culprit, which is behavioural – What you do or don’t do when stress hits. For example, one common stress habit is putting your hands on your face (or around the face) or picking at imperfections on the skin’s surface (without even realizing!). These behaviours introduce all of the bacteria on your hands to the skin on your face.
Do you have any stress habits like this? Some people find it beneficial to focus on replacing the behaviour with something more beneficial, rather than trying to stop it cold turkey. You might try pressing your palms (or the pads of your fingertips) together with a few deep breaths, or massaging a natural hand cream over your palms and fingers.
Stress can also halt behaviours that help keep acne at bay. When you’re stressed behaviours like following through on our skin care regimen or having great sleep hygiene suddenly fall off the wagon. Be gentle with yourself. If you forget to wash your face, or find yourself sleeping next to your cell phone (or scrolling from the bed sheets), try to reign in these behaviours the following night. Finding a gentle way to stay connected to your self-care habits during periods of high stress can actually be a very helpful way to fight acne.
If you find that you can’t stay connected to your self-care habits or need more support to address the stress in your life, this could be the opportunity to connect with a counsellor or therapist in your area. Psychology Today is one excellent resource to begin the search!