Acne and Stress

Stress is a huge factor in acne breakouts and skin inflammation, so it’s expected that during times of stress, sudden and intense breakouts may occur. Sometimes, we don’t even realize we’re stressed until we start to see the results of the stress surfacing on the skin.

I know how frustrating it can be when your skin suddenly breaks out or looks worse than usual. I receive emails all the time asking about skin breakouts and what products are best for them. And while external skin care does have its place along the path to healthy skin, it’s important that we look internally first.

Healthy skin requires a whole body approach, so please put down the products for a minute, step away from the mirror and look within to these body systems:

Nervous System
When the body is living in chronic stress, the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) is activated. In this state, liver and digestive enzyme production decreases, collagen and elastin breakdown and the immune system weakens, causing inflammation and the bacteria that cause skin conditions to surface.

Lymphatic System
Part of our body’s immune system, that when stagnant from lack of proper movement or poor diet, cannot efficiently remove bacteria, viruses and pathogens from the body. When this happens, that bacteria harvests, grows and reproduces, and because the lymph fluid can’t transport it, the body pushes it out of the skin instead, showing itself as acne, eczema, rosacea, etc.

Digestive System
Gut health is vital for all aspects of health. Poor diet and stress can cause an imbalance of gut flora, creating more bad bacteria than good. It can also slow down digestive enzyme production, creating your body to inefficiently breakdown and digest food, preventing full nutrient absorption. Foods like gluten, dairy and eggs can feed bad bacteria and create mucous buildup within the lymphatic system, causing lymphatic stagnation.

It’s All Connected
Every single system in the body is interconnected. When any one system is imbalanced, it doesn’t take long for the others to follow because of this. For example, if you’re eating a really healthy diet but your nervous system is imbalanced, then we know that the production of enzymes will be slow, so your body won’t properly benefit from the foods that you’re eating, because of the lack of full digestion and nutrient absorption. It’s ALL connected.

The most important thing to understand is that healthy skin requires a whole body approach because your nervous system, lymphatic system, and gut cannot be healed with a daily face mask alone. External skin care, when done properly, can improve and balance your skin’s acid mantle and microbiome, but true skin health comes from a healthy body, especially in stressful moments… regular relaxation techniques for your nervous system
daily movement for your lymphatic system, and
a healthy, whole foods diet for your digestive system

As for external skin care though, minimalism is best! As often as possible, go without makeup. In the morning, splash with water and apply a couple drops of facial oil. In the evening, oil cleanse and the follow up with a couple of drops of facial oil. If you’re experiencing any skin inflammation, this is all your skin will need right now. Doing too much to the skin is just going to aggravate your skin more and increase the inflammation.

If you want to dive deeper into this, I would love for you to reach out to me for some help and guidance.

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About Rachel Devine

Rachel Devine is a multi award-winning holistic aesthetician and the founder and skin care formulator of R Devine Organic Skin Care.