I bet you know someone who blames everything on stress. Including their acne. But does stress really cause acne? Stay tuned for the answer!
Stress is a very powerful force capable of affecting probably every organ in your body. Never underestimate the roll of stress in causing human disease. It affects each organ differently. It can make your heart race, your lungs gasp and wheeze, your stomach churn and burn, and your back ache. In terms of your skin, there are only a handful of skin disorders that I feel we have a scientific basis on which to attribute causation at least in part to stress. Acne is one, especially in females. Let me explain why.
Believe it or not, your body has an organ specifically designed to help you deal with stress. Whoever designed the human body really knew what they were doing!
That organ is called the adrenal gland. When your brain perceives stress, it sends a messenger to your adrenal gland which makes it secrete a hormone called cortisone, the stress hormone. It helps your body respond to and cope with the effects of stress. Nothing mysterious here.
In both men and women, when the adrenal secretes cortisone, a tiny bit of testosterone leaks out of the adrenal and enters your circulation along with the cortisone.
Now onto Acne. Oil is the absolute root cause of it… And if you have too much oil, you are much more likely to have acne breakouts. Well… here’s the connection: the primary cause of oil production is dihydrotestosterone, the chemical all testosterone is turned into. And dihydotestosterone is the only chemical that turns on oil glands and causes them to make excess oil… which in turn can cause acne breakouts...
The reason women are affected by this much more than men is because women normally have such a small amount of male hormone in their blood that the small amount that leaks out with the cortisone represents a meaningful increase in women’s blood testosterone level.
In men who have a lot of testosterone, the small additional amount doesn’t have much of an impact.
So the next time you’re stressed, get out your zit meds… you’re probably going to need them. And by being prepared, it will no longer be something to stress about!