No one likes living with acne. It pops up for seemingly no reason, and causes a great deal of self consciousness and distress. There are a lot of different factors that lead to the development of acne, but many believe that anxiety and acne are linked.
The question is: does a person get anxiety because they have acne, or does a person get acne because they have anxiety? And, if it's the latter, does curing anxiety provide you with a valuable acne treatment? We explore these questions in this article.
Anxiety is a Separate Condition
Your anxiety is always something that you should treat, because allowing your anxiety to flourish will only cause long term problems.
Anxiety and acne are two separate conditions. Acne alone cannot cause the development of an anxiety disorder, and anxiety alone cannot lead to acne. The two also share a considerable number of causes - especially puberty and sexual changes. But let's look at the links between anxiety and acne, and then discuss what this means for treatment.
Anxiety Can Cause Acne
Anxiety alone doesn't create acne, but anxiety can cause acne breakouts, and increase the frequency of acne development.
Acne is the result of bacteria in the skin and skin oils. When you have anxiety, several changes occur that may lead to acne breakouts:
- Hormone Fluctuations Stress hormones released during anxiety cause changes in your pores and possibly an increase in skin oils. This combination clogs pores, allowing bacteria to grow, ultimately leading to acne. This is the most common link between anxiety and acne.
- Sweat Sweat doesn't actually cause most facial acne. That's a myth. But sweat may increase the amount of body acne you experience (since sweating and rubbing can create some forms of acne), and sweating may cause dirt and germs to be more likely to live and stick to your skin.
- Behaviors Anxiety may also cause various behaviors that increase the likelihood of an acne breakout. For example, anxiety may cause you to touch your face more. Touching your face doesn't necessarily cause acne (that is also a myth), but too much facial touching may cause you to spread bacteria that could conceivably lead to acne breakouts.
Acne May Cause Anxiety
Unfortunately, acne can cause you to experience anxiety, because acne may make you overly self-conscious about your appearance. However, it is rarely the cause of an anxiety disorder, but it can be a contributing factor, especially if you are dealing with the condition over a period of time. In these cases, even if your acne is causing your anxiety and not the other way around, an anxiety intervention may help.
How to Tell if Your Anxiety Causes Your Acne
It can be difficult to evaluate if anxiety is causing the acne or if the acne is the result of hormones or other unrelated issues. Keeping a diary and monitoring any breakouts alongside periods of anxiety may show help determine a diagnosis. However, speaking to a doctor and treating both conditions independently will result in a better outcome.