For many years Dermatologists said that pimples were entirely a physical phenomenon, not related in any way to anxiety and stress. However, scientists have now proven the link between psychological problems and many physiological problems – including alopecia (hair loss), hormone imbalances, appetite disorders, insomnia and, most emphatically, skin breakouts.

The mechanism that causes our skin to break out in stress pimples, is related to hormone changes with the increased production of cortisol and adrenalin. Both of these cause the oil producing glands in skin to make more oil and this in turn can trigger acne outbreaks and other skin problems as pores become blocked with this excess sebum.

Appetite changes during periods of extreme stress can be either under or over-eating. When our appetite is decreased, our bodies do not take in sufficient of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are vital for our body to function optimally. Over-eating tends to be snacking on refined, high fat, high sugar product. Both these extremes have negative effects on our skin.

Being unable to sleep because we cannot switch off from a stressful day, causes problems for many thousands of people living hectic lives. Stress can lead to reduced production of Melatonin which is vital in regulating the internal clock of our bodies but also in helping to protect our bodies from free radicals. A serious lack of Melatonin also causes lipids to be destroyed in the cell membranes. The result for skin is pimples and blemishes or dry and flaky patches.

Long term stress also results in a lowering of the body’s immune system. This leaves our skin open to attack from acne-causing bacteria that invade the pores and set up the inflammation that causes pimples and blemishes

Evidently, pimples caused by stress can be treated with topical pimple treatment products and there are many over the counter products available although many people prefer to take a more natural approach and use many ot the excellent and effective home remedies for pimples. However, this is not addressing the root of the problem and unless a more holistic approach is taken to manage the cause of the stress and its effects on our bodies, those stress pimples will go on appearing.

Treating the appearance of stress pimples as an early warning system will enable the sufferer to take action and avoid the more damaging effects of stress such as blood pressure problems and even heart disease. It is therefore vital to recognize these skin changes for the ‘wake-up call’ that they are and take steps to address the root cause of the problem rather than just treating the symptoms.

Whilst living a stress-free live is beyond the grasp of most of us, the demands of daily living ensure that more and more of us are living life ‘on the run’, being aware of the cause of problems and taking some time out for relaxation, meditation or just some quiet ‘me’ time, can bring huge rewards in terms of long-term health benefits. We owe it to ourselves to look after our skin – and addressing those changes caused by stress could save us from more serious health issues in years to come.

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