Is there a connection between stress and acne?

Patricia Farris, MD

There have been several studies showing that stress can cause acne.  A study of teens showed that acne often flares as a result of pre-exam stress. Adults also have been shown to have acne flares related to work and personal stress. Current theories point to a brain hormone called corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH).  Stress triggers the release of CRH which  turns on sebaceous gland function and differentiation resulting in acne. This brain-acne connection explains why so many patients complain of stress related break outs. I suggest yoga or meditation to my patients. These are excellent ways to relieve stress without medication.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Like most skin conditions, acne can be made worse through stress. Unfortunately, the worsening acne can, in turn, lead to more stress, and a cycle that can be very difficult to endure. It is important to know all available treatment options, and to not accept the condition as inevitable.


Continue Learning about Acne

Avoiding Adult Acne
Avoiding Adult Acne
Won't they ever go away? As an adult, you expect pimples to be a thing of the past. But for many adults, blemishes continue to mar otherwise healthy s...
Read More
How are blemishes on my chin related to my hormones?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Pimples on your chin can be related to changing hormone levels within your body and to touching ...
More Answers
6 Weird Facts About Acne
6 Weird Facts About Acne6 Weird Facts About Acne6 Weird Facts About Acne6 Weird Facts About Acne
Discover bizarre truths about acne and learn how to fight a bad breakout. Weighed down with acne woes? You’re not alone. A whopping 40 to 50 million p...
Start Slideshow
Can I Over-Wash My Face?
Can I Over-Wash My Face?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.