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Does stress cause acne or does acne cause stress?

Neal B. Schultz, MD
Dermatology
Both. Stress definitely causes acne by hormonal release of the stress hormone cortisone which is then accompanied by release of male hormone testosterone, which stimulates oil glands and causes acne. In turn, acne is stressful because of the detraction from our appearance and also from the discomfort that acne pimples and cysts cause. So, we have a positive feedback cycle in that acne causes stress, and stress causes acne and the best way to break the cycle is to treat and prevent the acne.

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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.