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Acne And Stress

by: Michael Raetford
Stress - Since your skin in your largest organ, how you live can sure influence how healthy your skin is. And stress, not necessarily "bad" stress, but rather certain external and internal stressors, factor into this health equation. So let's take a look at how to handle these stressors with regards to acne prevention.

External Stressors- A goal of acne prevention would be to keep your skin pores clear from clogging and becoming infected and irritated, resulting in blemishes and inflammation. So you need to take a look at your external environment throughout the day for factors that could trigger skin pore clogging. Here are some examples of what to look for: grease, oils and sun, like being around open fryers in kitchen areas, or around machine oil and grease in workshops or factories, or out in the sun all day on a construction jobsite. Too much oil, grease or sun on the skin can clog pores and trigger acne and other skin irritations.

Minimize contact by wearing long sleeves and other protective wear and gear and discussing further options with your dermatologist or healthcare provider. With regards to being out in the sun, note that a small amount of sun each day can be fine and healthy. However, extended periods can trigger the sebaceous glands to create more oil as your skin dries out. At the same time, the dried out skin needs to be cast off or shed at a faster rate than normal. The resulting extra oils and dead skin make a wonderful environment for pore clogging. So here, too, use protective clothing for outdoor activities and apply sunscreen; oil-free products are best for acne-prone people, and those with a minimum protection of SPF 15 and both UVA and UVB protection.

Internal Stressors - Internal stressors like anxiety, fear, low self-esteem, depression and a variety of other internalized emotions, can trigger chemical reactions inside your body that can result in acne flare-ups and other skin irritations. What happens is that these emotions can set your adrenal glands to work creating more cortisol, the substance that in turn causes your sebaceous glands to produce increased amounts of sebum oil, excessive amounts of which can be blocked in pores. Same old story: extra oil + extra dead skin cells = blocked pores, triggering acne flare-ups. With internal stressors, though, the results are usually "inflamed papules" or small, solid inflammations (or skin elevations that do not contain pus), instead of whiteheads or blackheads.

To combat internal stressors and prevent acne problems, here are some suggestions. Get plenty of rest and sleep a recommended average of eight hours per night. Try to maintain regular hours each day, regardless of which shift your work. Some say to focus on reducing SWAT: reduce your stress, worry, anxiety and tension, so journal a little each day mentioning any "SWAT" stressors you've felt. And focus on those that may seem overwhelming or to be taking too long to "end," seeking help from others or other resources as needed for stress management. Check with your dietician or healthcare provider to establish and follow a regular well-balanced dietary and exercise plan of action to keep your body healthy on the inside and outside. Keep a check list of "Things that Calm You" handy for stressful times, like reading a book, resting, listening to music, taking a walk, going out for an ice cream cone, etc.

About the author:
Michael Raetford writes for www.acness.com
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