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4 Tips for Coping with Acne-Related Anxiety and Depression

Most people are familiar with the acne caused by puberty. Some kids have it worse than others, but most kids and young adults deal with it to one degree or another. Massive breakouts can ruin school pictures, cause social anxiety, and even absences from school. Once adulthood arrives, you don’t expect to deal with those pubescent troubles anymore. Unfortunately, adult acne can follow you well into your 20s and beyond.

What’s even worse than the physical manifestation of pimples on your skin? The emotional roller coaster that comes with those pimples. Acne can cause depression and anxiety, and, of course, depression and anxiety can cause even worse acne. To break out of this vicious cycle, you have to address the issue at the root — you have to get rid of the acne. How?

1. Create a Skincare Routine

One of the most critical steps to get rid of acne is to keep your skin clean and treated. Get yourself into a skincare routine that you will follow religiously. It should include cleaning your face twice a day. Follow up with acne treatment. This could be something like a salicylic acid face wash. If you need something stronger, a prescription acne medication is a powerful treatment. Follow up with moisturizer and SPF.

It will also help to ensure your pillowcase is clean. A dirty pillowcase can contribute to the buildup of dirt and grease on your face. Make sure to replace your pillowcase once a week. Finally, don’t put anything on your face that will add to the buildup. Comedogenic products and pore-clogging makeup can make bad acne even worse.

2. Manage Your Stress

One element many people still don’t realize contributes to acne is stress. Stress is one of those issues in life that causes new problems and exacerbates existing problems. While stress does not cause acne directly, it can throw your hormones out of balance. Unbalanced hormones will cause your skin to produce more oil, which causes acne.

You can take steps today to manage your stress and help heal your skin. Work on getting plenty of sleep — at least 7-8 hours a night. Try yoga and deep breathing exercises, which can also help regulate your hormones. If your stress, anxiety, or depression feel out of control no matter what you do, consider talking to a professional. Evidence reveals that talk therapy has tremendously positive outcomes for most patients.

3. Build Exercise into Your Day

Another practice you can put into place to help acne, stress, anxiety, and depression is exercise. Moving your body enough to get your heart rate up and keep it up has a positive physiological effect. It can balance hormones, keep blood sugar in check, and open clogged pores. As a side benefit, it pumps your body full of endorphins — a happy hormone. Just be sure you shower right after exercising so the sweat doesn’t sit on your skin.

To build a new exercise regimen into your life, set a schedule. Make sure you find the best time of day and an exercise you enjoy. Then, stick to your schedule a few times a week. Once you’ve stuck to this routine for a few weeks, it will feel like second nature. And you can add more days and types of exercise to your routine. Over time, you should notice improvements in your skin.

4. Change Your Diet

You’ve likely heard the expression, “You are what you eat.” Well, it’s true in more ways than one. Eating unhealthy foods can negatively affect your skin. Many highly processed foods are high in refined carbohydrates and have a high glycemic index. This can lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, which in turn may trigger the release of insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). These hormonal changes can stimulate the production of sebum, an oily substance that can contribute to the development of acne.

Highly processed foods, especially those rich in trans fats, saturated fats, and refined sugars, can also promote inflammation in the body. This is associated with various skin conditions, including acne. Instead of junk food, reach for clean, whole foods. Fresh fruits and veggies are rich in water and nutrients to support plump, firm skin. Fatty fish, nuts, and seeds are also packed with fats and vitamins essential to your skin’s health. A good rule of thumb is to consider how close to its original state your food is. The closer, the better.

Take a Multifaceted Approach to Acne Treatment

The great news about all these changes is that they all contribute to one another. The more regular exercise you get, often the better you will sleep and manage stress. The better you eat, the more energy you will have for movement. Also, the more you take care of your skin, the better you will feel about yourself. In the end, these actions will not only keep your skin healthy, but they can also make you happier and healthier overall.

A happier you with clean skin is much less likely to be depressed or anxious. Furthermore, the above tips to cure your acne are also known to treat depression and anxiety. You really cannot lose here. So many people don’t realize how much power they have to dramatically change their lives. With a few small steps, you can start today on the road to healthier skin and a happier you.

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