Is there a link between acne and stress?

Stress affects your hole body, also your skin! When you are plagued by stress, skin problems and pimples often follow. Learn more here!

Author Mads Timmermann

Mads has 14+ years of experience as a skin expert and has written/read this article.

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Question: โ€œIs there a link between acne and stress?โ€

Hey Mads

I have for a long time followed your newsletters and I love your amazing energy and the way you always seem extremely happy in your newsletters. Well, I am also in LOVE with the information you provide – very cool that you make your advice and guides easy and understandable.

However, I have a question I do not really have an answer to – or have heard you referring to – in your newsletters. I hope you will answer me here :-)

My question is whether stress cause pimples?

Is there a link between acne and stress?

I myself fight with stress and i have been on sick leave from work for 5 months now. I am 27 years old and I think I’m pretty good at following your advice. I do a lot of exercise, eat healthy and so on. I haven’t tried your skin care series, but I’m strongly considering it. Because since I became sick I have had quite a few pimple outbreaks. My mother thinks that I began to get many pimples more or less at the same time that I began to feel really stressed.

So I just thought it might be because of my stress that I get pimples?

Looking forward to hearing your answers. And would also very much like to know whether you think that your skin care products can help me – now that I have stress. And of course, whether your skin care products can help me with my acne if my pimples are caused by stress.

Looking forward to hearing your answers.


Answer to: โ€œIs there a link between acne and stress?โ€

Hello Lise

Many thanks for your kind words. Great to hear that you follow my newsletters and can use my instructions! :-)

I always try to have a positive angle in my newsletters, so itโ€™s really nice that you notice it :-D In fact I believe that we come furthest with a smile.

And yes, itโ€™s just much easier for us all โ€“ at least this is how I feel โ€“ when information and advice is easily done and told in simple words, rather than using all kinds of fancy expressions and slang.

Id also like to thank you for your honest question. To which I just quickly have to say that I am really sad to hear about your illness. I want to wish you all the best of luck! Hope that you will soon be well again โ€“ stress is certainly not a disease that is fun โ€ฆ and unfortunately its a sickness that hit more and more people:-(

In relation to your question about whether stress and acne are linked, studies show that there may be a link between acne and stress. And indeed it is proven that stress can cause pimples and acne, for several reasons.

As you probably already know by yourself, now that you are plagued by stress, is that stress affects the body a lot. Stress can both make one feel incredibly tired โ€“ physically. Just as stress affects the psyche and can make you mentally tired, and these sensations makes you feel that you cannot grasp things. And much much more.

So there is no doubt that stress affects the body a lot. When you are stressed, it is also quite common for the occurrence of an inflammatory reaction in the body. What exactly happens when this inflammation in the body occurs because of stress, we donโ€™t exactly know, But for know it is believed that stress cause the walls of the pores to collapse and thus allow dirt and pus to get into the skins pores. Because stress cause inflammation in the body, this is the reason why stress cause pimples.

Another reason that stress can cause pimples is that stress often causes the body to work overtime. A bit like when we have a lot of adrenaline in the body โ€“ or when we are scared, excited and breathless. Put another way, when you stress the body to work harder, among other things you increases the heart rate and blood flow โ€“ and the blood is pumped more quickly around the body.

This is of course no problem for a short period. Afterwards the body relaxes and this is also back then why also recovery after training, fright, and excitement etc is important. However when you are stressed, the body continues to work in overdrive โ€“ and the body cant recuperate or relax, so the body is not able to recharge.

Another reason why pimples and acne is caused by stress, is that the body is constantly working overtime โ€“ this is why its not the time to focus on the pimples. All the resources in your body is used elsewhere โ€“ its used to fight the stress. Exactly like the stress expels toxins in the body because the blood flow suddenly can not keep pace, cleaning and fixing the blood โ€“ instead of running out of blood, the body chose to settle for a little less blood (if you can say it like that) โ€ฆ and thus redistributes toxins, testosterone, adrenaline and lactic acid back into the body.

For short periods, this isnโ€™t a problem, because the body gets a break and can recuperate and cleanse the body completely back to normal. But with stress, the body doesnโ€™t get a break โ€“ which thus can cause pimples, as there is an inflammation in the body.

A third reason โ€“ closely linked to the above reason โ€“ is that we know that when the body is stressed, the body experiences an overproduction of the male hormone. So when the body experiences stress, our adrenal glands work overtime which result in an overproduction of the male hormone androgen. This overproduction can lead to acne, exactly like the actual hormonal disturbance in the body can cause pimples and acne.

The latter reason about endocrine disruption is also the reason why women who get stress unfortunately are more likely to get pimples and get acne as a result of their stress. For men, where the male sex hormone is already dominant and are available in a big way in the body, stress doesnโ€™t disrupt the body in the same way as with women. Women have naturally far more female androgenโ€™s and hormones, so when stress suddenly causes a much higher production of male androgenโ€™s, the hormone changes in women creates a far greater imbalance.

That being said, the question is whether you actually should think a lot about whether stress is the cause of pimples. In the sense that the stress is not something we choose. Stress can be provoked by all sorts of things and is perhaps one of the most intangible disorders.

What one can take from the above is that recuperation is really important after youโ€™ve had a busy period โ€“ be it at work, with sports, leisure time, or else where. Recuperation is really important. Of course, you shouldnโ€™t compare bustle and stress. Despite the fact that we today practically throw the word stress around a lot, and many hardly believe its anything more then being busy โ€“ bustle and stress Are two entirely different things. Being busy is only healthy as long as you ensure subsequent breaks and recuperation. Stress is not healthy and should of course be taken very seriously.

My point is that you have hardly need to think about pimples, as an after effect of stress. You should rather focus on avoiding other causes to the stress โ€“ and of course in your case focus on getting dealt with your stress and be well, so you can feel fantastic again :-D

But yes, to answer your question. Stress can causes acne. And stress is the cause of pimples and acne for many different reasons. The solution to pimples, acne and blemishes caused by stress is exactly the same as acne caused by anything other than stress โ€“ if you focus on getting well and cured of your stress so that you remove the cause of pimples.

Now Iโ€™m not an expert on stress and Iโ€™m not trying to guide on how you should treat your stress. Furthermore, I strongly recommend that you consult your doctor โ€“ and also seek help from a stress coach.

However, I would like to give you three tips to fight a stressful and busy life. So three tips that can help to eliminate stress problems that cause pimples and acne, from the body โ€“ so that you minimize the chances of getting pimples and acne when you are busy and stressed.


Exercise is a great and simple way to remove stress from your body. First of all, stress is an emotional disorder that comes from having too many balls in the air at once. Therefore, exercise remedy this, because you allow yourself to relax and think about something other than liabilities.

In addition, exercise is really good at creating extra circulation in the body and therefore helping in getting your blood purified and the blood circulation raised. In continuation of exercising, recuperation is extremely important. ESPECIALLY compared to the stress and bustle, this way your body can rest and the hormones fall back into balance.


Meditation is another great way to relax in your everyday life and get something else to think about. Even small breaks during the day or in the morning has a positive effect on many people.

Moreover, meditation is extremely helpful when you want a better control of your breathing, forcing your heart rate down so that the body gets a break and lowers your pulse.


It is not for nothing that itโ€™s called beauty sleep. Sleep is extremely important for overcoming stress. Pay extra attention to a good nightโ€™s sleep without a lot of interruptions, especially when you are busy at work, stressed out and has a lot of tasks. Compared to getting a good nightโ€™s sleep this applies mainly to your ability to hit deep sleep and remain in it. A really good trick here is to remove all electrical appliances โ€“ including television and mobile โ€“ away 1-2 hours before bedtime, so that the eyes and the brain is not focused on the many color pixels and so on. Also never check mails before you go to sleep!

Read instead a chapter in a book โ€“ or better still do 15-minutes of meditation, to get the heart rate down and empty your head of all thoughts.

In the bedroom, make sure it is completely dark. And when you crawl under the covers, focus on putting your to sleep immediately.

A good idea is also to avoid caffeine after 16 PM โ€“ so no coffee, no black tea, no green tea, no red tea, no white tea. Herbal tea is acceptable, if it is a soothing tea โ€“ such as chamomile tea. Dont eat 2-3 hours before bedtime, as this makes the body less able to reach deep sleep โ€“ as the body continues to work hard at digesting the food.

By following the above steps, there is nothing that interferes or affects you and you become more mentally ready to sleep. Itโ€™s also a good idea for adults to go to bed and get 8-9 hours of sleep. You should also be aware that it is easiest to hit deep sleep between the hours. 23 โ€“ 3 โ€“ so if you have problems with stress and trouble sleeping, you should go to bed at. 22 PM and get 8-9 hours of sleep.

It is of course first and foremost important that you try to relieve your stress if you suspect that your acne is caused by stress. The above three steps are good to calm things about yourself, but make sure also to remove the source of your stress โ€“ and be sure to talk with your doctor and other professionals who can help you. A good idea is also (although you may not be on sick leave) to talk about that youโ€™re too busy with your colleagues and your boss, so they can focus on helping you โ€“ before you reach the point where you become really stressed and ill.

Next, try to treat your acne with different products โ€“ I strongly recommend you to look at my skincare seriesย Danish Skin Care. It consists of four products โ€“ 3 products for the evening, and one of them you also use in the morning. Its as easy as it gets โ€“ and you effectively focus on caring for your skin, so you get rid of your pimples.

I also strongly recommend you to look at the following guide to combat pimples and acne:

This is how you remove pimples โ€“ get a FREE GUIDE here

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