The word "acne" often evokes images of pimply teenage boys and the awkward days of high school. However, the reality is that numerous men struggle with adult-onset acne; in fact, about one in every five adult men over the age of 30 experience acne. It may surprise you to learn that stress has been implicated as a leading cause of acne in men. If you are a guy who suffers from acne, then you should understand how stress in your life affects the condition and what you can do about it. Here is what you need to know:
Understand the link between stress and acne
For teenagers, acne is primarily caused by the normal hormone changes experienced during adolescence. Hormones, such as testosterone, androgen, and estrogen, are all culprits in creating acne breakouts in teens. Many pregnant adult women also experience problems with acne; once again, the cause is hormone fluctuations, but this time, the changes are related to pregnancy.
The relationship between hormones and acne is fairly clear; hormones are tied to increases in skin oil production, which in turn leads to blocked pores and creates a fertile breeding ground for acne-causing microorganisms, Proprionibacteria. What is also known is that stress can create hormone imbalances that eventually lead to the same acne problems.
For men, who don't experience hormone fluctuations associated with the normal biochemistry of female adults, the possible causes of acne can be narrowed to a small list. And, for most men, unless there is an unusual genetic factor or other outlying cause at work, the blame for their adult acne can be often pinned on stress.
Cut down your stress levels
Since stress is implicated as a likely cause in adult male acne cases, lessening stress should become a priority for men with acne. If you can control your stress levels, there's a good chance you can keep acne at bay. Other treatment strategies can be important, though they are often focused on treating symptoms; however, stress reduction will attack the root causes of your acne.
There are simple, safe and fast ways to relieve stress that you can perform at any time. One of the most effective techniques is to deliberately take control of your breathing; here's how you can do it:
- Sit or lie down if possible, but don't worry if you can't.
- Begin taking slow, deep inhaled breaths through your nose.
- Slowly release your breath through your mouth, counting to eight while releasing.
- Place your hand on your chest, and feel the breaths as you inhale and exhale.
Repeat this process several times, if needed, and you will find immediate relief from stress as your body takes in oxygen and adjusts to a lower level of excitation.
Keep your face clean
As your body heals itself, it's important to keep your face clear of the oils that lead to acne. Using a daily stripping product will prevent pores from clogging and acne-causing bacteria from accumulating. However, be careful that you use products designed for adult acne sufferers; cleansing products for acne are often created with the oily-faced teenager in mind, and these chemicals are too harsh for a typical male adult face. You do not want to remove all your facial oils, or you may develop itchy, scaly skin or even enhance or cause wrinkling.
Seek medical intervention
In some of the most severe cases of acne, stress relief and facial cleansing may not be enough to slow down the onslaught. With acne that results in serious inflammation and infection, you should seek the assistance of a doctor in order to prevent possible scarring. You can find an excellent dermatologist at http://desertdermatology.net/. Here are some medical strategies that can help your acne:
- Antibiotics - these medications fight the infectious process directly and can help your skin to recover. Keep in mind that they do not attack the root causes of your acne, however, and you will still need to address the hormonal imbalances brought on by stress.
- Hormones - these medications can eliminate the hormone imbalance within your body. Be cautious when taking hormones, though, and always follow your doctor's instructions explicitly to avoid any harmful side effects.
- Topical therapy - this consists of a number of different treatment options, including the use of dry ice applications or skin care products. Some of these products can cause excessive drying, so follow directions, and don't overdo your cleansing regimen while using them.