June 27, 2014

How to Tell if Your Breakout is from Stress or Diet

"My skin is freaking out! How do I know whether my breakouts are from stress, diet, or 
a combination of both?"

In my experience, when someone says, "My skin is freaking out!" it usually means that they're experiencing breakouts and dryness at the same time. 

Testosterone is the hormone responsible for oil production in the skin. Oil glands are bigger in the T-zone area of the face, while in certain places (like the sides of the chin) the pores are smaller due to natural facial contours.

In the case of stress, an adrenaline rush can produce an overwhelming amount of testosterone, which in turn produces an oil rush to those T-zone pores. If your skincare routine is either pore-clogging or dehydrating, the oil can't come through onto the surface of your skin. This back-up of natural oil is what results in a nasty, irritated breakout. With non-clogging, hydrating skincare products, the skin is more pliable so less oil is held back. If you break out primarily around your mouth, chin, and forehead, stress is likely going to be the primary problem.

So what about diet? 

If you eat a lot of "inflammatory" foods, the immune system can become sensitized (not compromised) by things like digestive issues, allergies, colds, asthma, etc. As a result, your skin could become hypersensitive and unable to deal with anything remotely irritating, like any harsh cleansers or facial scrubs. In this case, your skin will simply look crappy all the time, pretty much all over.

I notice this also in cases of sensitivity to dairy, and diets that include one or more sources of iodine, which has been shown in scientific studies to aggravate acne breakouts.  The breakouts seem to be in many areas, as though the skin just isn't "working right".

If you would like personal, individualized help determining what could be causing your breakouts, I offer a service specially designed for ages Gen-X through Baby Boom called Eval by Email®. Filling out a form about your breakout history and current skincare, beauty care and hair care routines gets you a full analysis by email, as well as a sample packet of skincare products to try out at home.  Full sizes of my products are available at my web store with just $7 flat shipping to anywhere in the US!  Let's get your skin clear together!

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