Covid-19 Skincare: How to get Rid of Stress Acne in Quarantine

by Raychel Agramon, RN, MPM, April 28, 2020

how to get rid of stress acne

How to get rid of stress acne? The stresses of dealing with the novel coronavirus – a respiratory condition that has affected more than a million people worldwide – may prove to be too much for some people. There’s always the fear of contracting the virus, which has led to more than 50,000 deaths in the United States alone. 

Even if you deem yourself to be well-equipped to deal with such stresses, there are times when they just get to you. And when this happens, headaches, muscle pains, sleeping problems, and an upset stomach may manifest. 

To make matters worse, stress may also lead to a face full of acne. That's because worrying about the Covid-19 (among many other things) can lead to hormonal disruptions, which often result in breakouts. 

how to get rid of stress acne

Stress and Hormones

The US National Library of Medicine defines stress as a form of physical or emotional tension. It can result from any thought or instance that makes one nervous, frustrated, or angry. While it’s the body’s normal reaction to anything that is deemed ‘threatening,’ it can be harmful in the long run. 

As has been mentioned, prolonged stress may lead to acne. According to Dr. Adam Friedman of George Washington University, stress can boost the levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). It can bind to the skin’s sebaceous glands, structures that produce sebum. This oily substance is useful for the body, as it coats the skin and keeps it moisturized. However, when it is produced in excessive amounts, it can block the pores. This then leads to pimples – red, inflamed lesions that are oftentimes filled with pus. 

Although acne is more prevalent in adolescents and teens, it can plague adults as well. Apart from stress, Harvard experts blame breakouts on an unhealthy diet and the use of pore-plugging skin products. 


how to get rid of stress acne

How to Reduce Stress – and the Hormone that Causes Acne 

Since stress can spike the levels of the acne-causing hormone, you need to manage your anxiety effectively. Here are 10 tips that can help you alleviate stress – and the pimples that usually come with it:

  • Acknowledge your feelings.
  • It's normal to be scared or anxious about the novel coronavirus. What's important is that you acknowledge and express these feelings in a good way. You can put your thoughts on a journal, or you could talk to family or friends. If you feel that you need professional help, you can always refer to the National Alliance on Mental Illness's online support community list

  • Be mindful.
  • Mindfulness is a state of mind that allows you to be in touch with the present, so you don’t pine over the past or the future. To wit, it is acceptance and the awareness of what’s presently happening. Such can be done by doing the following exercises:

    • Senses and breath
    • Body scan
    • Thoughts and feelings
    • Mindful breathing 
    • Loving kindness

    how to get rid of stress acne

  • Socialize.
  • No man is an island. According to the Mayo Clinic, having a social support network can help improve your ability to cope up with stress. Apart from that, socializing (albeit from a safe distance) can help improve your mental health – and heart health too! 

    You can socialize as much as you need to – despite the social distancing rule that is put in place. With the help of modern technology, your friends are just a text, call, or e-mail away. 

  • Limit your Covid-19 news exposure...for the meantime. 
  • Although knowledge is power, knowing too much can prove stressful for some. After all, the novel coronavirus seems to show no signs of slowing down. With that being said, it's okay if you take a news breather – even for a bit. You can try to avoid the Covid-19 updates for several days, or you can ask your family and friends to not mention the topic in the meantime. 

  • Get some sunlight.
  • Sunlight is a cheap and healthy way for stress relaxation. After all, it helps trigger the release of serotonin, a hormone that can boost your mood. It can make you feel calm and focused - just what you need to get rid of acne-causing stress. 

    how to get rid of stress acne

  • Rekindle your old hobbies.
  • How to get rid of stress acne? Do you love painting or playing a musical instrument? If your hectic schedule has stopped you from doing the things you love most, now’s the time to rekindle these old hobbies. After all, such activities can help improve your mental health and well-being. You have all the time in the world now, so go draw, dance, or play the piano to your heart’s content!  

  • Get enough sleep.
  • The uncertainty that comes with the Covid-19 virus might cost you a great deal of sleep. Sadly, stress can affect the quality and duration of your sleep. To make matters worse, this lack of sleep can further heighten your stress levels. 

    With that being said, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) advises 7 to 9 hours of sleep for individuals aged 18 to 64. To do so, the NSF recommends following these practices:

    • Avoid eating or drinking a lot near bedtime
    • Avoid alcohol or nicotine before sleeping
    • Jot your sleeping patterns and habits on a sleep diary

    how to get rid of stress acne

  • Exercise!
  • According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, exercise can help you attain optimal mental fitness. Apart from reducing stress, exercise can enhance concentration and alertness as well. E

    With that being said, exercising for at least 30 minutes a day – for about 5 times a week – is one of the best things you could do in this lockdown. Not only will it help you achieve a healthier heart and a trimmer figure – it can help relieve stress-causing acne as well. There’s no need for gym equipment too, as you can bust a move at home with these 8 lockdown exercises

  • Eat well.
  • Apart from keeping you healthy, certain food sources can help alleviate your stress as well. The Food Network cites the following as the 8 best edibles for stress relief:

    • Omega 3-rich fishes such as salmon, sardines, or tuna 
    • Carrots 
    • Swiss chard 
    • Avocado
    • Banana
    • Whole-wheat pretzels
    • Yogurt 
    • Nuts

  • Take stress-reducing supplements.
  • How to get rid of stress acne? Supplements go beyond improving physical health – they can help reduce stress too. A University of Missouri study has shown that probiotics may help improve one's well-being, as it can help reduce anxiety and stress-related behavior. This supplement also enables you to ‘hit two birds with one stone’ as probiotics are known to help reduce breakouts as well. 

    Stress can cause a surge of hormones that can lead to unsightly breakouts. With that being said, it’s best if you reduce your stress levels by following the 10 tips stated above.