Stress, Diet and Body Acne
If you've had acne, you've probably heard that you can cut down on your breakouts by controlling two simple things in your life -- your diet and your stress level. This isn't always the case, though. So far, scientists haven't proved that food causes acne [source: American Academy of Dermatology]. While some people believe their acne is aggravated by specific foods -- such as chocolate, peanuts, shellfish and fatty foods -- there's no scientific evidence that supports this. If you suspect that a certain food is making your acne worse, you can avoid that food [source: AcneNet]. But, in general, even the greasiest pizza won't cause body acne, and you don't need to rework your diet to clear up your skin.
That being said, it's always a good idea to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Not only is a balanced diet important to an overall healthier self, but it's also good for the health of your skin. Eat foods that are high in antioxidants, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains -- antioxidants help combat free radicals, which can cause fine lines and wrinkles [source: MyFDA.org].
As with food, the advice to reduce stress to clear up acne may not have a big impact. Normal, everyday stress doesn't cause acne; however, chronic stress can make it worse. In fact, stress is one of the chief contributors to adult acne [source: Acne.com].
Stress can worsen acne because it affects your body's hormone production. When you're stressed, your adrenal glands produce more cortisol, and this change in hormone levels causes your sebaceous glands to produce more oil. This excess sebum in your skin makes it easier for your pores to become clogged [source: WebMD]. In addition to affecting your hormone production, stress also affects the immune system. Stress can decrease the healing capacity of your immune system by up to 40 percent, making it more difficult for your body to heal existing blemishes [source: Ohio State University].
Although you can't live a completely stress-free life, there are ways you can reduce your stress levels. Daily exercise and a good night's sleep are two effective ways to reduce stress -- and maybe even reduce the likelihood of developing body acne. But no matter how well you manage stress, it may not be enough to prevent or cure body acne. Read on to learn how medications can treat body acne.