What your mother has been telling you for so many years is actually true; stress causes acne. While stress isn’t the true cause of acne, increased stress can contribute to the development of acne. Studies on teenagers have shown that those who were under increased stress were 23% more likely to have acne. Why is this? Dr. Schweiger explains that, “Stress causes the adrenal gland to produce excess levels of androgen. Increased levels of androgen can lead to the development of acne.”
It is important for acne to be treated promptly, even if it is a one time flare caused by increased stress. Prescription medications and in-office laser acne treatments can often get a “stress acne” flare under control quickly. Cortisone injections can also be used to treat acne lesions quickly; after a cortisone injection, inflammatory acne lesions typically resolve in 24-48 hours.