Stress Acne Advice

Email from my 37 year old niece:

Hi aunt Renee-  I was wondering if you had any advice or product I could purchase to help clear up my chin.  I am having my first acne breakout in years.  My chin is the only place getting it and it actually hurts where the pimples are.  It's been going on for about a month--I keep thinking its finally gone then it reappears.    Thanks! 

My Answer:

It could be two things.  Change of weather acne, or stress acne. 

Change of weather acne is all about getting rid of the hard crust of summer skin.  You need to exfoliate and then use an excellent vitamin C product, an anti-oxidant serum followed by a hydrator and a calming moisturizer.

I suspect it is stress acne.  That doesn't mean you are completely stressed out, it means that your body is experiencing a new internal chemical change, usually hormonal, that is expressing itself in the skin.  When you have chin stress acne, hormones are involved 99% of the time.  What have you added to you diet lately?  Have you added estrogen rich foods?  Have you been really into soy lately?  This type of acne stems from an internal imbalance. 

You are experiencing hyper-active immune response.  Due to chemical changes your skin is a bit swollen - it's subclinical and barely noticeable, but the hormones have activated that area.  The swollen skin has closed some pores, preventing oxygen from getting in the pore.  Once the pore is closed, an anaerobic environment has been created which then in turn actives the acne bacteria in the pore.  The acne bacteria have their little field day and proliferate like crazy - thus creating a zit.  This acne is about swelling and subclinical irritation and inflammation - it is not about cleanliness or excessive oil.

But you can do things externally to help with stress acne.  Keep the area calm.  It's ok to exfoliate, just don't go wild with the rubbing.  Again, Vitamin C is your friend here as well as tons of other anti-oxidants used internally and topically.  Excessive rubbing will make things worse, cooling the skin and gently purifying will make things better.  Stay away from essentail oils for now but fixed oils would help - jojoba oil and rosehip seed oil.  I also like seabuckthorne oil for gently purifying.  I have my products -  Purifying Comfort Mask, Triple C and E, and Anti-Oxidant Defense Complex that will help topically. A great overall moisturizer for your skin would be Moisture Perfecting Creme because it has plenty of hydration for water balance and plenty of emollients to lock in the goodness.  Above all use my sunscreen daily - rain or shine.  It is your first defense against any kind of stress from the environment.

Your cousin gets this type of acne and it is definitely due to dairy products.  Hope that helps! Love, Aunt Renee

Follow up email:

Hi Aunt Renee!   Thanks so much for all your advice!  Pretty much I have been doing everything you said I shouldn't . I HAVE been eating more soy than usual -yeesh- time to cut back again.  Also, I have had a stressful time event planning at work and now presenting a workshop this week in Santa Rosa for 40 people on Sat.  Also, I have been scrubbing the crap out of my chin with a harsh exfoliant.  Now that I have your expertise, I cut out dairy last two days, and have been more gentle on my face.  It's seems to be clearing up!  Many Thanks!