Have you ever noticed a link between your mental health and your complexion? When you're riding high on a wave of positivity, your skin often mirrors your inner glow, radiating health and vitality.
On the other hand, if you've been grappling with the blues and find it challenging to shake off that emotional weight, you might notice some unwelcome guests on your skin—blackheads, pimples, and other types of acne that don't exactly boost your mood.
But is this connection between emotional lows and skin breakouts just a coincidence, or can depression cause acne?
While it may feel like your emotions are to blame for a breakout or constant bad acne, depression alone isn’t the culprit of acne—but it can contribute to worsening a current skin condition or lead to irritations.
Depression and Acne: The Mind and Skin Connection
Have you ever had a gut feeling about a situation? How about that date where your stomach fluttered with uncertainty, only to worsen when they nonchalantly asked you to pick up the tab after an hour of self-centered chatter? This “gut reaction” stems from the mind-gut connection.1
Similarly, your mind and skin share a profound link. As your date explained their unfortunate wallet mishap, your skin flushed with frustration, a result of your brain signaling widened blood vessels near the skin’s surface. This illustrates how closely your mind and skin interact.
So, while depression isn't likely the root of how your acne began, they do often coexist. Pimples can trigger unwelcome feelings of sadness, which may further cause acne breakouts.
Hormonal Factors: Understanding Acne in Depressive States
When you’re depressed, it can be challenging to pinpoint the specific reasons for these big and unwanted feelings. While external factors in your life can certainly play a role, consider also what may be happening inside your body—particularly in your hormones. Your hormones can fluctuate daily, weekly, and monthly, and those fluctuations can cause changes across your mind and body.
One of the underlying causes of depression may be related to a shift in hormones. When certain hormones, like serotonin or testosterone, are unbalanced, you’re more likely to feel some of the emotional symptoms associated with depression, including2:
Moreover, when you're experiencing a breakout or severe acne around the same time you’re overcome with a bout of the blues, the self-consciousness and low self-esteem often associated with acne can intensify your symptoms of depression. Since these two issues are interconnected, you may still be wondering—does depression cause acne?
Depression doesn't usually cause acne in those who aren't prone to it, but it can aggravate any underlying skin condition or current breakouts due to some of the following changes that may occur in depressed individuals:
- Neglecting normal habits – When you suffer from a mental health issue, you may feel less motivated to complete parts of your daily routine, like washing your face and applying your usual skincare products. This can lead to a buildup of sebum (a natural oil) and dead skin cells on your face, which can clog your pores and lead to more acne breakouts.
- Changing your eating routine – Sometimes, people cope with depression by taking part in emotional eating. Consuming too many foods that cause your blood sugar to rise quickly—like fries, potato chips, and donuts—may also increase any current inflammation, like acne.3 If you are suffering from pimple problems or inflammatory acne, it’s a good idea to follow an anti-acne diet.
Treatment Approaches: Managing Acne and Depression
With the appropriate treatment, you can begin addressing your depression and acne. Below, we outline some of the available acne treatment options:
- Medications – A healthcare provider may prescribe antidepressant medications and accompanying medications to manage your acne. If you’re interested in balancing your hormones synergistically, this hormonal acne supplement works to address several root causes of acne at once, like oil, digestion, stress, and hormone imbalances.
- Skincare products – You may also choose to take a proactive approach to your acne by opting for skincare products tailored to acne-prone skin, like this antioxidant-infused scrub cleanser. It’s filled with nourishing ingredients like vitamin C and green tea and works to gently exfoliate dead skin cells and unclog pores to help clear your complexion and achieve healthy skin.
- Therapy – Psychodermatology is a specialized field that combines dermatology and psychology by offering a tailored approach that aims to improve your overall well-being. Specialists in this field blend skincare products, medications, and various forms of therapy to address both the physical and psychological aspects of skin conditions.
Find Your Clear Skin With CLEARSTEM
While depression alone isn't typically the root cause of acne, the two often go hand in hand. So, what can you do to improve both your depression and acne? Begin with a whole-body holistic approach that includes tailored non-comedogenic skincare products and treatments like CLEARSTEM.
Our products are toxin-free and designed to help you achieve clearer, healthier skin by addressing multiple factors that contribute to acne, including hormones, stress, and inflammation. Take the first step toward a brighter future by exploring the benefits of CLEARSTEM for acne-prone skin.
Find your perfect skincare match today and embark on your journey to clearer, happier skin.
- Cleveland Clinic. What Is the Gut-Brain Connection? https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/the-gut-brain-connection
- Medical News Today. Can hormonal imbalances cause depression? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/hormonal-depression#overview
- AAD. Can the Rigth Diet Get Rid of Acne? https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne/causes/diet