Anxiety Can Cause Major Acne – Expert Tips on How to Combat Acne for Anxiety Sufferers
By Danielle Gronich
Depression and anxiety affects the majority of American adults in one way or another. Multiple medications have been linked to causing mild-cystic acne with the main ones being Lithium, Wellbutrin, and Lexapro. If you are reading this, you are like the rest of us who battle anxiety from daily requirements, demands on our time, the need to take care of our bodies, and the desire to be our best self. If you are battling with your acne as well, our heart goes out to you. Let this article give you some insight into how depression, anxiety, and some of the treatments themselves can affect your skin. Before you continue reading, please give yourself a genuine compliment, and smile. Even if you are reading this alone, smiling increase happiness instantly.
Lithium is mainly prescribed to combat bipolar disorder. Acne is a side effect that affects one-third of its patients. Doctors aren’t entirely certain why the antipsychotic drug causes acne but Dr. Amy Derick of Illinois speculates, “Lithium probably simulates in some way what the skin would experience when it has a bacterial infection.” This simply means when lithium is taken, it stimulates the neutrophils (white blood cells) to move from the bloodstream to the skin. Neutrophils are usually the first on the scene when a bacterial infection occurs. Which in turn causes inflammation and tricks the skin into thinking its under bacterial attack and creates pimples.
Wellbutrin is well known for helping patients struggling with depression, but as a stimulant it’s also very well known for causing cystic inflamed acne.
When I took Wellbutrin after college my chin, neck, chest, and spinal cord erupted in painful cysts- within five days. Men and women up to 80+ years old have reported getting acne from Wellbutrin. Wellbutrin works to lower depression by raising testosterone, similar to anabolic steroids. In fact, it raises testosterone by so much bodybuilders actually take it before competitions to bulk up. So unless you are a bodybuilder with no skin concerns please ask your doctor for other non-acne causing solutions. Or better yet— look them up yourself and start seeing what makes sense for you. Nutrition and exercise are critical here.
15% or more of people struggling with depression and anxiety suffer from insomnia. Which as we learned in the last blog post, lack of quality sleep will aggravate acne. Lexapro’s side effects also include weight gain and indigestion, which both can increase the chances of your skin breaking out. Did you know that Serotonin (the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of Calm and Peace) are dramatically affected and depleted by modern day technology and modern day adulthood. This happens on a daily basis, especially for those of us who wake up to an alarm. Anxiety can literally start the minute you wake up. This constant tug of war on our senses is what creates most people’s’ depression, and if you get acne, it makes the anxiety double. When your anxiety doubles guess what happens to your acne? The inflammation doubles. Cycle repeat.
If you have ever broken down and cried in front of your bathroom mirror the way we have, you know exactly what we are talking about.
Now is a good time to force a smile :)!
Because here is what you can do IMMEDIATELY to start feeling like a happy human again:
- SLEEP: Be fully asleep by 10:00 and set a peaceful alarm for 7.5 hours from then. That’s a 5:30 rise. But get this it’ll be EASY because the human sleep cycle is increments of 1.5 hours. Set alarm for either 6 hours (1.5 x 4) or ideally 7.5 hours. You’ll wake up to it as you exit REM cycle. Leave no light on while winding down and eliminate all caffeine by noon. Your regenerative hormones start working by 10:00 but not if you are still up. When your body does not regenerate properly, it is generally impossible to beat depression or anxiety. Your skin would stay in a constant state of turmoil.
- HYDRATION: Drink Water. Drink a full, luscious glassful right when you wake up. Get yourself a gallon jug, or a Hydro flask that is 1Liter minimum 4 Liters equals 1 gallon so you pick. 1 gallon of water is the ultimate secret for clearer skin. Acne directly calms down when your body is properly hydrated with minimum 1gal water per day, but it directly stops healing when you’re not getting that. If You are not measuring your water, then you are not drinking enough. We have found that patients who all thought they were drinking enough water were only getting about 1/4 of the amount they need. CHECK YOU PEE color, it should be mainly clear with a slight hint of yellow. Anything darker than that means you are dehydrated. Period.
- DIETING: AVOID DIETS. Diets are a man-made cheat code for folks who don’t care about their bodies. You must learn what humans eat, how digestion works, and how dieting increases cortisol which is our stress hormone. This same stress hormone also changes the very composition of your skin’s oil, making it thicker, stickier, and nearly impossible to dissolve without using harsh chemicals. And for the love of God get some fiber in your diet first thing in the morning. Can’t stress this enough. It will help manage your blood sugar and cortisol levels
- NUTRITION: GO FULL ORGANIC everything in your shopping cart. When dining out you may have little control over the source or quality of your food ingredients, but you still need to live your life and have fun! That’s why everything that you purchase from a store needs to be the very best quality nutrition. It is not expensive and organic veggies are DELICIOUS if you use this basic cooking start point! (Organic garlic + organic olive oil + sea salt). The organic rule has everything to do with self-respect and Going full organic is not some hippie nonsense. And it’s not something you can afford to ignore if you care about your life and mental health. Self respect and self love start with what you choose to feed your perfect mouth each day. This is the easiest biggest step to beating anxiety and feeling like a happy human again. We care about you— so no fucking excuses please. Many thanks.
- EXERCISE: Bounce a ball, dance in your room, go for a 12 minute walk, do yoga or pound weights— just do something. Exercise is mandatory for a healthy mind, we are simply programmed for it and the same way our car will break down if you don’t change it’s oil, your metabolic and mental systems with fail together and drag your other body systems down with it.
- ATTITUDE: Always find the most positive outcome to anything! Try it first as a game and then watch yourself get Pro! (Ex: You are stuck in traffic and stressing a bit because you’re going to be late to work —> “Hell ya, I just scored extra time to play my favorite song!” Then crank that song, roll down your window and say hi to your best friend, fresh Oxygen.your day just got 10x better and your skin is stoked.)
- CHECK IN WITH YOU: Ask yourself what the nature of your anxiety is. Could it be simple procrastination that has spiraled out of control? Is it stress about money? Identify and SEPARATE the sources so they don’t gang up on your mind.
- MEDICATION: Research 5HTP as a potential alternative to Lexapro and Wellbutrin or most other pills. This is the natural building block of serotonin that your body uses to also make melatonin among other things. Prescription pills mess with serotonin levels by preventing re-uptake, but they distort the other natural processes of this vital Nero transmitter, not to mention wreaking havoc on got health, we’re 90% of serotonin is generated and used to connect with her mind.
Struggling with anxiety and depression is tough enough, the last thing you need is to add the stressor of acne on top of it. If you are prescribed an acne causing medication, please consult with your physician and esthetician to determine the best route to clear skin and clear mind.
If you’ve read this far, chances are you know that something is just not right inside. Trust yourself- your body is trying to communicate with you.
We sincerely hope that you allow these 8 remedies to resonate with you. Follow 1 of these suggestions this week and when it works, do another. We all have to start somewhere. Get on board you will see a drastic difference in your acne, your skin tone, and your vitality as a person.
Yours in skin, life, and soul.
CLEARSTEM & San Diego Acne Clinic
About Danielle Gronich is a skin care and acne expert who has been giving people clear skin for decades in her San Diego Acne Clinic, after they have lost all hope of being acne free. She is also the scientist behind our CLEARSTEM serum, a on-of-a-kind stem cell serum that does miracles for your skin. You can learn more about Danielle here.