top of page

How Stress and Hormones Affect Acne + 6 Ways to Treat it Naturally

Most of us realize that acne causes stress but did you also know that stress can trigger and worsen acne? There are a few ways that stress contributes to acne and the good news is there are some remedies.

As for hormones, there are the typical ways hormones contribute to acne which tends to be most common is ages 12-30. This is when our bodies go through the most significant hormonal changes. The leading offenders being androgens (sex hormones), progesterone, and estrogen. Androgens are the most influential on excess sebum production. During puberty androgens increases and is the leading cause of acne in both men and women.

Stress can also affect overall hormonal balance: Stress causes an increase in corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) which stimulates the production of sebum in the skin (aka, making your skin more oily and clogging pores). Stress also increases the hormone cortisol which also makes the skin produce more oil.

Insulin is another hormone that contributes to acne which can be affected by inflammatory foods. High glycemic index foods increase insulin and androgen, both in which create excess sebum production- leading to acne.

Genetics can also play a role in whether we are predisposed to hormonal acne.

Our Approach

Our approach to treating mild to moderate acne at citron involves a holistic approach and addresses root causes. We take this approach in an attempt to prevent the use of antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide, tretinoin, and other medical treatments as these treatments can potentially lead to irritation and additional health side effects. That being said, we understand that some severe acne cases may require additional medical treatment by a dermatologist in combination with a holistic maintenance and prevention approach through citron.

1. Actively Manage Stress

As we know, stress contributes to hormonal imbalance which increases sebum production, leading to oiliness and clogged pores. Here are some stress relieving activities you might want to try.

  • Yoga

  • Meditation

  • Exercise (such as running, swimming, biking, etc.)

  • Active relaxation (such as massage, facial, body treatments, etc)

  • Get outdoors

2. Consistent Morning + Evening Skin Care Regimen

I highly recommend using products that are specifically recommended to you by an esthetician. An esthetician will look at your skin and based on the severity of your acne, recommend a customized skin care plan. These products will generally include ingredients that target acne and sebum production specifically. Please avoid buying cheap products from drug stores as this can sometimes make matters worse. Professional skin care offered through reputable spas that focus on skin, carry product lines that are made with the highest quality ingredients in the skin care industry. We also offer virtual consultations through email in addition to our facials.

3. Have a Monthly Facial

A monthly facial is important for a few reasons. It will give you a regular “check up” with your esthetician to analyze the progress of your skin. A facial will also include extractions of pustules (white heads) and comedones (blackheads). Please try to allow your esthetician to take care of your extractions, trying to extract on your own can lead to scarring. A facial focused on acne includes professional grade products such as enzymes that are stronger than traditional exfoliants, such as our facial formulated for acne at citron, the Glo Detox Facial. Facials are also a great stress relief tool. Our facials at citron focus heavily on stress relief so we include lots of massage (face, neck, upper back, arms, hands, scalp, and feet) as well as stress relieving essential oils.

4. Get on a Peel Plan

The acids present in peels change the acidity of the skin from its standard level of 5.5 to about a 3.8 pH level. When we change the pH levels in the skin this allows skin calls to loosen, removing dead skin, oil, dirt, and debris which contribute to acne. The peels formulated for acne at citron are primarily using stronger levels of beta hydroxy acids such as salicylic acid to fight acne. Your esthetician can help you design a treatment plan that includes peels.

5. Light Therapy

LED light, specifically the blue light helps to kill bacteria beneath the skin’s surface by emitting clinically proven wavelengths of light into the skin. LED decreases inflammation which is another contributor to acne. LED improves cellular performance on a microscopic level and as skin cells absorb the energy the process of bacteria elimination is sped up. improves skin tone, texture, and clarity from the inside out. Light therapy is available in a series package and also included in the 90 minute Glo Detox Facial at citron.

6. Infrared Sauna

Infrared sauna sessions help cleanse your skin from the inside out. Sweat out the dirt, debris, dead skin cells, and oils that are clogging your pores and leading to acne. Flushing toxins from within the body also helps your lymphatic system have an easier time ridding toxins, this means there are less toxins making trying to make their way out through your skin, preventing acne. Infrared saunas reduce inflammation and sebaceous gland size, resulting in less sebum production. Your blood flow is increased which helps your skin receive more nutrients, helping with overall skin health including a decrease in free radicals that cause acne and aging. An infrared sauna session is included with all facials at citron. We recommend you do pair the two together to give your skin a deep cleanse after your sweat session, making sure those toxins don’t sit on the skin.




bottom of page