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Your acne lingers around.
You aren't imaging the breakouts that appear with stress. Cortisol can stimulate pore-clogging oil production as well as trigger inflammatory acne, which looks like deep tender bumps along the lower part of the face. Stress can actually make existing acne worse, too. The reason can be traced back to the microbiome, the internal ecosystem of bacteria, most of which is lives in your gut. "Stress is known to disrupt the microbiome, which can have far-ranging effects," says Jamal. When this internal system is thrown off, acne-related bacteria may be more likely to flourish and worsen the effects you see in the mirror. Talk to your dermatologist about the best treatment options, which might involve using relaxation techniques as well trying decongesting salicylic acid and bacteria-killing benzoyl peroxide products.