The surprising action one acne blogger took to clear up her skin

Artist and blogger Hailey Wait advocates minimizing stress to help with your skin care treatments, advice backed up by dermatologists. (Photo: Instagram/piggs)

According to one blogger, holiday breakouts may not be due to all those festive cookies. For Hailey Wait, an artist who shares her makeup-free journey to clear skin on Instagram, stress is to blame.

Wait shared her skin care tip with her 96,000 followers. “I do everything I can to upkeep my skin on the outside but it’s important to take care of your insides as well!” she writes. “I’m just tired of being negative all the time like I used to and it really does a lot for your stress levels and mood.” Wait claims that teaching herself to relax has also helped with her acne.

Wait has found a few ways to de-stress, like making time to relax at home and focusing on her nutrition. “Take frequent baths if you can. Love yourself regardless of what you look like. Eat whole foods. See your dermatologist. Not everything I say or use will work for you but reducing the stress in my life that I can control does help a lot!!” she writes.

According to Dr. Brian Zelickson, dermatologist and founder of MD Complete skin care, stress can act as an acne trigger. “Anecdotally, stress has long been thought to trigger acne flares, but it was finally confirmed just a decade ago in a well-controlled study ,” he says.

Here’s how it works: Active acne lesions show an increase in P. acnes bacteria, sebum production, inflammation, and clogged openings, all within our sebaceous glands. “These glands have been shown to be strongly affected by stress-induced factors,” says Dr. Zelickson. “Upon sensing stress, cells in the brain stimulate the HPA to release corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). CRH directly affects cells in the sebaceous glands, increasing oil production and inflammation, which in turn aggravates acne.” Basically, stress sends a message to your skin that says, “Break out now.”

While every person’s stress reducers are different, Dr. Zelickson says “anything that can help reduce stress” can help your skin. He suggests meditation, exercise, yoga, getting enough sleep, and eating a healthy diet, to help combat the harmful effects of stress. You can also hop in a bath and relax, as Wait does.

As much as she tries to minimize stress, she also takes care of her skin with a curated routine. In her New Year’s post, she shares the products that are slowly but surely helping clear her cystic acne. Her routine includes Proactiv moisturizer, Essano Micellar Water, Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser, and the internet’s favorite, Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay.

The most important thing? Don’t let your breakouts stress you out more.  As Wait says, “Just remember that you’re still beautiful, even if you have spots on your face.”

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