TEEN HEALTH Published September6, 2014 By Staff Writer

Stress and Acne: Blocking Certain Nerve Pathways

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(Photo : Harry Thomas Photography- Flickr)

Almost everyone has experienced having a pimple or two; a handful, few; others, severe. Statistical data shows that acne is most prevalent among young people in their puberty and adolescent stages. Still, adults are not spared, s proven by the term "adult acne". Blame it on hormones, unhealthy eating habits, pollutants, genetics, and an age-old epidemic: stress.

Correlating stress with acne may be purely anecdotal and based on experience, but science has proven the relationship between the two. Dr. Richard D. Granstein, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and his colleagues investigated on this in a study linking stress with inflammatory skin conditions particularly acne, psoriasis, and rosacea. Dr. Granstein also intends for his research to influence change in the treatment options of these skin conditions.

Acccording to Dr. Granstein, it has long been known that the nerves affect the skin's health and condition. He cited psoriasis as an example, saying that injecting a local anesthetic into psoriasis patches largely improves the psoriasis symptoms. "This information strongly suggests that nerves play a role in how psoriasis operates," he said. This is supported by research data, including a Japanese experimental study that discovered how mice developed a rash after being exposed to stress-inducing circumstances.

As for revolutionizing treatment options, Dr. Granstein proposes blocking specific steps in crucial pathways between the skin and the nervous system, without affecting the body. This could be a possible solution to the prevention and remedy of certain skin problems, said Dr. Granstein. Certain mechanisms need to be understood in order to provide therapies that are sound and effective.

Just like all fields of science, Dr. Granstein believes that more research must be conducted to further understand the relationship and mechanisms between the nervous system and inflammatory skin conditions.

He recommends stress reduction techniques for people with acne and other skin problems. Meditation, tai chi, and yoga can help relax the nerves, promoting better skin.

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