Acne is a condition of the skin that affects more than 80 percent of teenagers and up to 25 percent of adults. While stress has often been cited as a source of acne, these claims have been unsubstantiated until now.
Twenty-two university students participated in this study. Each participant had at least one academic examination within the time of the study. Exam sessions are common sources of stress for students. Stress levels were recorded using the Perceived Stress Scale, which measures perceptions of life stress, including how often subjects perceived their life to be uncontrollable, unpredictable, and overwhelming.
It was observed that the greatest increases in stress during examination periods also had the greatest exacerbation in acne severity. Worsening of diet was also an influential factor that increased acne severity.
Researchers say that psychological stress can slow wound healing by up to 40 percent, which could account for the relationship between examination stress and worsening of acne. Since the study participants had mild acne, researchers say more study is needed to determine the role of stress in more severe cases.