It's true. Taking exams can make you break out. There are a lot of anecdotal stories about stress making acne worse, but few clinical studies have looked at this, Dr. Alexa B. Kimball, from Stanford University in California, told. "Frankly, we started our study with the goal of debunking this myth," she added.
"There are a number of good studies that show pretty clearly that acne causes stress," Kimball noted. But when she and her associates reviewed the medical evidence, she said, "We were somewhat surprised to see that no one had actually proven the reverse was true."
The researchers therefore studied 22 college students whose acne severity and stress levels were evaluated during examination and non-examination periods. The results are published in the Archives of Dermatology. Both acne severity and stress levels went up during examination periods. Moreover, after taking into account factors such as sleep patterns and diet, the team found that the more stress levels increased, the worse acne became.
Based on the findings, Kimball said, doctors may "want to consider adjusting a patient's acne regimen when stressful periods are expected." Also, as students have a lot on their minds during exam time, they should be especially reminded to take their medication during such periods.