Stress-Induced Breakouts: Molly's Story

Stress-Induced Breakouts: Molly's Story

While breakouts can be caused by a multitude of issues, most of us are aware that stress-induced breakouts are most definitely a thing. When we are stressed, we naturally produce the hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which trigger our immune system and an inflammatory response. For some people, this can show up on the skin's surface as uncomfortable redness or sensitivity, especially prominent in those already dealing with redness or breakout-prone skin. Of course, inflamed, red, uncomfortable skin can make us feel even MORE stressed; it's a vicious circle; for those who have experienced this cycle, it can impact confidence, self-esteem, and even quality of life. However, we're here to show you just how much can be done. Lifestyle changes including ample sleep, stress management and adequate hydration can all help. Working with a pro can fast-track your progress, as Molly, a 26-year-old Pediatric Nurse with stress-induced breakouts, now knows only too well. 

Here's her story:

During Covid, my skin became really problematic. I had breakout areas on my forehead, cheeks, and chin, and new spots were appearing all the time. As a teenager, I never suffered from spots, unlike a lot of my friends, but we started wearing masks all the time at work during the pandemic, and my skin just got worse and worse. I think stress played a big part as well. My emotions were all over the place, as we had a lot happening on the ward in the hospital I was working in.

I was terrible at squeezing my spots to try and make them go away. But obviously, that didn't really help because they just got worse. The spots hurt a lot. I think I have a high pain threshold, but if I lay on a spot when I was in bed, it was really painful.

I originally didn't think my skin was affecting me emotionally, as I'm quite a confident person. I kept saying I was fine. But deep down it probably did, because when I eventually went to my first skincare appointment, I burst into tears and cried for about an hour. I don't really wear makeup, but I did find myself wearing more and more to cover up my skin. When my skin was really bad, I was a bridesmaid at a few weddings, and I told the makeup artist to make sure they covered up my red, irritated skin.

Trial & error with skincare only made things worse 

I used lots of different skincare products to try and help, but they just made my skin worse and worse. I think part of the problem was that I kept changing my skincare products every month because I was desperate to find a solution. So, my skin was probably reacting to that, too. A dermatologist at work even recommended I try retinol, which I could order from Amazon. It was quite expensive, but when I started to use it, it made my skin so red and painful. I later understood that this was because my skin's barrier was completely broken, and the retinol was just seeping into my skin and making it worse.

After six months of really bad skin, it was really getting me down. People at work would try and be nice, but would say 'Oh my god, is your skin okay, is it sore?' A lot of the doctors would come to the ward and recommend stuff for me, and I knew they were trying to help, but my skin was getting mentioned all the time. I felt really embarrassed.

At this point, Molly decided to seek professional help, and she luckily had a recommendation from her mom! Molly's mom had been seeing Alison Freestone from Cuties Skincare Clinic, so Molly made an appointment. 

I went to see Alison with my mom and just cried for an hour. We got started straight away, and after two months, the difference in my skin was massive.

Molly went back to basics

I started with the basics to reduce the redness in my skin and improve my skin's barrier. Alison explained that I couldn't use any active ingredients to begin with, otherwise my skin would react badly. Alison recommended I use AlumierMD medical-grade skincare products, and after two months, my skin was healthy enough to start using products with active ingredients to target the breakouts themselves. I started having AlumierMD peels, which really changed my skin. It's now even strong enough to use retinol.

Skincare clinician Alison adds, "Molly suffered from breakouts, which was exacerbated by wearing masks at work. It was obvious that her skin barrier was impaired, and I recommended she use AlumierMD products Purifying Cleanser, HydraClarité and Clear Shield, until her skin could tolerate more potent products, including Acne Balancing Serum.

We then started including AlumierMD peels into her regimen and have just introduced retinol once a week. Molly's skin was sensitive, so creating a skincare routine rooted in knowledge and expertise was more important than ever."

Medical-grade skincare is key for Molly

I work in healthcare, so it's important to me now that the skincare I use is medical-grade and recommended by experts. You can buy skincare from anywhere, but if you don't know what's in it or if it will be good for your skin condition specifically, it can really upset your skin. I recognize how much happier I am now. I didn't realize how upset I was about my skin, but I feel so much more confident in myself, going out with friends and having photos taken. I feel a lot better.

Stress-induced breakouts are real, but with the right skin pro – and product like our Clarifying Collection on your side - like Molly your skin will be calmer, clearer, and more predictable within a matter of months. Our dedicated skin care professionals are ready to listen, advise, and, ultimately, help you get the skin you’ve always wanted. Find your nearest pro here, and it won't be long until you have a treatment plan that is perfect for you and your needs. 

Back to blog