Acne (pimples, acne vulgaris) is an inflammation that occurs in the sebaceous gland or hair follicle. When sebaceous plugs (blackheads) form, these inflammations are called pimples, and inflamed pimples are referred to as acne. There are also white pimples (milia) – raised white round spots. These pimples appear when accumulated subcutaneous fat thickens and whitens. Acne vulgaris, or acne disease, is also identified as a skin disease. In severe cases, inflammations can become complicated and leave scars.
A type of acne that develops against the background of neurosis is called excoriated acne. This neurosis is associated with an obsessive state of finding imperfections on one’s skin, with detected pimples immediately being scratched.
The appearance of acne can signal certain diseases, as well as hormonal changes in the body during adolescence, pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause in women. Some specialists have even compiled an acne map to determine which internal organ malfunctions correspond to particular pimples on the face.
The causes of pore blockage with sebaceous plugs can be hormonal imbalance, endocrine system diseases, metabolic disorders, gastrointestinal tract problems, improper nutrition, harmful habits, poor-quality or improperly chosen cosmetics, synthetic clothing, increased sweating, decreased immunity, skin micro-injuries, stress, etc.
Stress as the Main Psychological Cause of Acne
When a person experiences stress, adrenaline is produced, constricting blood vessels. This can worsen skin cell nutrition and provoke dysfunction of the sebaceous glands. Stress also activates the sebaceous glands, producing an excessive amount of subcutaneous fat. This leads to clogged pores, creating an environment for bacteria to thrive and cause inflammation.
Stress-induced digestive issues also contribute to acne: toxins accumulate, negatively affecting the skin. Stress can also lower immunity during nervous overload, allowing normally harmless skin microorganisms to proliferate and cause inflammation.
Psychosomatics of Acne on a Nervous Basis
It is well-known that the skin reflects a person’s internal state. Let’s consider how they are interconnected. The skin is the human body’s shell, and the features of the internal content always manifest on the shell’s condition. In psychosomatic terms, this means that what a person feels as negative comes out on the skin as an ailment. The state of the skin reflects how a person values themselves and their self-perception.
Remember that human skin performs functions of protection and contact with the outside world. Thus, the skin’s condition reacts to how a person interacts with the world. When a person starts losing peace of mind due to negativity in relationships with the world (such as irritation), the skin, as a highly sensitive protective cover, signals first.
This means that the skin extends its protective function to the person’s inner world, trying to shield from negative emotions by taking on the emotional pain.
Psychological Causes of Acne on a Nervous Basis
Psychologists believe that the appearance of a pimple indicates excessive attention to something, usually an unresolved internal issue. These problems-causes can include disturbance in contact with the outside world, non-acceptance of one’s appearance, internal conflict, disruption of emotional contact with the mother in early childhood, ignoring a child’s feelings by authoritarian parents, or excessive care, family/work/financial problems, self-punishment, etc.
The periodicity of acne has led psychologists to identify the following psychological issues: constant appearance of acne indicates low self-esteem, periodic appearance suggests a desire to isolate oneself from the world, and rare appearance of acne signifies anger as a negative reaction to plan changes.
The location of the ailment can hint at the nature of the internal problem. According to psychological data, outbreaks over the entire face that resist treatment suggest non-acceptance of oneself as a personality, or fear of losing one’s ‘face.’ Acne on the forehead signals excessive self-demand, while acne on the shoulders or back indicates a heavy burden that the person cannot get rid of.
Causes of Psychosomatic Acne in Works of Noted Authors Louise Hay sees the causes of acne as non-acceptance and disgust with oneself. Acne, in her opinion, represents small outbursts of anger, and boils – strong manifestations of anger and rage.
Lise Bourbeau asserts that skin symbolizes a person’s ability to value themselves in front of the world. She writes that if acne appears and disappears, it indicates impatience and unwillingness to reconcile with plan disruptions, accompanied by mild repressed anger. She believes that the part of the body where acne appears will hint at the sphere in which the person experiences negative emotions.
Lise Bourbeau writes that acne appears as a sign of a subconscious desire to repel others, to avoid being scrutinized, especially up close. She believes that a person suffering from acne does not love themselves, does not know how to love themselves, and lacks self-respect. She notes that acne is a sign of a very sensitive, but closed-off nature (as nearly all become during adolescence).
For adults, she asserts that acne indicates that a person is trying to be different from their true self to please others. Another cause of acne she identifies is continuing to suffer from psychological traumas acquired in adolescence.
V. Sinelnikov sees the main cause of acne as dissatisfaction with oneself, one’s appearance (typical for adolescence). He believes that through this disease, teenagers learn the lesson of self-love and acceptance of themselves and their sexuality as they are.
Bodo Baginski and Sharamon Shalila explain this ailment from the Reiki perspective. They claim that acne is a sign that something within wants to break free, become visible, but the person suppresses it due to fear, insecurity, and shame. This conflict manifests on the skin as acne.
Another psychosomatic specialist, J. Reno, considers the appearance of acne a consequence of maturation and hidden moral experiences from parents.
O.G. Torsunov states that acne arises from character traits such as aimlessness, sloppiness, laziness, pessimism, and greed. He explains that due to the activation of lower centers in adolescence, hidden character flaws awaken. Disruptions in still unstable hormonal functions at this age increase sebaceous gland secretions, leading to acne.
Paths to Healing Acne on a Nervous Basis
From the above causes, we can conclude that no one is immune to occasional acne outbreaks, as we all experience negative emotions from time to time.
The main thing in such situations is to timely recognize anger and other destructive emotions and, understanding their cause, free oneself from them.
But if acne ‘attacks’ constantly, then inner work is necessary. The first thing to do is to find the cause (which is already half the solution to the problem).
To find the cause-problem, psychologist Lise Bourbeau suggests adults suffering from acne ask themselves: What was happening in your life before the appearance of acne? The answer to this question will indicate which negative emotions were suppressed in adolescence and have now resurfaced, reliving the same emotions at the moment.
Let’s repeat that it’s important to recognize and release. Liberation from them will come easily if you realize, accept, and understand the emotion-cause that has become a problem for you. If you have recognized and understood the emotion-cause, you can easily let it go, as it is no longer needed. A sense of relief will be a sign that the problem has been released and the negative emotions freed.
Regarding healing acne in teenagers, O.G. Torsunov suggests a very effective method: engaging the teenager in interesting creative activities. Here, the teenager just needs to remember their interests and engage in activities according to their inclinations. This will bring the teenager positive emotions, return a positive outlook on the world and themselves, boost self-esteem, especially if their activity is successful.
Be yourself, value yourself, stay healthy!