5 minutes with Dr Tabi Leslie: dealing with stress spots during exams

5 minutes with Dr Tabi Leslie:  dealing with stress spots during exams

Preparing for exams alone drains your energy, but when combined with an acne flare-up on top, it can really damage your self-confidence and can have devastating effects on your exam performance. We speak to Dr Tabi Leslie who tells us how best to deal with stress spots during the exam period.

Stress and spots: the chicken or the egg?

If you suffer from acne then you’re probably already familiar with the severe effects it can have on your mental well-being, however, it’s only recently that scientists have discovered that stress may actually intensify acne[1]. Sounds like a vicious cycle, right? And as a study carried out by the Department of Dermatology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in the US shows, there is in fact a significant correlation between stress levels and the severity of acne, even though it does not appear to affect the level of sebum production.

Treatment: stick to your routine

Dr Leslie points out that during exams, regular schedules tend to go out of the window. It’s therefore important, especially during this time, to stick to a schedule, so trade in the all-nighters for a solid eight hours of sleep, put the fatty study snacks back in the cupboard in favour freshly prepared meals, and get back to your regular skincare regime.

Avoiding oral medications in case of side effects that could disrupt your exam preparation is also one of Dr Leslie’s top tips. Instead, opt for face washes specifically designed for acne-prone skin. These are likely to have salicylic acid in them, an ingredient that works to exfoliate the inside of the pores and remove dead cells from the surface of the skin.

Coverage: choose the right cosmetics

Anxiety and depression are common among the doctor’s patients who suffer from acne and many of them struggle with altered moods, low self-esteem and feelings of isolation. Naturally, this isn’t ideal during exam time, when most need an extra boost of confidence. And that’s why it’s important to learn how to master makeup to conceal any blemishes or scarring to give you a lift in confidence - just be sure you choose products with a non-comedogenic formula so they won’t block pores and create new spots (which you can find out from reading the label). And once you have your spots under control, you’ll be readier than ever to take on your exams!