The Connection Between Gratitude and Healing Chronic Acne

The Connection Between Gratitude and Healing Chronic Acne

If you’re reading this, then there’s a good chance that you’re among the 50 million Americans who have struggled with acne breakouts in their life. You’re no stranger to the discomfort, the embarrassment, and the anxiety that can come with this skin condition, and you’ve also likely spent countless hours (not to mention a ridiculous amount of money!) trying to treat it. (1)

To put it bluntly, you probably strongly dislike acne and everything that it entails. And honestly, your feelings are totally valid, and we’re not trying to undermine your experience at all. But what if we suggest that you pause that anger and instead embrace your skin, no matter what it’s going through? Yes, it’s a revolutionary thought, but gratitude can be a major game-changer when it comes to managing your chronic acne.

Sure, it may seem far-fetched, but we’re dead serious here. Becoming grateful – not just for your acne, but for everything else in your life – can make a major difference in your stress and subsequently your complexion. And we’re going to explain to you the exact whys and hows of this mindset shift. Ready to learn more, friends? Let’s go ahead and dive right into it now!

First, What is Gratitude? 

In the most basic of terms, gratitude means being intentionally thankful for what you’ve got. It means not looking at your neighbor’s plate to see if they got more than you did, and it means not being bitter about the hand you’ve been dealt. Being thankful, and being appreciative of what you’ve got in your life, is the very cornerstone of gratitude.

The Science Behind Gratitude and Skin 

Okay, all of this happy kumbaya talk probably has you wondering what the link between gratitude and your skin is and what it has to do with healing chronic acne. But here’s the deal: there’s a huuuuuge correlation between being grateful and having healthy skin. You see, there are a myriad of health conditions that can be traced back to negative things in our lives.

You know what we’re talking about here, too. Stress, anxiety, disappointment, comparison… the whole gamut. All of these things can raise your body’s levels of a certain hormone called cortisol, leading to systemic inflammation and lowering your body’s immune system. In turn, this is just like setting out a welcome mat for acne (as well as other skin conditions, such as psoriasis and rosacea). (2)

The combo of elevated cortisol levels and inflammation is one of the leading causes of acne breakouts. So, believe it or not, putting the kibosh on these negative emotions can have the opposite effect. You see, your hypothalamus is the part of your brain that is associated with the whole stress response. By exercising gratitude, you can tell your brain to take a chill pill. And in doing so, your cortisol levels will drop, your inflammation will start to subside and yup, you guessed it. Your breakouts will improve and the healing response can elevate. (3 & 4)

Connection Between Gratitude and Healing Chronic Acne 

So, what does all of this happy science have to do with healing chronic acne and getting you on the path to clear skin? Well, a cornerstone of gratitude is acceptance, with a good sprinkle of thankfulness thrown in for good measure. Letting go of all of that pent-up resentment toward your skin isn’t just incredibly cathartic. It can also help your body start to heal from your acne and other stress-related issues.

Practices like yoga, breathwork, meditation, journaling, praying, even talk-journaling (speaking out loud to yourself about what you’re feeling) will immediately de-stress you and get you in touch with your subconscious and sit in a higher, healthier vibe state. Your body will receive the signal to calm down and get the message that it’s safe to heal rather than sit in fight or flight.

Once the inflammation and the cortisol no longer have a chokehold on you, you’ll find yourself able to relax again. Breathe. Not worry so much about your complexion. Turn your attention toward things that matter to you, like your friends and your loved ones, and even your hobbies and interests. Life can become more pleasurable again. And that, friends, is the first step in healing chronic acne with gratitude once and for all.

How Gratitude Affects Chronic Acne

Suffice to say, if stress and unhappiness can make your skin worse, introducing gratitude into your can help improve your skin. All it takes is a little bit of thankfulness, and a hearty dose of appreciation for your skin, to start to see subtle changes. Once you make gratitude a part of your everyday routine, you can start to see the healthy skin that was lurking underneath the surface all along!

How to Practice Gratitude for Your Chronic Acne 

We’re going to ask you to do something here, and we know you’re going to wonder if we’re off our rockers. But hear us out: we want you to be thankful for your skin. Furthermore, we want you to actively practice this gratitude and make it a part of your life. But how the heck can you actually practice gratitude for your acne? We’re glad you asked! Here’s a few ways to do it:

  • Develop a skin beauty routine. Even if it’s just a basic routine (no ten-step one necessary!), this is a great way of reminding yourself that you’re worthy.
  • Introduce “skin love” goals. Rather than putting your life on hold, embrace yourself for who you are, right now.
  • Read, write, and recite affirmations. This doesn’t have to be a mile-long journal entry every day, either – just a few words of thanks for your skin will do.
  • Be grateful for your skin. There are traits you have that other people wish they did. 
  • Own your beauty. In today’s social media-obsessed world, subvert expectations by posting a makeup-free selfie online. 
  • Give yourself some grace. Make sure you stay on top of getting enough water, rest at night, and eat a healthy diet.
  • Treat yourself to pampering. A massage and a sauna session can do wonders.
  • Don’t overlook your mental health. Everyone benefits from therapy and coaching, so prioritize that for yourself.

Now, we don’t mean you have to start doing all of these things at once. Heck, some of them may not even pertain to you. But feel free to pick and choose your favorites from your list and start trying them out today! In doing so, you’ll not only be able to help better prevent chronic acne, but you’ll also be on your way to healing it, too. Your skin will thank you.

Reasons to be Thankful for Chronic Acne

You know what? We know that having acne can be a bit of a bummer sometimes. But we promise, it’s not all bad. In fact, there are a lot of seriously legit reasons to be grateful for your chronic acne breakouts. Take a peek at this list and see if any of them resonate with you:

  • You’re a pro when it comes to skincare now. Some people have been blessed with crystal-clear skin with nary a blemish. You’re not one of them. Buuut, on the upside, you now know everything about how to take good care of it, right? This will help you age better in the long run!
  • You know more about your body than the average bear. For a lot of people, their acne can be a sign that there’s something amiss in the rest of their bodies. For instance, if it tags along with fatigue, or gut pain, or even dry skin, then the acne itself is just one of the symptoms that your body is trying to tell you that something has gone awry.
  • It can spark a new love affair with food. Acne is often linked to diet, which means that if you overdo it on the vino, the candy, or even the late-night ice cream binges, it’ll show up on your face the next morning. However, you being the ol’ acne pro that you are, you now know how to nourish your body from the inside out. (5)
  • You’re humble and have a great personality. Now, this isn’t to diss those of you who never had acne, but if you have struggled with it, then you know what we mean. When you’re feeling down on yourself about your looks, then it’s all the more easier to channel that into your personality. And having an ego? Not you!

See? Having acne isn’t all gloom and doom. We’d even argue that there are a lot of upsides to having it. We totally understand wanting to have clear skin, but remember, this is the only skin you’ve got. You need to learn to love it now, and not just some arbitrary date in the future when you no longer have blemishes.

Daily Affirmations for Clear Skin to Include in Your Skincare Beauty Routine

We’re not going to sugarcoat things here, friends. Sometimes you’re going to have to fake it until you make it. After all, we can’t realistically expect you to go from being upset at your skin to wanting to be its BFF overnight. If you’re wanting to start practicing self love and gratitude with your complexion, here are a few of our favorite daily affirmations for clear skin and healing chronic acne. That way, you can start your journey to self love ASAP!

  • My skin is healing, and I trust the process completely.
  • My skin is protecting me, so I will protect it in return.
  • I love the healthy food I eat for my body and my complexion.
  • My skin isn’t perfect, but I still love it anyway.
  • I enjoy treating my skin with love, kindness, and compassion.
  • I love the process of pampering and taking good care of my skin.
  • I love how my skin’s natural beauty shines through.
  • I enjoy using sunscreen to help protect my skin from UV damage.
  • I am growing more confident with my skin with each passing day.
  • I am in the process of healing, and I am enjoying the journey.
  • I genuinely love my skin and wouldn’t trade it with anyone else.

It’s totally normal to have good days and bad days, and it’s also completely fine to get frustrated when looking in the mirror sometimes. Remember, though, that your skin is telling your body’s story. If you stop and listen to what it’s saying to you, it can help give you important insights as to its inner workings. Ultimately, we’re so much more than just our outward appearances, and loving your skin – and being grateful for it – can help heal you from the inside out!


Source 1: Skin conditions by the numbers

Source 2: The association between stress and acne among female medical students in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Source 3: The Neural Basis of Human Social Values: Evidence from Functional MRI

Source 4: The impact of stress on body function: A review 

Source 5: Can the right diet get rid of acne?