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Does Crying Cause Acne? (What You Need to Know)

Ever shed a tear or two and then wondered: does crying cause acne? We've all been there - in the middle of a good cry, and suddenly the concern for our skin’s wellbeing surfaces. This might sound like an unusual connection to draw. However, when you are committed to maintaining a clear complexion, every potential trigger for a breakout becomes a point of contention.

Everything is scrutinized, from the moisturizer we use to our daily skincare routine. Yet, crying seems an unconventional suspect in our quest to identify acne triggers.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Crying does not directly cause acne, but related behaviors such as rubbing eyes and leaving salty tears to dry on the skin can lead to skin irritation and potential breakouts.
  • Stress associated with crying can increase cortisol levels, leading to more oil production and possible acne, highlighting the need for stress management for skin health.
  • It's important to cleanse and hydrate your skin after a crying session to remove tears, prevent dryness, and maintain skin hydration.
  • Exposed Skin Care provides a comprehensive, dermatologist-backed solution for managing acne, with its targeted and natural approach suitable for all skin types.

Close up of woman crying

Demystifying the Connection: Does Crying Cause Acne?

The Composition of Tears

Understanding the contents of our tears can help us understand if a crying session could cause acne. Tears are made of water, electrolytes, and proteins such as lysozyme, lipids, and mucins.

  • Water: The bulk of our tears are made of water. However, far from drying out the skin, water can hydrate and replenish it.
  • Salt: Salt, a key component of tears, could affect your skin. High salt levels can cause low-grade dehydration on the skin's surface, especially in people with sensitive skin.
  • Lysozyme: This is an enzyme with antimicrobial properties, which means it helps protect our eyes from bacterial infections. While it's good for the eyes, its impact on the skin isn't fully established.

These components may not directly cause breakouts or affect your skin adversely. However, the interaction of tears with our skin could potentially pose issues.

Emotional Tears and Acne

You may have noticed that the skin around your eyes and cheeks, particularly the sensitive and delicate skin around the eyes, can feel puffy after a crying session.

This is because emotional tears can lead to the dilation of the blood vessels around the eyes. The increased blood flow in this area can cause swelling and inflammation, leaving you with puffier eyes and cheeks.

Woman looking at acne on face

However, puffiness or redness should not be confused with acne. While they both may cause discomfort, they stem from different causes and require different treatments.

Tears and Skin Friction

The friction from wiping away tears is a possible reason behind breakouts. Particularly in acne-prone individuals, the rubbing motion can cause irritation, potentially leading to acne mechanica. This type of acne occurs from excess pressure, heat, and friction on the skin.

Therefore, it's not necessarily the act of crying that could cause acne but how you manage those tears. Always remember to pat the tears away gently, rather than rub, to help reduce the risk of friction-related breakouts.

Going Beneath the Surface: The Impact of Crying on Skin Health

While the above pointers explain that crying doesn't directly cause acne, there might be some indirect ways in which it could affect your skin health. Crying has been known to impact our skin both inside and out, and understanding these effects can help us take better care of our skin, particularly post a good crying session.

The Cortisol Connection

Stress, a common reason for a good cry, triggers the release of cortisol. This hormone can cause your skin to produce more oil, which may lead to pore congestion, further causing breakouts. While crying helps relieve stress and thus reduces cortisol levels, if you're crying a lot, it might indicate persistent high stress - which might be the real cause behind your acne.

Image of man crying wearing a suit

Skin Hydration and Dehydration

A good cry can feel cathartic and emotionally relieving but can also lead to slight dehydration. Tears are essentially water being drawn from inside your body. Shedding a lot of tears could lead to mild dehydration, which can, in turn, dry out the skin and potentially trigger breakouts.

While crying, the skin around the eyes might feel moisturized due to the tears. However, the salt and water on the surface can evaporate, leaving your skin feeling dry. This might prompt your skin to produce more oil to compensate, potentially leading to acne.

Short-term Exposure to Tears

While short-term exposure to tears may not cause significant problems, frequent or extended crying sessions can disrupt your skin's barrier function, particularly for people with sensitive skin. The salt content in tears left on the skin for too long can dry it out, possibly causing irritation or breakouts.

Skincare After a Crying Session

If you’re feeling concerned about the potential pore-congesting effects on the skin after crying, here are a few simple skincare steps that could help prevent potential breakouts:

Man in suit washing his face after crying

  • Cleanse gently: Use a gentle cleanser to wash off the salty tears from your face. Avoid harsh ingredients like alcohol or sulfates, which can further dry out the skin. Consider ingredients like calendula or chamomile, known for their soothing properties.
  • Rehydrate: Rehydrate your skin by drinking plenty of water and applying a moisturizer to replenish lost hydration.
  • Soothe your skin: Apply a soothing eye mask or cold compress to help reduce puffiness and inflammation around the eyes and cheeks.
  • Avoid touching: The skin may experience increased sensitivity after crying. Avoid touching your face unnecessarily, particularly the skin around the eyes, to prevent friction and potential irritation.

Benefits of Exposed Skin Care for Acne Management

When it comes to managing acne, Exposed Skin Care has surfaced as a reliable companion. With a foundation in both science and nature, this line of skincare products is backed by dermatologists, helping to keep your skin type in mind while battling those pesky pimples.

Exposed Skin Care Basic Kit

Here are a few benefits of using Exposed Skin Care:

  • Comprehensive Treatment: This range addresses various skin conditions, strengthening your skin barrier and preventing further skin break.
  • Targeted Approach: The products focus on clearing the capillary pores and calming inflammation, thus addressing acne at its root.
  • Natural Ingredients: Boasting eight simple ingredients, with water being one, Exposed Skin Care emphasizes hydrating daily, offering a gentle approach to acne management.
  • Suits all skin types: Whether your skin was freaking out from stress or a crying session, these products are tailored to suit your unique skin type.

Crying is good; it releases endorphins, providing a self-soothing effect. While emotional tears actually help you feel better hours after one good crying session, Exposed Skin Care ensures your skin doesn't have to bear the brunt.


In the end, our understanding of crying's relationship with acne has been expanded. It's clear that while crying doesn't directly cause acne, certain related factors like rubbing your eyes, letting the tears dry on your skin, or experiencing stress may indirectly contribute to a breakout.

Remember, it's not fair to blame the tears alone. We shed tears for many reasons, emotional or physiological, and these tears carry an array of benefits. Beyond being a natural response to intense feelings, crying has a self-soothing effect that can contribute to our overall health and wellness. The benefits of crying are indeed extensive.

Products like Exposed Skin Care, with their targeted, natural, and comprehensive approach to acne, can help manage skin concerns effectively. So, let it get out—let the tears flow when they need to. And when your eyes get a little puffy, and your skin feels a bit irritated, turn to your trusted skincare routine.

This journey of understanding the relationship between crying and acne is making me wonder—what other skincare myths are waiting to be debunked? Our bodies are beautifully complex systems, and there's always more to learn, more to understand, and more ways to nurture them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can crying a lot make you break out?

A: Not necessarily. While crying doesn't directly cause acne, factors associated with it, like skin friction from wiping tears, skin dehydration, or the stress causing the crying in the first place, could potentially cause breakouts.

Q: Can tears irritate the skin?

A: The salt content in tears could dry out and irritate the skin, especially if left on for an extended period. Cleaning your face after a crying session is good practice to wash away the salty tears.

Q: How can I care for my skin after crying?

A: Cleanse your skin gently after crying, rehydrate by drinking water and applying a moisturizer, soothe your skin with a cooling compress or mask, and avoid touching your face unnecessarily to prevent irritation.

Q: Does crying cause puffy eyes?

A: Yes, crying can cause puffy eyes. This is due to the dilation of blood vessels around the eyes during a crying session. You can reduce puffiness with a cold compress or soothing eye mask.

Q: Can stress from crying cause acne?

A: It's not the act of crying but the stress causing it that could potentially lead to acne. Stress increases cortisol levels, making your skin produce more oil, possibly leading to breakouts.

Q: Is it bad to leave tears on your face?

A: It's not harmful per se, but leaving salty tears on your face for an extended period could dry out your skin and cause irritation. Cleaning your face after crying is recommended to remove the salt and hydrate your skin.

Q: What are emotional tears made of?

A: Emotional tears, like all tears, are primarily made of water, electrolytes, proteins such as lysozyme, lipids, and mucins. They also contain higher levels of certain hormones, which might help the body self-soothe during a stressful event.

Q: Is it necessary to wash your face after crying?

A: Yes, washing your face or cleansing it after crying can help remove the salty tears, rehydrate the skin, and reduce potential skin irritation or dryness.

Q: Can crying cause acne around the eyes?

A: While crying can cause puffiness and redness around the eyes, it doesn't directly cause acne in this area. However, rubbing your eyes a lot when you cry could potentially irritate and lead to breakouts. It's best to pat your tears away gently instead of rubbing.