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One remedy experts recommend is chemical-free and doesn't cost a cent. The Rx: R-E-L-A-X. Stress is a major cause of zits. When you're in freak-out mode, your body reacts by pumping out cortisol (the stress hormone), which stimulates oil glands, leading to breakouts. Modern life is to blame, says Ava Shamban, MD, a dermatologist in Santa Monica, California. The complicated juggle of a husband, kids, a job, and a household to run take a toll on skin. Exercise, good nutrition, boosting protein, and adequate sleep can all help.