This Is Why Your Skin Has Acne, Irritation, and Other Issues Right Now

Now that most of us are spending extra time at home thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve started to tune in to our skin in a way we didn’t necessarily have time for previously—and some of us aren’t too pleased with what we’re seeing.

For some, this time at home has finally allowed us to scale back on all those products, revealing clear skin with—surprise!—a minimalist routine. But others are finding themselves battling breakout after breakout, Carol Cheng, M.D., assistant clinical professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and director of the Acne Procedure Clinic at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, tells SELF. “I’ve seen it go both ways,” she says, “and I can see a number of reasons why.”

Whether your skin is getting better these days or…not, here’s what might be behind those changes.

There are tons of factors that could be affecting your skin right now—for better or worse.

It’s important to remember that some acne triggers aren’t going to change right now, Dr. Cheng says, such as the hormonal influence on skin and acne. But here are a few things that might be making a difference on your skin.

Stress, sleep, diet. People’s skin may respond to things like changes in stress, diet, and sleep in different ways, and we don’t totally understand why, Dr. Cheng says. But if you notice that your skin is behaving badly right now, it makes sense that it might have something to do with these other big changes in your environment and behavior right now.

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Using fewer skin-care products. “Part of what’s helping people is they are cleaning up their routine,” Mary L. Stevenson, M.D., assistant professor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU Langone Health, tells SELF. Not having to go into an office every day is giving us the freedom to cut back on our skin-care regimens and really take the time to be thoughtful about what we’re putting on our face—perhaps we’re even doing it over the course of a morning rather than in 30 seconds before rushing out the door!

For some, that minimalism might make them realize they didn’t actually need all those products and that some of them might have even been making their skin break out or irritated. But some of us really do rely on those products to keep our skin calm and clear, Dr. Stevenson says, so taking a break could have a detrimental effect on our skin.

Working out at home. If you, like many of us, have gone from working out at your favorite gym or studio class to exclusively working out at home, that could also be having an effect on your skin, Dr. Stevenson says. At home you have time to take off your makeup, you’re not working out in the same room as 25 other sweaty people, and you can clean off all that sweat immediately after you’re done rather than waiting a full subway ride to shower at home. Having that much newfound control over your fitness environment could lead to overall less irritated and less acne-prone skin.

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Wearing less makeup. As with skin care, a lot of us are finding that there’s less of a need to wear makeup daily because we’re leaving home so much less often. Personally, outside of the occasional Zoom call, I basically don’t wear any makeup these days, and my skin has been pretty into it. That could be because the products I was wearing are irritating, or it could just be the simple fact of not having an extra layer of stuff on top of my skin helps prevent acne. “The most irritating thing we do is too much,” Dr. Stevenson says., GO TO SAUBIO DIGITAL FOR MORE ANSWERS AND INFORMATION ON ANY TOPIC

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