3 Reasons Your Skin Is Freaking Out Right Now
Editor’s note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, self care is more important than ever. We hope you'll find comfort and inspiration in our content. We'd love to hear what you're doing in the name of self care, too, so tag us on Instagram @skincare. Sending everyone big virtual hugs!
As if a global pandemic isn’t enough to worry about, you might be struggling with your skin right now, too. You’re staying inside, you’re not touching your face, you’re not wearing much makeup, and yet, skin issues like acne, dryness and uneven tone just won’t let up. So what gives? We asked Dr. Nazanin Saedi, a Philadelphia-based board-certified dermatologist, to share her prognosis and tips for managing your skin concerns during this (and any other) stressful time.
Why Your Skin Is Freaking Out
“People are experiencing all kinds of skin issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic because of stress, washing their face and hands more frequently and indoor heating,” explains Dr. Saedi. Here, she breaks down what’s going on with all three.
“Stress can cause different shifts in hormones, such as increased cortisol, and make people break out,” says Dr. Saedi. She also mentions that in times of increased anxiety, you might not always be reaching for the healthiest foods, so an increased glycemic index could also be a factor here.
Of course the best way to prevent and get rid of stress acne is to chill out, but that’s not exactly easy when it seems like every news report is more panic-inducing than the next. For her patients, Dr. Saedi has been recommending the use of benzoyl peroxide in gentle formulations. “Benzoyl peroxide is great for killing bacteria on the skin surface and great for acne,” she says. “Just don’t overdo it because it can cause irritation and dry out your skin.” A non-drying formula we love is the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo, a spot treatment that contains 5.5% micronized benzoyl peroxide. We also like the Cerave Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser with 4% benzoyl peroxide.
Increased Face and Hand Washing
Definitely don’t stop diligently washing your hands and cleansing your face, but be aware that if your skin is really dry, these healthy habits are potential causes. Dr. Saedi says that because hands transfer oils onto the skin, even the fact that you’re avoiding contact with your face during the day can be contributing to a more dehydrated state than normal.
This is why it’s important not to skimp on moisturizer right now. Dr. Saedi suggests using products that contain ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid. “Ceramides will help replenish the skin barrier, and hyaluronic acid will help attract water to keep your skin hydrated,” she says. For an intensive hydrating treatment, try the L’Oréal Paris 1.9% Pure Hyaluronic Acid 7 Replumping Ampoules.
Another tip is to apply hand lotion after washing your hands while your skin is still damp and a facial moisturizer immediately after showering. “This will help trap the moisture,” she says.
“Most of the country is still cold and we’re all inside with heaters on and the dry air can dry out the skin,” says Dr. Saedi. Try keeping a humidifier on during the day or while you sleep to add moisture back into the air. You can also use products with the ingredients mentioned above to replenish hydration and prevent moisture loss. If you find your skin looks dull and flaky, Dr. Saedi recommends incorporating a chemical exfoliant like glycolic acid into your routine as well. “This helps get rid of the dead skin cells on the skin surface,” she says. Look for it in over-the-counter peel pads, overnight creams or serums like the SkinCeuticals Retexturing Activator.