Skin gone from an out-of-the-blue blemish to an all-out breakout? Noticed an oily sheen on your makeup-free face during your Zoom meeting? You’re not alone. In the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic, stress is at an all-time high, which can take a toll not only on your psyche, but on your skin.
Prolonged periods of stress hamper the skin's ability to heal itself, which can compromise the barrier.
While anxiety isn't the cause of acne, it can trigger breakouts and make existing issues worse. At the first sign of stress, the body churns out hormones like cortisol, which can cause inflammation and ramp up oil production in the sebaceous glands. Prolonged periods of stress hamper the skin's ability to heal itself, which can compromise the barrier. That means those bumps may stick around longer, and could even result in scarring. Plus, the greater the stress, the worse the breakout: In a 2003 Stanford University study of college students, researchers found that acne severity correlated highly with increasing stress levels.
Apart from these biological drivers of stress-related acne, feeling frazzled can interfere with healthy lifestyle behaviors and routines, which could promote breakouts. Thanks to social distancing, you might find yourself eating and drinking too much, staying up too late and struggling to meet your daily exercise goals.
How to stay in the clear while quarantining and beyond? Experts recommend going back to basics. Aim to get plenty of sleep and some daily exercise, and to eat a healthy, balanced diet.
Reach for products with research-backed ingredients, and stay the course until you see results.
When it comes to your skincare routine, consistency is key. Reach for products with research-backed ingredients, and stay the course until you see results. For face and body breakouts, cleanse once or twice daily with Humane Acne Wash. It contains 10% benzoyl peroxide to penetrate pores and kill acne-causing bacteria. Follow with a BHA-powered liquid exfoliant like our Clarifying Toner. Formulated with 2% salicylic acid, it gently dissolves pore-clogging debris and oil and restores skin’s radiance.
While it may seem counterintuitive, be sure to moisturize. Acne-fighting ingredients can dry your complexion, leading to redness and irritation. (And no judgment, but alcohol can dehydrate as well.) When that happens, the body signals the brain that the skin isn’t protected, which then sends those oil glands into overdrive. Stick with a noncomedogenic lotion like Humane Oil-Free Moisturizer, which packs super-hydrating hyaluronic acid and soothing botanicals. Follow with a broad-spectrum sunscreen before going outside.
Making a concerted effort to tame tension—even for a few minutes a day—will help you and your skin cope with the chaos.
Be mindful of touching your face—which shouldn't be hard given the health professionals' firm suggestion not to do so. Handling your skin adds more oil and debris to the mix, and picking skin can lead to scarring.
Finally, try to stay calm. Okay, so given the daily onslaught of distressing news, that’s a lot easier said than done. But making a concerted effort to tame tension—even for a few minutes a day—will help you and your skin cope with the chaos. Squeeze in some physical activity each day to boost those feel-good endorphins. Then consider some proven stress-reducers, such as mindfulness meditation, yoga and tai chi. (There are a spate of apps and websites providing guidance right now.)
Take regular breaks from your TV and computer screen every so often and devote time to doing things that always feel good, be it taking a long walk with your dog, learning some TikTok dance routines or scheduling a FaceTime session with a friend. And keep in mind that taking a deep breath can go a long way toward keeping your skin and spirit healthy.