Pandemic Skin

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlighted an explosion of skin problems that has been notable since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated quarantine.  Despite the fact that many women are not wearing makeup as they are working from home, they are still experiencing skin breakouts at an accelerated rate.

Many skin care professionals are seeing this phenomenon.  They even have a new name and hashtag for it: #quarantineskin.

Basically, stress is thought to be the culprit for these breakouts.  Both financial and emotional stress from several months of uncertainty has been playing havoc with stress hormones in our bodies and subsequently on our skin.

The predominant hormone activated by stress is cortisol, which is released directly into our blood.  This hormone stimulates the production of oil, leading to a cascade of skin reactions and ultimately pimple outbreaks.

Another factor during this quarantine time is that many people are eating differently than their usual diet.  During times of stress, many of us tend to eat more "comfort foods" and snacks that tend to be high in sugars and carbohydrates.

Spikes are also being seen in alcohol consumption.  All of these dietary elements can cause increased inflammation within the body, aggravating many skin problems including acne, psoriasis, and eczema.

Finally, mask wearing, which is vital for prevention of spread of this coronavirus, can trap oil, mositure, and dirt on the face, while also causing local friction and irritation.  We have all seen pictures of the doctors and nurses on the front lines in ERs and hospitals throughout the country (especially in New York City) with bruises and other marks on their faces from prolonged wearting of the most occlusive N95 masks.

The best advice for the management of quarantine skin is the most basic:

  • Keep to a regular routine of sleep, exercise and skin care.
  • Limit excess carbohydrates in your diet.
  • Get outside in a safe manner when you can.
  • Wash your face regularly.
  • If you do have a breakout of any kind, absolutely do not pick or poke.

Now that we here at Maine Laser Skin Care are open again, although limited in terms of our treatment menu, we can discuss any problems with you by phone, through Facetime, or in person.  We can work with you to develop a program and plan of action for your individual skin issues.

All you have to do is call us at (207) 303-0125 in Scarborough or (207) 873-2158 in Augusta to schedule a free consultation.  Please continue to stay safe out there.