No matter how much time or money you spend on your skincare routine during more “normal” times, you’re probably not about to turn down any effective ways to save money on all of that, particularly while we really can’t shop in-store or visit our dermatologist, facialist, or esthetician. And given the fact that your face is probably being seen by a decidedly smaller number of people each day than it usually would, you might be tempted to try all kinds of treatments and procedures that would normally require some downtime. That combination of motivators might lead you to think that everything is fair game right now, but more isn’t always more. In fact, as many skincare devotees will tell you, oftentimes, more just means more complicated.
To lead us all through this time—and keep us from doing anything drastic—we enlisted the help of Dr. Sandra Lee, MD, FAAD, FAACS, the founder of SLMD Skincare and, of course, the dermatologist also known as Dr. Pimple Popper.
1. When in doubt, don’t make changes and don’t do too much
Lee’s biggest advice? Don’t do too much and don’t change too much.
“I think it’s easy to overdo things while we’re stuck inside, and not able to do much,” Lee said. “People are stressed and everyone deals with that differently, maybe by picking at your face, trying to use every skincare product you own—making you feel like you have a sense of control! Picking at your face is a big don’t (I know, easier said than done) and I also think during this shelter in place, people should be sticking to the regular skincare routine they usually do, rather than introducing a number of new products. There is risk for allergic reaction to new products and it’s more difficult to see a dermatologist in the current climate if you break out.”
Particularly if you have a tendency to have a reaction or irritation in response to new products, your time spent at home while you’re socially distancing may not actually be the right time to give new-to-you products or treatments a whirl, because you could end up having to deal with any reactions on your own.
2. You already know this, but seriously, don’t pick
When it comes to picking your face, you’ve heard the potential consequence a million times before: scarring. “I do not advise picking at your skin because it can really exacerbate current skin conditions and breakouts, and there is definitely potential for scarring,” Lee said. “There is a name for that—it’s called Acne excoriee, and it’s when a person picks at their acne and now he/she has scabs, which can increase the risk of skin infection and permanent scarring.”
3. Don’t leave spots you’re tempted to picking at uncovered
Opt for a spot treatment (vital to keep on-hand) and make sure that you’re doing what you can to discourage yourself from picking at any spots on your face.
“I’d recommend that you cover the area with a [bandage], or better yet, apply an acne spot treatment, a dollop of cream right over the pimple or the red bump,” Lee advised. “If you reach up to pick at the bump, you will be reminded that there is cream on the area and this will remind you to not pick at your skin. Benzoyl peroxide is good because it’s antibacterial, but also salicylic acid or sulfur. I also advise that you stick to your regular skincare routine because I really believe less is more, and it’s best to maintain as much normalcy as we can right now!”
People are stressed and everyone deals with that, differently, maybe by picking at your face, trying to use every skincare product you own—making you feel like you have a sense of control!
Keeping yourself from picking your face or trying not to pop any bumps is more important than just to prevent scarring. You may have bumps that you think could be acne, but aren’t, in which case, you’ll do more harm by attempting to pop them.
“If you are experiencing other bumps, like little cysts, milia, a lipoma, these definitely require the attention of a board-certified dermatologist, so keep your hands off those until you are able to see one and have them properly treated,” Lee explained.
Don’t fret about how your skin is reacting right now
Above all, don’t panic about whatever may be happening to your skin right now. It might not look or feel the way that it normally does and that’s OK (even if it doesn’t feel as though it is). Lee said the key is staying calm and keeping that spot treatment and moisturizer (for face and body) handy.
“There’s no better time to walk around the house with a few little dollops of spot treatment on your face because no one will be seeing [or] judging you,” Lee noted. “Also, know that artificial heat and the air in your home can definitely be very drying.”
There’s no better time to walk around the house with a few little dollops of spot treatment on your face because no one will be seeing [or] judging you.
Your skin is likely taking a bit of a beating right now, between stress and an interrupted routine, not to mention the fact that you’re probably washing your hands now more than ever. Try to keep it all in perspective and go easy on yourself.
“Be kind and know that we will all get through this, together,” Lee said. “With the help of pimple popping videos, a good skincare routine, family time, and lots of snacks! We are not stuck at home but we are safe at home.”