Skin Science

Why Am I Getting Breakouts During Quarantine?

Dr. Ranella Hirsch explains why you might be seeing skin irritation during quarantine.

Dr. Ranella Hirsch

Co-Founder of Atolla

Dr. Ranella Hirsch

Dr. Hirsch is a frequently quoted authority in cosmetic dermatology. Called an "expert derm" by Allure and a "beauty guru" by Marie Claire, Dr. Hirsch is the past President of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery.



Skin Science

1. You're stressed out.

Stress is known to exacerbate inflammatory conditions, and you can get breakouts. Stress ramps up the production of several hormones in the body; androgens and particularly cortisol, chief among them. Cortisol can directly stimulate sebum production — and breakouts can ensue soon thereafter.

Consider adding an ingredient active against breakouts if this is happening to you, like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.

2. Your products.

So many people are experimenting with skincare during this stay at home. Breakouts can follow from either using the right product the wrong way, or the wrong product the right way. When it comes to skincare, you can definitely have too much of a good thing.

Rules to keep in mind: 

  • Add one product at a time. If you add more than one, there isn't an easy way to determine the source of breakouts. 
  • Avoid mixing certain ingredients. For example: Vitamin C and any of the hydroxy acids, because acidity will destabilize Vitamin C and it is already a fairly unstable molecule; or Vitamin A derivatives (retinoids/retinols etc.) with other irritating products like hydroxy acids. 
  • The goal is to slowly titrate up to get the full benefits from a given ingredient.
  • Other incidental ingredients tend to just increase irritation, not necessarily good results.

Get more expert knowledge from Dr. Hirsch on her Instagram account (@ranellaMD).

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