Why the sudden breakout? | Does stress cause acne?
You know that random breakout that shows up only when you’re stressed? Sudden changes in our lives can show up - seemingly out of nowhere - as changes in our skin too.
Many of us who usually enjoy clear skin can suddenly experience rashes, breakouts or excessive dryness when we go through life changes. Take a look at what’s happening around you and consider the following options to clear things up:
- Stress: This is one of the biggest culprits of sudden skin changes, not just because of what’s happening internally but also because of changed eating habits. When we’re stressed we tend to not eat properly: we eat too much, too little or the wrong kinds of food (especially sugar and alcohol) which can cause hormonal disturbances. If this is the case, your skin will calm down and go back to normal once you get back into your regular eating habits and reduce your sugar and alcohol intake.
- Dairy: If there’s one thing I’ve seen throughout my 20+ years career of treating all types of skin, it's that too much dairy in your diet will absolutely cause breakouts. Examine your dairy intake of the past few weeks and see if that’s what could be causing your skin to rebel. Forgo dairy altogether for the next 3 weeks and see if your skin improves (I have a strong feeling it will). If you can’t cut out dairy completely, at least limit your intake to goat or sheep products, cow’s milk protein just isn’t kind to your skin or overall health.
- Protocol changes: A new skin care regimen - even just the change of one product - can cause havoc on your skin. Two of the biggest causes of reactions are sunblock and foundation, which is why I recommend testing out a new sunblock or foundation for a month without any other changes to your skin care protocol in order to see if it agrees with your skin. Keep in mind that it can take 2 to 3 weeks to see the true benefits or side effects of any new skin care products. Your skin might initially be going through some kind of purging or adjusting to the new regimen, especially if you’re adding a new acid or retinol, which is OK! But if it doesn’t get better, or if you’re worried at all, check in with your esthetician or skin care provider. If they’re telling you that your skin is still “adjusting” after six weeks - seek another opinion.
- Expired products: Check the expiration date of your makeup and skin care products to make sure you’re not using anything expired. Rashes around your eyes and on your face can often be caused by old products, in which case please discard and start over! Speaking of makeup - please clean your brushes weekly!
- Beauty sleep: Change your pillowcases every 3 to 4 days, or every couple of days if you’re acneic. I highly recommend sleeping on a slipsilk™ pillowcase, because silk is antibacterial, it reduces absorption of facial products, and reduces friction and pressure (aka no more sleep creases on your face).
- Expert advice: Remember, you’re not expected to be a skin care expert. Make an appointment for an online consultation with your esthetician to help take the stress and guesswork out of your sudden skin care concerns.
Most importantly, when your skin is starting to react to changes, pull back and do less rather than more. Take a breath and realize that this change is only temporary, you will see clear skin again!