Should you ditch makeup if you're social distancing at home? We asked an expert

Alyssa Tria
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As much as I love wearing makeup and playing around with new face and eye palettes, I also really appreciate the days where I’m not required to put anything on my face. So while I’ve been dreading the loneliness of my self-isolation period, I am also not mad about it — I have the comfort and the freedom go bare face and let my skin breathe.

Sure, I’ve gone many lazy weekends without wearing makeup, but this has been the longest run of my professional adult life that I’ve fully ignored my BB cream, concealer, bronzers and arsenals of mascaras and coral blushes. I’m right now at the day 12 mark of staying indoors, but I’ve already been noticing the change for days now. Rather than waking up to a complexion riddled with blemishes and large, oil-congested pores, my skin looks amazing. I'm talking an even skin tone and a healthy glow without the typical light-catching glare between my brows and forehead.

As happy I was about the drastic improvements in my skin, I was mostly shocked about how much good can come from taking a break from makeup in just a few days. After all, if you know me, you know I don’t wear much daily. But just like taking time off time from your work life and incorporating rest days and cheat days to your workout routine, a break from makeup once in a while is a crucial step to have in a healthy beauty regimen to all allow the skin to replenish itself.

To confirm what I thought, I thought I’d ask a pro.

“It lets skin just be skin! Without occlusion, or congestion, or irritation — all of which products can unfortunately trigger. It also allows one to cleanse but avoid the urge to overdo it and over-cleanse since there's less product to remove from the skin anyway,” explains dermatologist Dr. Renée A. Beach, MD, FRCPC.

“On a more clinical level, your skin may simply enjoy less product interacting with its pilosebaceous units (pores) and therefore look less dull,” she adds.

According to Dr. Sandy Skotnicki, assistant professor of dermatology and occupational health at the University of Toronto, a makeup detox is most beneficial to those with constantly evolving skin types: acne-prone, oily and sensitive.

“Most makeup products [contain] ingredients like fillers, emulsifiers, oils, stabilizers and preservatives —many of these clog pores or are comedogenic,” says Skotnicki, who is also medical director at the Bay Dermatology Centre. “Patients with acne-prone skin are more likely to get clogged pores from over makeup use while patients with fair skin or a reddish complexion are typically more reactive, and so less is more for these skin types.”

When it comes to oily and acne-prone skin, a pause on makeup can also mean slowing down the over-production of sebum and putting the natural process of keratolysis (where the skin sloughs off old skin cells to make room for new ones) into high gear. For reactive skin types, it’s a surefire way to prevent redness, itching and burning.

But does less makeup also mean less skincare? Beach says it’s fine to take a break from certain skincare products, too, if you’re comfortable with it.

“These are totally abnormal times and adhering to one's morning routine can provide solace. I get that. But, if nobody needs to see your face you are just as fine to take a break from it but include your cleanser and your sunscreen at a minimum (especially if you work beside a window). I am personally sticking with my morning cleanser, serum, sunscreen routine - but I'm also definitely biased,” Beach explains.

She says that it really depends on which products are in your regular rotation.

“For example, your cleanser, and sunscreen are staples,” Beach explains. “Getting more intricate with serums and corrective products are "optional" but would still be recommended to help even skin tone, smoothen texture (we gravitate towards these but they're not necessarily must-haves).”


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