Bad Acne? Blame It on ‘The New Normal’

Coronavirus is not only public health enemy #1, it’s also garnering blame for bad facial breakouts because three new behaviors  associated with the virus can trigger acne.

Read on for the breakdown – and don’t miss the dermatologist-recommended solutions that are available in office or through the magic of telehealth!

Acne Trigger #1 – Face Masks

First of all, thanks to everyone making the choice to protect their community by wearing a face mask in public settings. The CDC and state officials recommend wearing a mask in public to help lower the risk of disease transmission.

But as helpful as masks are in helping to prevent the spread of the virus, they aren’t exactly good for facial skin. That’s because, when masks fit well, they occlude the skin, block pores and hair follicles, and lead to breakouts. Adding insult to injury is that wearing makeup under a mask can worsen the skin’s condition even further.

Acne Trigger #2 – Our New Way of Life

People everywhere are finding fun ways to use Zoom, and at the top of that list are all kinds of ways to stay fit. If you’ve added a sweat class at home or are trying new facials in a Zoom spa night with your friends, beware!

These new routines are great for your mental and physical well-being, but changes to your normal routine can affect your skin and sometimes result in a breakout.

Acne Trigger #3 – Pandemic Stress

While dermatologists know the main causes of acne are bacterial overgrowth, clogged pores, hormones, and genetics, there is also a well-known connection between stress and acne.

When you are stressed out – due to working from home, trying to homeschool kids, economic issues, or just the unknown – your body signals the production of hormones that trigger an inflammatory process in the body. This can lead to increased oil production and clogged pores, which are the bedrock of acne breakouts.

The Way Back to Better Skin

The silver lining in all this is your favorite Midwest Derm physician. They can look at the root causes of any new breakout, refine your current skin care regimen, prescribe a medication to fight bacteria and clear pores – even give an expert boost to your cleansing and moisturizing products.

The most effective acne treatments our board-certified dermatologists prescribe include:

Topical acne medications that are applied on top of the skin:

  • Benzoyl peroxide creams and gels dry up excess oil in pores and fight bacteria on the skin’s surface.
  • Antibiotics also dry the skin’s surface and fight bacteria.
  • Retinol helps to loosen up blackheads and cause them to come to the skin’s surface.
  • Differin is a derivative of Vitamin A that gently clears pores. This helps to clear up acne blemishes and prevent new breakouts.

Oral acne medications, that are taken in pill form, by mouth:

  • Antibiotics decrease the bacteria caught in follicles.
  • Isotretinoin, commonly known as Accutane and other trade names, is reserved for severe cases of acne. With a six-month course of treatment, this Vitamin A derivative can completely clear acne.

Specialized acne therapies:

  • Comedone extraction to gently remove whiteheads, blackheads and open up pores.
  • Liquid nitrogen spray to reduce redness and swelling of acne cysts and to help open clogged pores.
  • Intralesional steroid injections to help reduce the pain, inflammation and redness that accompanies cystic acne.

Have You Tried Telehealth?

If you’re not ready to venture away from home just yet, check out our telehealth options. Several Midwest Dermatology physicians can see you from the comfort of your own home.