With a lot of people working at home during the COVID-19 lockdown, bedrooms have become temporary offices and for some, the bed serves as their work area, as well. It is easy to picture anyone propped up against the headboard or pillows while working on their laptops.
It may not even enter your mind that this can be the culprit of multiple breakouts. If you don't spend a lot of time outdoors and mask-wearing is reserved for errands, it is not mask acne — it may just be your pillowcases.
While stress is also a factor, look closer at your work routine at home. According to Instyle, if you do work in bed, your pillowcases may actually be contributing to acne flares. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Lian Mack says that in just a few days, oil, bacteria, dirt, and dead skin cells can buildup on a pillow's surface and these can contribute to acne breakouts.
You can also blame your hair game. Hair gels, oils, and other leave-on products can also clog pores and cause skin irritation. As all these factors can be present on your pillowcase, it's advisable to change it more often than usual.
Before the pandemic, Dr. Mack says she would recommend changing pillowcases every three days. Now, given the increased amount of time that we spend in bed, it would be best to change it every day or every other day. She adds that cotton pillowcases can help minimize breakouts as they're more breathable than other fabrics.
Silk pillowcases will be even better for those who have sensitive and acne-prone skin. She explains that not only are silk pillows great for reducing friction on hair, they also don't absorb moisture as much as cotton and that makes them a good option to also reduce breakouts.
Dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman reminds Health that when washing pillowcases, it's better to use fragrance-free detergents and to avoid fabric conditioners. Fragrance often causes skin irritations and to eliminate it will be one less problem for your skin.
Dr. Marisa Garschick, board-certified dermatologist at Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, says that if you have noticed increased breakouts, it's crucial to cleanse your face at least twice a day to remove dirt and oil buildup. Since you're going to be washing your face more often, she suggests using a gentle cleanser like CeraVe Hydrating Cream to Foam Cleanser or Dove Beauty Bar.
However, if your skin is on the dry side, Dr. Garschick suggests using micellar water instead and reserve the facial cleanser for your evening routine. Allure recommends La Roche-Posay Micellar Water Ultra, Mustela Micellar Water With Organic Aloe Vera & Olive Oil, L'Oréal Paris Micellar Cleansing Water, and Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water.
In the evening, the dermatologists suggest adding benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to your routine. These are the two most effective acne-fighting ingredients that get rid of excess oil and dead skin cells. Don't forget to moisturize with a non-comedogenic formula like CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Oil-Free Acne Moisturizer (which also has salicylic acid), or La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer.
Lastly, Dr. Mack suggests pulling your hair up and keeping it out of your face before bed. Just tie it loosely to prevent putting stress on your scalp.
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