Aside from getting dolled up for a Zoom team meeting here and there, it’s likely that you aren’t wearing makeup (or maybe just less) while social distancing these days. It would make sense in theory that giving skin a little break from the blush and bronzer is beneficial every once in a while, but how, exactly, can it help your skin? Ahead, we ask the pros about different ways going makeup-free can help clear up your complexion.
“Often, a barrier of makeup increases oil production, so not wearing makeup can decrease oiliness, clogged pores and pimples,” explains Hadley King, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. She warns, however, that these benefits could potentially come with an adjustment period.
While your skin is recalibrating and getting used to the new normal of going makeup-free, it could be temporarily affecting your sebum production, which could lead to clogged pores and breakouts, according to Dr. King. “If this is happening, keep the other parts of your skincare routine gentle—a gentle cleanser and soothing moisturizer,” she says. “Consider adding in an active ingredient like a retinoid or salicylic acid. Although these ingredients can cause skin purging, they will ultimately lead to a clearer complexion.” Here are the other benefits you could see when you go makeup free:
Your skin’s surface will become balanced again.
“By avoiding application of foundation and blush, the skin is allowed to return to its natural oil balance and hydration,” explains Nadia Kihiczak, MD, a dermatologist at Spring Street Dermatology in New York City. “Additionally, without wearing makeup, the typical daily use of toner or over-washing the skin to remove the makeup, which can strip the skin of its natural oil balance, can be minimized further, allowing the skin to recalibrate.”
Your acne might be less likely to flare up.
“Unlike many skincare product ingredients, which penetrate into your skin, makeup sits on top of your skin—this coverage may affect your skin’s sebum production and its natural hydrators because skin behaves differently depending on external factors like humidity,” says Dr. King. “Often, a barrier of makeup increases oil production, so not wearing makeup can decrease oiliness, clogged pores, and pimples.”
You’re exposing your skin to less bacteria.
“By not wearing makeup, you are not unnecessarily exposing your delicate facial skin to bacteria which thrive in the application brushes and makeup palettes that you use day after day,” says Dr. Kihiczak. “Even if you’re washing your brushes regularly, the bacteria can remain in them and in the makeup itself, even if they have added preservatives.”
Additionally, most folks apply their makeup in the bathroom, exposing their products to other types of bacteria, which can contaminate the makeup. “In particular, mascara and eyeliners applied repeatedly to the skin of the eyes and eyelid margins can introduce bacteria to this very delicate skin possibly leading to eye infections,” says Dr. Kihiczak.
Your fine lines will be less prominent.
“Makeup, especially powder makeup, can rest in fine lines and wrinkles and can actually make them appear more pronounced, especially around the eyes,” says Dr. Kihiczak. “Then, the process of removing the makeup nightly can result in tugging and pulling the skin on a regular basis which can affect the elasticity of the skin and, therefore, accelerate aging.”
Your lashes will look fuller.
“If you were wearing enough mascara to be causing breakage, or sleeping in it, or not removing it gently enough, and causing breakage that way, you may notice that your lashes seem longer or fuller due to lack of breakage,” explains Dr. King.
Dr. Kihiczak agrees, stating that if you forego mascara for a month, you’ll be stopping the irritation and rubbing, where less lashes will fall out and the density of the lashes can normalize—your lashes will appear to be thicker.