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What Happens to Your Skin When You Stop Wearing Makeup for a Day, Week, or Month

Rachel Lapidos

Rachel LapidosMarch 17, 2020

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Photo: Stocksy/Leandro Crespi Studio

Global cases of Covid-19 are rising, leading many people to work remotely for the foreseeable future. Working from home has its pros and cons, like more time with your pet, but for many it can also increase feelings loneliness. However, one thing rings (mainly) true: It’s certainly easier to skip makeup if you so choose. So, we asked dermatologists for the low-down on just what happens to your skin when you don’t wear makeup.

“Typically when people stop wearing makeup, especially if the makeup they were wearing was occlusive or comedogenic, they state that their skin looks better,” says Rachel Nazarian, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. A makeup break works as a skin refresher, and results in brighter, more even, less broken out skin. This is because unlike your skin care, which penetrates into your skin, makeup sits on top of your complexion. So what happens to your skin when you give it a break for different lengths of time? We asked the pros to find out.

A day

Without it, your skin can “breathe,” so to speak, but what does that really mean? In the short term, it just means that your skin is able to better recalibrate itself. “Your skin behaves differently depending on humidity levels, stress levels, and many other [external] factors, so if you keep it covered in makeup, your skin may choose to increase or decrease sebum and oil production, and increase or decrease its natural hydrators,” says Dr. Nazarian. FWIW, she points out that you should still continue with your skin-care essentials like moisturizers, serums, and SPF despite being on a break with makeup.

A week

Oftentimes, a barrier of makeup can make your skin produce more oil, which can lead to breakouts because there’s a better chance for pores to be clogged over the span of a week. “By putting less makeup on your face, you can improve acne, and there’s less of a chance that you’ll get blackheads or breakouts,” says Candace Marino, a Los Angeles-based medical aesthetician. Dr. Nazarian adds that conditions like rosacea can also improve, since there’s less of a chance that your skin will be in contact with potentially irritating or pore-clogging ingredients.

A month

If you go a month without makeup, you’ll see even more benefits. Remember that your skin cell turnover cycle takes about 28 days—and this is something that your skin does on its own. “The application of daily makeup may interfere with that cycle,” says Dr. Nazarian. “The longer your skin can go without makeup, the better it will regulate your skin’s temperature, oil control, hydration, and its natural exfoliation process.” Besides that, you’ll be able to streamline unnecessary parts of your skin-care routine (like a toner or a double cleanse) since you’re not trying to get off all remnants of makeup. “Not having to remove makeup at night is a great break for the skin,” says Marino. And with that, tonight I’ll be stowing away my makeup bag for the foreseeable future.

These are the best skin-care sets to buy if you’re new to your regimen. And this is how forest skin care works to save stressed-out, sensitive complexions. 

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