In these dark days of Covid-19, we can sometimes lose sight of less threatening ailments. Acne is a good example – and yet there are several reasons why acne may have become more troublesome since the start of the pandemic.
Both socially and at work, most of us have been using virtual communications – such as Zoom, and there are other platforms available – and this has brought our faces into close scrutiny both from ourselves and others. Even small facial blemishes, in our minds, can assume very big proportions. Coupled with this increased awareness and sensitivity, the acne itself may have worsened. Acne can be exacerbated by any factor that causes stress – and Covid has been stressful in many different ways for all of us.
These factors may include job insecurity, fear of infection, worry about friends and relatives, loneliness, financial concerns and adjusting to working from home.
Covid has been associated with weight gain and changes in our diets.
Notably, home baking has surged, with supermarkets running out of flour. There has been an increase in alcohol consumption and in the purchase of “take-away’ meals (many of these will comprise ‘junk foods’). Since refined carbohydrates are known to be a cause for increases in acne severity, our dietary choices will have raised spot frequency. As lockdown eased, and we again got out and about, mask-wearing became more prevalent, and masks have been shown to make acne worse.
Masks trap moisture, sweat and oil on our faces, with breathing creating a warm breeding ground for bacteria. With the original lockdown, and with many of us working from home, we have spent more time indoors. This has reduced our exposure to the therapeutic effects of sunlight, another factor conspiring to exacerbate the spot count – and now we are coming to the time of the year when, even if we can get outside, sunlight is in shorter supply.
Couple all of this with less opportunity to have a “sun holiday” and escape all of these Covid related stresses, it is easy to see why acne is plaguing even those who are usually less susceptible to its curse. Not surprisingly, the Covid pandemic is getting many of us down, and sometimes low mood and acne can form something of a vicious circle. This cycle can be interrupted and reversed by some simple changes –
paying more attention to your dietary choices,
making sure you get outside every day for even half an hour,
making time for relaxation and “downtime” to destress
and of course paying more attention to enhancing your skincare routine.