Your new skincare regimen isn’t working… yet
You bought a bunch of new products expecting an immediate improvement, but your investment doesn’t look like it’s paying off. Here’s why: It’s completely normal to continue to break out as skin goes through an adjustment period. “When you start a new regimen, it can take one to three months to see results. Some people give up after one week, but that’s not enough time,” says Marina Peredo, MD, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Also, consider that you may not be doing enough. While a topical regimen may clear up some acne, breakouts are a multifactorial beast. You have to think about getting stress levels under control and sleeping enough (both of which can drive up inflammation in your body, bringing on breakouts)—not just slathering on cream and hoping for the best.
Your makeup is too heavy
It’s a natural reaction: You’re breaking out, so you slather on heavier makeup. In turn, skin can’t breathe (products plug pores and oil glands), bolstering bacteria and causing more breakouts. The cycle repeats until you have no choice but to put on more makeup to cover the red bumps. A dermatologist can work with you to break the habit. She may put you on a topical program, oral medication, or recommend treatments like microdermabrasion or laser resurfacing to correct acne scarring. Once you get acne under control, you won’t need to be heavy handed with the foundation or concealer.
It’s your hair
If you regularly use a heavy pomade or conditioner or wash hair less often, the oil and grease from your scalp will travel onto your forehead. “If you see breakouts right by your hairline you can assume they’re due to sprays or oily conditioner,” says Peredo. She tells her patients to switch to lighter hair products, wash their hair more frequently, or even change their go-to hairstyle to one that keeps hair off their face.