Staring at a backlit screen in an overheated office for 143 hours straight while deadlines whoosh by you isn't the best environment for your skin (or any other part of your body/brain, for that matter), especially if you're inflammation-prone, since chronic stress and sleep deprivation are major triggers. So it's probably not a surprise if you catch yourself in a mirror and notice you're blotchy and suddenly have a red, on-the-verge-of-becoming-a-problem bump or three. Don't worry, fellow redness-cursed desk dweller: I have been through this, and can report that it's possible to nip that shit in the bud, or at least give yourself a little extra time before you reach the Breakout Event Horizon. Here's what you'll need to forage from your office:
1. Aspirin or Advil
Fun fact: the anti-inflammatories you swallow also work directly on skin. I've been known to surreptitiously cut open an Advil Liqui-Gel and dab the goo inside on irritated spots. Pro tip: it's clear and dries quickly, so you can put concealer over it and go about your biz.
Aspirin has to be ground up (unless you have access to the miracle that is BC Powder), but once that's done, you mix it with water to form a paste and then dab on a thin layer. Aspirin has the added benefit of containing salicylic acid, so it exfoliates, too. Just don't use anything with acid on rashes or rosacea unless you're insane or angling for a day off.
2. Green tea bags
Green tea is good for what ails you in general, but inflammation in particular. There are a couple ways to go with this. You can brew some using three or four tea bags, let it cool (sticking it in the fridge accelerates this part), then dab the tea all over your face using a soft tissue. Then, wring out the tea bags and use them as a poultices anywhere that's particularly inflamed. If you have a little more prep time, you can also make green tea ice cubes, which feel great and take down swelling, too. Just wrap them in a tissue—don't want to give yourself freezer burn.
3. Turmeric (if you have a fancy work kitchen)
Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory, which is why you see it in so many arthritis supplements. On your skin, it makes a great spot treatment or all-over mask. The only catch is that it's bright yellow, so this one's more for people who have very private cubicles, are alone after-hours, or maybe just don't care (I hear funemployment is great!).
Photos by Lacey Gattis.