I make a decent focaccia now, but a few years ago I was terrible. Actually, I was God-awful—couldn’t pay anyone to eat that mealy cardboard. The problem was I hadn’t figured out my “rhythm,” which is a thing you have to nail down in bread making. After a while I developed a feel for things: the plasticity of the dough after adequate kneading, the proper dimpling ratio, the balance of toppings that complemented the bread as a whole. I had unlocked the mystery focaccia techniques that worked for me! And until a month ago, I had felt the same way about my skincare too.
You know what happened next. The perfect skincare recipe that I’d labored over for years, the one that had been tailored to hydrate without clogging, smooth without drying, and most importantly, not break me out, began to fall apart no matter how much I stuck to my routine. The dryness I could manage, but the pimples? The pimples that sprouted, seemingly, anywhere? Oh, they had to go. But...how? I was used to a few on my nose or chin from time to time, but these new ones were blowing up on my cheeks, forehead, and jaw—unchartered territory. These were no ordinary pimples, they were stress pimples, and my go-tos weren’t up to the challenge.
In her monthly column, board-certified dermatologist Shereene Idriss said one way to fight these guys is with a little mental gymnastics. If you acknowledge the stress pimples are simply that, and that the stress causing them is only temporary, the thought alone may clear things up. I’m all for positive thinking, but I wouldn’t mind a little backup, too. A zit stun gun while I try to catch a wave of calm. Maybe I need to switch over to a different active ingredient—salicylic acid spot treatments instead of benzoyl peroxide. Perhaps sulfur’s the answer, or maybe I should just do less. One thing that’s pulling me through is knowing that I’m not alone, that pretty much everyone is stressed and breaking out now. But since we’re in this together, how about we trade notes on the secret sauce to clearing things up? When the thing you’ve blasted your zits in the past with stops working, what do you reach for next? Do you change your routine entirely—do you pare it down? How do you deal with stress pimples? Is the solution in a product or...oh dear...patience?
Photo via ITG.