If you're someone who regularly wears makeup, the idea of skipping out on it for a few days — or under current circumstances, a few weeks — can be a very freeing thing. It saves you time, both in application and removing it at the end of the day, which is arguably the worst part, and it makes your skin feel oh so clean. Without the heaviness of foundation or concealer on your skin, you feel like your pores are clear and your complexion is getting a much-needed break.
It makes you wonder if we should all be taking a regular break from our makeup products to allow our skin to "breathe" more often — as in not just during a mandatory work-from-home scenario. To find out if your skin really benefits from the time off, we tapped two industry experts. Keep reading to find out if you should be taking a weekly hiatus from your cosmetics.
Can the Skin Really "Breathe"?
The answer to this question is complex — no, your skin doesn't breathe in the sense that it needs to be sans products to allow oxygen in, but the skin, and more specifically your pores, benefits from being given a break for other reasons.
"Skin gets its oxygen and nutrients by way of the blood that nourishes the inner or 'live' layers of your skin, so no, it doesn't breathe," said Shea Amiruddin, director of skin-care education at Heyday. "When we say 'let your skin breathe,' we are typically speaking of allowing your skin to do what it does best: absorb nutrients and water, excrete or perspire, and secrete oil and lipids without hindrance." When one of these functions is blocked, it can result in your skin being thrown off balance and create various issues like dry patches or acne.
The Benefit of Taking a Break From Makeup
Skipping out on makeup regularly can help your skin function properly because it eliminates the amount of pore-clogging ingredients you're putting on your face. "Makeup can clog pores and make the skin look dull, so taking a break can brighten the skin and allow for better penetration of serums or creams," said board-certified dermatologist Marnie Nussbaum, M.D., FAAD. When you do your full skin-care routine followed by your makeup routine, you're layering a lot of products on your face at once. "Makeup can be comedogenic and is often applied in layers," Amiruddin added. "First moisturizer, then SPF, then primer, followed by foundation, concealer, setting powder, and so on. That's a lot!"
That's why, when you're not taking a break from your makeup routine, both skin experts recommend doing a double cleanse. "Unless you're doing a double cleanse every night — oil cleanser followed by regular cleanser — you're not removing all of the dirt, oil, and debris that has built up on your skin during the day," Amiruddin said. "This gets trapped in your pores and can create breakouts and blackheads and cause inflammation." Try Naturopathica Manuka Honey Cleansing Balm ($23) with the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Facial Cleanser ($15).
Something you don't need to take a break from: your skin-care routine. "Skin care should happen every day," Amiruddin said. "Skipping out on your routine can do more harm than good. If you want to keep it to basics, always be sure to cleanse, tone, and moisturize two times a day." And most importantly, you should always wear sunscreen. "I recommend using sunscreen even indoors as UVA rays go through windows," Dr. Nussbaum said.