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Quick Question: Can Crying A Lot Make My Skin Break Out?

Filed under: Things I desperately need to know the answer to.
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I don't know about you, but I actually *like* crying, especially when I'm stressed. I feel like it's one way to physically release pent-up emotions and frustrations, and I usually end up feeling a lot better after. I did notice, however, that I would get tiny bumps on my cheeks after a good cry sesh. It got me thinking: Can my tears really be one of the causes of my breakouts?

Do tears cause breakouts?

Well, first we have to know what tears are composed of to determine if they can actually cause breakouts. According to Marie Hayag, M.D., "Typically, tears are made from water, toxins, lysozyme, salt, lipids, and more," she said. "Lysozyme, in particular, is an enzyme that helps get rid of bacteria, and, theoretically, it can combat against acne and other bacteria found on the face. Also, the salt content from tears can dry out the skin as well." So while salt and water don't necessarily have pore-congesting effects on the skin, there are other factors to consider as well.

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What actually causes breakouts when you cry?

According to Joshua Zeichner,  the director of cosmetic and clinical research of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, the act of rubbing your eyes and cheeks while crying can cause low-grade inflammation that can lead to breakouts. This is called acne mechanica, which are pimples caused by excessive heat and friction on the skin. He likens this to maskne, which occurs when you wear a face mask for too long.

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Stress can also lead to acne, so if you've been crying because of a particularly hard week, it may be one of the reasons behind your breakouts, too. If you're a big crier like me, you'll be glad to know that there are some things you can do to help prevent pimples from popping up after a good cry sesh:

How to prevent stress-induced pimples

  • Pat—don't rub—the tears away. Rubbing causes friction (not to mention, wrinkles, too) that can lead to breakouts. It's better to pat the tears dry using non-scented tissue.
  • Use a hydrating moisturizer. The salt content in your tears can cause your skin to be dry, so load up on a good moisturizer! We prefer gel formulas that won't feel malagkit in our hot weather.
  • Switch your cleanser. Harsh ingredients in your cleanser, along with the friction from rubbing your eyes, make the perfect recipe for pimples. To avoid this, go for a gentle formula that still gets the job done.
  • Apply a cold compress to your eye area. This will help constrict the blood vessels under your skin and avoid that puffy-eyed look!
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H/t: Allure

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