Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

NEW YORK — Nearly half of Americans feel nervous to go out in the real world without masks or the face-softening filters made popular on social media and video conferencing platforms.

A survey asked 2,000 U.S. respondents — including 1,000 between the ages of 18 and 55, and 1,000 mothers of teenagers — about how their confidence level has been affected by the pandemic.

Forty-eight percent of respondents have taken steps to “rethink” how they look in virtual meetings, including washing their face more frequently (46%) and wearing heavier makeup than usual (45%). Fueled by insecurities about their appearance, another 48 percent have turned off their camera during a video call.

Something literally came up…

MaskneIf you’ve canceled a date because of a breakout or blemish, you’re not alone. More than a quarter of Americans have done the same. Almost a quarter of respondents (24%) have also missed a party, while others have missed school (21%), or a day out with friends (20%) because of a breakout or blemishes.

Conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Acne Wipeout, the survey suggests that adults aren’t the only ones struggling with confidence as they “return to normal.”

According to three in five moms, social media has influenced how teens perceive themselves; moms also believe that peer pressure on social media (42%), influencers/vloggers (39%), and Photoshopped pictures (37%) have made their own teenage child more insecure.

Helpless during ‘the talk’

More than half of moms “sometimes feel helpless” when they try to talk to their teens about difficult topics. These parents say it’s much more challenging to discuss puberty and bodily changes (31%) than death (25%) and even alcohol or drugs (19%).

Two in five moms also noticed a negative change in their teen’s skin during the pandemic and think puberty (21%), wearing a mask (20%), and stress (20%) are all contributing to the change. However, more than one in three are hesitant to encourage their child to take better care of their skin and more than one in five worry it’s not their place to do so.

Maskne“Our study showed that some insecurities are ageless, as weight and acne are among the top concerns for all respondents,” says Matt Stevens, Vice President of University Medical and one of the creators of Acne Wipeout, in a statement. “The pandemic has taken a toll on our already-existing insecurities and given us an even greater incentive to take better care of ourselves and our loved ones.”

For moms, that means helping their teen overcome their insecurities by sharing their own similar experiences (56%), encouraging open dialogue (55%), and admitting when they don’t know something (45%).

The post-pandemic skin care revolution

Because of the pandemic, 63 percent of the poll say they’re more determined than ever to take better care of their skin. On first impression, respondents are most likely to associate clear skin with confidence (33%) and acne-prone skin with stress (19%).

“Our study also revealed that people have been missing out on life simply because of blemishes on their skin and as we get back to school, work and real-life post-pandemic, we don’t want to miss out on life any longer,” Stevens adds. “As we begin picking up our pre-pandemic routines again, making positive adjustments to our daily health and skincare routines can help recalibrate the most visible part of ourselves and boost our overall confidence.”

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About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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