August 23 2014

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new york city: bad for your skin?


Pat Wexler/ New York skincare

This column features weekly tips and advice from a revolving cast of industry leaders on-hand to discuss your beauty dilemmas, from blemishes to Botox. The following query was culled from a private stock but we’ll be accepting readers’ questions soon.

Q: My skin was perfect until I moved to New York in 2001 but I now suffer from a kind of cystic acne around my mouth and chin. There are bumps which cannot be popped and never seem to go away and I feel like at 28-years old, this is an awkward problem to have. I clean my face twice a day, and use a gentle cleanser as well as a glycolic cleanser a couple days a week. Is it possible that New York is making me break out?

A: Perioral Dermatitis is most common in women and is characterized by chronic acne around the mouth. It typically occurs in people who use the phone constantly and whose hands touch their face frequently, who could be involved in an intimate relationship with someone with a beard, or who’s stress level may be increasing their intrinsic level of cortisol, which causes more acne. So while New York, per se, is probably not making you break out, the stress of New York, or your job in New York might be.

An expert in dermatology and dermatologic surgery, Dr. Pat Wexler brings over 22 years of skincare experience to the Counter this week. A board-certified dermatologist with a successful private practice, Dr. Wexler is based in Manhattan and also serves as Associate Clinical Professor for the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Photo: Alan Schein Photography / Corbis



  1. jksavvis2 says:

    when I left the city my complexion cleared right up

  2. miserynotes says:

    Every time I visit the city, I leave with a thin layer of gray colored sweat covering my body. Yes, I break out in the city. Yes, it clears up when you leave.

    But honestly see a dermatologist because rosacea (common in people with fair skin) tends to occur later in life (after the age of 25) and typical acne medications will only make the symptoms worse.

  3. sonyafby says:

    i used to have the chin acne problem. generous application of plain old 2.5% benoxyl peroxide every night sorted it all out. i can’t believe how clear my skin is now and i especially can’t believe that it took me til my early thirties to find out that something so simple and cheap works so well!

  4. kjig667 says:

    Yes I’ve been living in nyc for 8 years and everytime I leave the city my skin clears up. The stress and bad air in nyc makes you break out.

The Doctor Is In