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Real Talk: Is My Partner Kissing My Meticulous Skin Care Routine Off?

Couple Cuddling In Bed
Image by People Images / iStock
October 17, 2020

After tackling hormonal acne, hyperpigmentation, and post-inflammatory erythema—you can bet your bottom dollar I tend to my skin with painstaking care. The regimen itself isn't too extensive, but I do slather on a serum and moisturizer after cleansing my skin, or I treat myself to the occasional mask in the evening. 

But unless I jump right into bed after the nighttime routine, I'm usually on the couch, snuggled into a blanket (or my S.O.), which has recently sparked a tragic thought: Does kissing my partner rub my meticulous skin care clean off? Considering the skin is more permeable at night1, I want my skin care products to, well, work during those valuable hours. Is my penchant for cuddling on the couch messing with my routine? 

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If this is something that's plagued your thoughts, too, fear not. Here's what to know—and turns out, you're probably in the clear.

Kissing after skin care: Do or don't? 

The thing is, getting comfy with your S.O. likely won't smear your skin care—assuming your products have absorbed and dried down. After patting in a moisturizer, oil, or overnight mask, let the product seep into your skin before opting for a full-blown make-out, lest you transfer the goop. It's actually not quite surprising—most skin care experts will tell you it's always best practice to let your products properly absorb before moving on. For example, same goes for lying down your pillow, pulling a cozy sweater over your head, and the list goes on. Anytime you disturb your product before it's allowed to dry, you run the risk of smearing your skin care and transferring all those actives.

If your partner has a beard, though, you might want to apply your creams post-smooch. The friction can be quite irritating on sensitive skin ("beard burn" is very much a thing), and it can definitely rub away skin care products that haven't had ample time to dry. That post-5-o'clock shadow, too, may play a role here—even if your partner doesn't have full-blown facial hair. Stubble or scruff can be just as irritating as a full beard—the hairs are shorter and more wiry, so they can easily stab into sensitive skin.

It's a similar predicament as wearing a mask: "Any areas that are tight or rubbing can irritate the skin," says board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, M.D., about the bemoaned maskne. If you go for a hot-and-heavy make-out, you might see some redness or irritation from that skin-on-skin friction as well—and much like maskne, sometimes you just have to reapply an ointment to calm skin after the fact. 

The takeaway. 

A smooch or two won't render your skin care useless, but you may want to save your masks or creams for after a make-out (especially if you face any irritation from "beard burn")—or, at the very least, allow your creams to fully dry before snuggling up with your S.O.

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