Hey there happy people! I hope you’re all doing ok and still staying safe in these strange, strange times. This week I wanted to share with you my recent experience and findings on lockdown skincare.
I’ve only recently gotten into the whole skincare thing – learning some important tips, tricks and science for achieving that healthy glow. My aim is to give my no make-up days a serious glow up! I’ll say it now, I’m no expert but I am learning, so I thought it would be a nice idea to let you guys learn with me.
During my most recent FaceTime’s to friends, I have been complaining A LOT about experiencing breakouts and days of overall terrible-looking skin, throughout lockdown. I really couldn’t understand why, in my opinion not wearing make up every day and getting into the ritual of a solid skincare routine would result in better skin, no?
I even questioned if maybe it was because I was treating my skin so differently to what it was used to, that it was deciding to rebel and misbehave in this way. Having clearly heard my pleas for help, my trusty mobile brought up an article from Elle that explained to me absolutely EVERYTHING. It was simple; my face had forgotten the outside world!
During quarantine, surprise spots, unexpected redness and patchy dryness have replaced the smooth, clear, plushness of many a face, so much so that Elle has given it a name – ‘indoor face’. Although I have been making the most of my once-daily excursion, emerging from the depths of my duvet/ makeshift home office to walk my pooch, the effects of being stuck indoors can really be felt (and seen) on my face. Fingers crossed that now we are allowed to venture out as many times as we like, my skin will definitely be on the up.
But the lack of sunlight may not be the only contributing factor. My change of routine, increased levels of stress and not to be discussed snack additions could all have led to my skin’s erratic behaviour.
The Elle article featured advice from two pro dermatologists who diagnosed exactly what is going on with everybody’s ‘indoor skin’, and the perfect treatment to get it gone ASAP! Here is what I learnt:
Lockdown Skin Factor No. 1: Lack of Sunlight
As we all stay indoors more than ever before (and rightly so), our exposure to sunlight, and in turn, Vitamin D has been hugely reduced, even by British weather standards. Vitamin D production requires a daily 15-minute exposure of sun ideally between 10am and 12pm to be produced. Healthy levels of Vitamin D are important to boost the immune system and help prevent infections, including Covid-19, as well as prevent skin ageing, promote healthy bone growth, reduce a risk of certain cancers and improve your mood. Low levels of Vitamin D are associated with a risk of psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.
Treat it with:
As easy as it is to say, go outside and sit in the sun, not only do a lot of people not have this access right now but if you’re anything like me, pale and petrified of sunlight, you’ll be happy to know that it is recommended that we shouldn’t be relying on UV exposure for Vitamin D.
It is too important a nutrient, and in winter when there are no UVB rays here in the UK, we should turn to supplements for our daily requirement. The Elle article suggests we use supplements all year round, as we know UVB rays aren’t too good for the skin and can contribute to skin cancers.
Wearing daily sunscreen in lockdown is also a skincare essential. My mum has bugged me about this for years and only recently, at the ripe old age of 26, did I realise how important this skincare step truly is. UVA rays are present all year round and are responsible for premature ageing – it can even penetrate through glass, so no you are not safe inside your car or sat by your window!
Lockdown Skin Factor No. 2: Stress
During a global pandemic it’s inevitable that our stress levels are going to increase, and we could be seeing the consequences on our face.
(Here’s where we get even more sciencey!)
When we are stressed our body reacts by producing cortisol, a hormone that prepares us to “fight”. It increases our metabolism, blood pressure and heart rate (giving us more energy and a better ability to cope during the so called “fight”). This may sound good but unfortunately it also increases the production of sebum, this is what makes our skin more prone to a breakout.
Treat it with:
This is all about establishing a solid skincare routine. Use a gentle, non-foaming cleanser and a barrier-repairing moisturiser regularly and look into products with retinol and alpha hydroxyl acids in particular. These barrier-supporting non-comedogenic (formulated to avoid causing clogged pores) ‘basics’ are vital in any and all instances.
Anxiety and stress are potent triggers for many people when it comes to inflammatory skin disorders like rosacea. The raised levels of cortisol make our skin barrier less robust, and more sensitive too. If you are prone to redness, look into using an azelaic acid-based product.
Pore size will also be affected by the increase in sebum. Again, this can be improved by using an exfoliating cleanser and products formulated with retinol and alpha hydroxyl acids.
Lockdown Skin Factor No. 3: Using Anti-Bacterial Gel
Throughout COVID-19, hand sanitiser has become an essential anti-bacterial product, it’s like gold dust on our supermarket shelves – a hot commodity indeed! However, its high alcohol content on our hands (and inevitable transfer to our faces) isn’t ideal for our skin.
First off, the good bacteria that already exist on the skin can be altered negatively by antibacterial gel; secondly, antibacterial gel severely dries the skin.
Treat it with:
Our hands are in desperate need of love right now. The repeated washing and use of hand sanitiser is incredibly drying. Given that maintaining a healthy barrier is vital, especially now, there are a few things recommended to do to keep your hands from being completely ruined.
- Use tepid water to rinse – do not underestimate the drying effect of hot water alone.
- Rub your hands – don’t scrub – when it comes to drying them.
- Replace moisture by applying a barrier repair cream immediately afterwards. This in no way hinders the effect of your hand washing efforts!
This is also a wonderful time to embrace your facemask obsession! Nourishing and comforting your complexion with a hydrating mask is a great self-care step. Using a rich moisturiser containing hyaluronic acid will combat any dryness you experience when it comes to your face.
Lockdown Skin Factor No. 4 – Snacking
Don’t worry, I’m not here to snack-shame you, if anything I’m snacking along with the best of you! It’s hard not to when you’re constantly at home. I thoroughly know and understand the importance of an entire bar of Cadburys and several G&T’s at the end of yet another blurry weekday. The only downside? While we might enjoy the sugar, our skin really does not.
Food and drink with a high glycaemic index can be pro-inflammatory. We often see skin flare-ups after Christmas and Easter holidays, times when we tend to over indulge. Lockdown seems to be a similar, extended version.
Treat it with:
Unfortunately, in this case it’s simply a matter of swapping the crisps and home baking for good ol’ fruit and veg… Sorry, I wanted a better outcome for this one too.
Anyway, there you have it! Some of the most common skin issues we’re all experiencing right now, and some ways to get it back to feeling pre-lockdown lush.
I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did writing it and let me know in the comments below if you have any other tips and tricks on improving your skincare. I am so eager to learn more!
Until next time, peace and love.