Has your skin gone haywire since Covid, lockdowns and mask wearing began? Many of you have been in touch to say that homestay is doing odd things to your skin. My own has literally been all over the place these last few months, so you are not alone!
The combination of a lack of routine, stress, poor diet, less exercise, more alcohol (ahem) have sent my skin to some strange places.
Read on to find out why it is happening and some ways to overcome this and emerge the other side with healthier, happier skin!
Why is your skin acting up?
Firstly, this is a really strange and unsettling time, so try not to be too hard on yourself! Lockdown skin is real, people, and we are all feeling the effects! I am a firm believer that what is happening on the inside comes out in our skin, and some people seem to suffer from this more than others.
The skin is the largest organ of the body and we tend not to be as kind and gentle to it as we are to the rest of our organs. This is especially at the moment due to the strange circumstances we are all in, where it can be forgotten. Add in mask wearing and the irritation that can happen due to this and before we know it, our skin is sore, sensitive, dry, red and spottier.
I have had lots of messages to say this is the situation for many of you. People are finding they are breaking out more, or have dry, sensitive or dull skin.
The good news? Eventually things will even themselves out, even if you don’t do anything actively to change it. BUT, if you are looking to get your skin back on track and feel better, sooner, please read on!
Homestay factors that are affecting our skin
In our normal daily routines, most of us have a fairly good diet, exercise and sleep to keep us on track. Since this all began, though, a lot of people are the same as me-snacking and having that extra glass of wine. That is ok for a short while but there is a problem with this for an extended period. Eating more refined carbohydrates and sugars, snacking and drinking more alcohol than usual could be leading to a whole heap of skin issues.
Many people are working from home at a screen, or are spending more time on electronic devices such as phones and tablets. I bet you didn’t know that there has been a link with increased use of tablets, computers and phone screens creating damaging radiation to reflect back on to our skin? This again can lead to issues for your skin health and radiance.
As well as the things already mentioned above, there is also our old friend stress. Did you know that the added stress we are all in can also negatively impact on our skin health? This is due to raised cortisol levels and subsequent inflammation in the skin, leading to oilier and breakout prone skin. Stress is also thought to be a trigger in skin conditions like rosacea and eczema. So, trying as much as possible to reduce stress will really help if at all possible. There are some great ways to do this such as practicing mindfulness, talking to friends and family, getting enough exercise, eating well and resting. Mask wearing is also doing a total number on skin, causing it to be more sensitive, dry, patchy as well as wreaking havoc on acne.
Top tips for beautiful lockdown skin
To combat this, here are my 5 top tips to help banish lacklustre, dull, lockdown skin and help you get your glow on. Let your skin bloom and kick Coronavirus in the virus backside at the same time!
Get into good habits with daily SPF
For anyone who has followed me for a while, you will know this is always one of my biggest recommendations. We should be using a good quality 100% physical broad spectrum SPF all year-round for beautiful and youthful skin. This is as important for your skincare as brushing your teeth is for your oral care!
Daily exposure to UVA that is present 365 days a year does our skin damage and is the biggest cause of premature ageing. This is a good chance to get into a good habit with your SPF. Even if you are indoors, using SPF in the house is important due to reflected light. If you are at a screen for any length of time, this can also help to protect you from free radical exposure.
Cleanse twice a day!
Use a gentle cleanser that is right for your skin. And yes, you must cleanse your skin twice a day-even if you are not wearing make up very much at the moment!
So many of you tell me you are breaking out, but when we delve into this at consultation, you say you have not been cleansing your skin (and I cry a little on the inside). It is really important to cleanse your skin in the morning to remove products from the night before, to remove sebum and dead skin cells and prepare your skin for your day products. At night, you are not only removing make up, SPF, dirt and pollution, but also preparing your skin for nighttime products.
Cleansing is a really important step in managing and preventing breakouts and stepping towards a clear complexion.
Exfoliate, yes, but use the right products at the right time
I love nothing more than feeling like I have sloughed away dead and flaky skin off my face and body with a good scrub! BUT, this should only be done once a week with a good physical exfoliator to prevent damaging your skin. I often feel people exfoliate too much or too aggressively. Please, no harsh abrasive exfoliators that scratch and damage your lovely skin. Bin that exfoliating apricot kernel scrub, for the love of God!
If you feel the need to uncover more of a radiant glow and beautiful radiant skin, check out my old blog all about choosing an exfoliator which is safe for daily use (and much more effective!).
The other thing you may need to do, is listen closely to your skin. If you are finding your regular exfoliation too much at the moment, pull back and give it a few days rest. On the other hand, if you want to up it, why not add in an at home peel or peel kit-ask me for more details if you’d like to know more!
Keep up the hydration and moisturising
Keep up your hydration levels to keep your body looking and feeling the best. This will help to keep your skin looking beautiful too.
If your skin is dry though-a lot of people are finding this-we can try and figure out if this is because it is lacking oils or hydration and help to fix this with a great home skincare routine for you. Please check out my blog all about how to know whether your skin is dry or dehydrated-there is a difference and there are some fab key ingredients that can help with this.
Remember even an oily or acne skin can need hydration and moisture, but there are some great products out there to do this without making you breakout.
Become a skin whisperer!
You may want to consider changing some of your products for something else to help it repair and restore it’s former glory-remember our skin is constantly in a process of fluctuations due to hormones, stress, the weather, humidity, over exposure to the sun and so on.
You may need to try some gentler products for a while, or even have more than one product on the go at any one time. Try tuning into what your skin is asking for and respond appropriately.
A classic example of this is someone who needs two cleansers-one for a couple weeks before your period when you are producing more oil and more prone to breakouts and another more gentler and hydrating one for the two weeks after. Yes, it does mean having two products to buy, but they last twice as long and if ultimately your skin is happier with this, then surely that is a win?
Introduce the right active ingredients
You may have heard me talk about this many times if you have been following me for a while. Essentially, most over the counter products do not contain active ingredients in the right form, preparation or strength to actually be able to make any real changes on your skin. They may add a small amount so they can claim to be ‘anti-ageing’ for example, but in reality they will not make any difference to your skin.
Active ingredients such as salicylic acid, retinol, Vitamin C etc are all absolutely wonderful products and some of these can take a little adjusting to. My job is to match your skin type, skin concerns and goals up with the right ones for you.
People often tell me they feel overwhelmed by the never ending number of products available in the shops. I try to keep things simple for you and will also guide you with exactly how and when to introduce things to get the best results
Book yourself a review with an expert
Hmm, a consultation would be nice but what about not going out ‘n all, I hear you ask? All this can be done virtually and any products you would like to take on can be sent directly to your home. Perfect! A full consultation takes 45 mins to an hour to complete.
During your consultation, I offer you a full skin assessment (it is not quite the same as in clinic, of course, but it does seem to be working quite well so far!) This includes giving you advice on how to repair any damage or sensitivity that has been caused to your skin. I listen to what is bothering you and what your skin goals are and help to guide you on the right path with understanding what is happening in your skin and why. After taking the time to understand your current routine I can then advise products or treatments that can help to treat these. I work with Alumier MD UK, who are an amazing skincare brand. Read more here if you’d like some background on them.
Sometimes, a new skin care regime can cause a few spots (this is called purging) or take a bit of adjusting to, so this is an IDEAL time to do it and give your skin the chance to adjust so you can emerge the other side with radiant skin.
Granted, we will need to put any professional treatments on hold for a while, but we can get your skin super ready to go when we are able to book you in again.
So, here you go, folks! These are my top skincare tips to help you get through lockdown skin, to banish the most common skin complaints you are experiencing and even to come out with healthier, more beautiful, radiant skin.