You would think that staying at home 24/7, probably wearing less make-up than normal and having endless celebrities at your fingertips telling you what to put on your face, many of us would have the flawless complexion we normally could only dream about? Wrong….the reality of being stuck indoors has caused an increase in all kinds of skin conditions for a lot of us. The big question is why is this happening and what can we do about it?
There are a number of reasons why our skin is causing us more trouble than before the lockdown;
- Stress is a well-known trigger for certain skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and acne, so due to this uncertain and pretty stressful time, this is probably the biggest factor responsible for a lot of the breakouts people are suffering from at the moment;
- Bad sleeping behaviour/patterns, most probably linked to the above point, will also not help the condition of our skin;
- Another reason could be the increase in alcohol consumption and ‘sweet treats’ we are indulging in to help combat the boredom of not being able to do many of the activities we enjoyed pre-lockdown.
As well as ensuring you drink plenty of water each day, eat a healthy diet and get plenty of sleep, you can use this lockdown as an opportunity to start doing some at-home facials that will give your complexion a boost. Use this time to start a five-minute nightly facial massage with your favourite oil or even a mask.
If you’re thinking ‘Where do I start?’ ‘What mask should I be putting on my face?’ ‘How can I even get these products during the lockdown?’ – fear not, self-care facials needn’t be complicated. Take a look inside your own fridge and store cupboards for natural ingredients, here are some that can be found right now:
- Avocados – are often used for smoothing the overall texture of the skin due to the high fatty acids and vitamin contents. It also makes a great base before adding other ingredients to your face masks.
- Honey – soften the skin by adding honey to your face mask. It may be thick, but it can work wonders for your skin! Honey is a sweet, natural skin softener and moisturiser that additionally helps to unclog pores. It is the ultimate deep cleaning ingredient for face and hair masks alike.
- Turmeric – easily find this golden-yellow spice in the spice aisle in the supermarket or hiding at the back of your cupboard! Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory ingredient that helps calm acne and reduces scarring. Mix it with oats and coconut milk for a great soothing mask.
- Lemon – is a natural skin brightener and has anti-bacterial properties, so if you have any blackheads rearing this is a great ingredient to add to your face masks. Due to the citric acid and richness in vitamin C, it can even help get rid of dark spots for a more clear complexion.
- Coconut milk – is great if you have oily skin, massage a tablespoon or two into the skin to help unclog pores of dirt and oil while still moisturising the skin.
- Plain yoghurt – get rid of bacteria and germs by adding plain yogurt to your face masks, it is also another great DIY face mask base. Simply start with a small cup of yogurt and add other ingredients that meet your skin concerns. Yogurt is also excellent for those interested in anti-ageing as its lactic acid content helps to tighten pores and the overall skin texture.
- Coffee grounds – serve as fabulous exfoliators to remove dirt from pores and dead skin. If you have puffy eyes from sleeping or allergies, coffee grounds can reduce the swelling resulting in a less tired appearance.
- Oats – are great for those with sensitive skin who are looking for a gentle exfoliator. Blending oats onto your face mask can lead to fresh, healthy-looking skin. It can also help calm chronic skin problems or irritations in a similar way to oat baths.
- Berries – Raspberries and blueberries are superfoods and very high in antioxidants which are beneficial for skin from the inside out. Crush up a handful of berries to add to your face mask to help repair skin cells and promote anti-aging which includes firming the skin and reducing signs of wrinkles.
Adding an exfoliating treatment to your regime can help remove the build-up of dry skin likely to be caused by moisture-sucking central-heating and lack of exposure to the elements. Use a scrub or cleansing device once a week in the shower. Using a chemical exfoliation like oil-control pads with active AHA/BHA concentration every other night after cleansing will help with skin cellular turnover.
While there are some positives of being indoors, such as avoiding skin-damaging pollutants and UV exposure, the skin can begin to look sullen due to lack of vitamin D. However, this can easily be overcome with vitamin D supplements (ask a pharmacist if you are unsure of which ones to get). Often called the ‘sunshine vitamin’, vitamin D plays an integral role in skin protection and rejuvenation. It is activated in the skin by UVB light and, in its activated form as calcitriol; vitamin D is involved with skin cell growth, repair and metabolism. It also enhances the skin’s immune system and helps to destroy the free radicals that can lead to premature ageing.
On the subject of premature skin ageing, it is important to continue to use a sunscreen or ensure that your daily moisturiser contains a SPF. You may wonder why this is needed if you are spending most of your time indoors but UVA rays are present all year round and they can penetrate glass. Whilst you may not burn sitting next to a window, the UV exposure can cause premature ageing. You will also need it when you are going outdoors once a day to exercise. When applying sunscreen, add a pea sized amount to your daily moisturiser, it will soon become a part of your daily routine. Using sunscreen daily will also help with the increased exposure to blue light – a high energy visible (HEV) light from our phones and laptops, as many of us are working from home and have probably increased our phone usage. This blue light can lead to elastin and collagen damage, pigment changes and ultimately, photo ageing. Not staring at our phones late at night or working too late is recommended for your skin health as well as overall health.
It is still important to keep up with your regular cleansing routine, even if it you are not wearing make-up during the day. The skin should be cleaned twice a day; in the morning to remove night time skincare products, especially if you are using retinol, which can make your skin more sensitive to UV light and at night to remove sweat, sebum production or toxins that could have built up during the day. Even if you are going make-up-free most days, changes in your diet can contribute towards skin breakouts. Use a lightweight cleanser like a foam or lotion in the morning and if your pocket can stretch to it, a thicker, oilier cleanser for the evening.
Let’s just touch on collagen and retinol;
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. It has many important functions, one being to strengthen the skin, aiding with elasticity and hydration. As we age, our bodies produce less, leading to dry skin and wrinkles. Taking a collagen supplement has become more popular over the last few years, as several studies have shown that these supplements may help slow the ageing of your skin. There are a few ways to take collagen, the most popular being in powder form. The powder can be added to smoothies, drinks or food. You can also take it in capsule or liquid form. If you are interested in taking a collagen supplement, it is advised to do some research first.
Retinol is a term used for products containing a vitamin A derivative. They work by increasing collagen production as well as increasing the rate of skin cell turnover. They are ideal for improving your skin’s overall texture, minimalizing fine lines and wrinkles. There are a few different types of retinols that come in face creams or serums; they also come in different strengths. There are also a few side effects to using these products, so again, it is important you do your research and if possible speak to an expert. A lot of non-surgical cosmetic practitioners sell retinol products and collagen supplements so it is well worth reaching out, they would be very pleased to advise you, either over the phone or, if they are offering it, a FaceTime consultation, and maybe gain a sale in these difficult times when all clinics are closed. Please look at our website www.thebeautyreview.co.uk to find a clinic near you.
Lastly, but by no means any less important, we must all try and ensure we get a good night’s sleep. Getting enough sleep is essential for helping a person maintain optimal health and well-being. When it comes to health, sleep is as vital as regular exercise and eating a balanced diet. Sleep helps the body repair, regenerate and recover. As well as helping to keep your skin break out free, it may also help prevent excess weight gain and heart disease and also shorten illness duration.