There is no denying that the current situation has heavily impacted all of us, in many different ways. In such a short span of time our routines have been turned upside down and for months our daily lives have been bustling with uncertainty. For many, this constant bombardment has taken a huge toll on both our mental and physical health. And for some - well, the lockdown was a welcome retreat from all the stress that’s occupied our lives previously.
And while there are definitely more serious events to discuss, let’s take a short break from all the madness and focus on a more lighthearted question – more specifically:
What in the world is the deal with quarantine skin?
We’ve been staying inside, away from pollution and the sun - and some of us haven’t even touched a makeup brush in what seems like ages! But regardless, we’ve experienced flare-ups and break-outs like never before. Though on the other hand some of you may be glowing as if you have just had a full facial and your skin has never looked better.
For those of you who haven’t been so lucky read on…what gives? How can we take good care of our skin today and once the lockdown is completely lifted? Will we need to reintroduce our skin to the outside world? Let’s have a look.
Why did our skin not fare well in quarantine?
Well, the reasons can be quite diverse. The most blaring one of all is stress. And we’ve had a great deal of that this year. It’s no secret that stressing out has an enormous effect on our skin. It can trigger inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, eczema or psoriasis. Practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation can help efficiently manage our stress levels.
The other thing is inconsistent sleep schedule.
This one goes hand in hand with stress. If you don’t get enough sleep or get too much, your body won’t function at its best, your mind will be foggy and you will find yourself more irritable than usual. Another thing to consider is also that our skin – just like our brain - enters its “repair mode” at night. Disrupting that function can lead to many bad skin days. The solution? Aim to get at least 8 hours of shut-eye every night and try to keep your sleeping times consistent.
Two big contributors are also food and lack of exercise.
Admittedly, there’s been few champs out there that found the strength to commit to a good diet and steady workout routine. If you were one of them, I have mad respect for you! We’ve known for a long time that avoiding sugary and fatty foods or drinks can help prevent inflammation in the body and thus, aid in clearing up our skin. Cutting out or reducing our intake of dairy, sugar, sodas and fatty foods is a certain step in the right direction! Besides that, try to commit to some form of exercise at least 2-3 times a week. Exercise has an amazing effect on the entire body – it can help reduce stress, boost brain power and help you get better sleep every night.
How about skin care and protection?
If you haven’t already, now is the time to start seriously looking after your skin. If you’ve a tad overdone it (and possible made some harm in the process), it’s time to hit the brakes. Our skin is pretty smart on its own, but often needs a few gentle nudges in the right direction.
What are the necessary steps to prepare our skin for this brave new world?
No need to go all out with elaborate 10-step routines and expensive products. For starters, a simple 4 step routine is all you need to keep your skin healthy and protected. What are the steps?
Cleansing. Every good routine starts with a gentle cleanser that addresses your specific skincare needs. A cleanser helps break down all the gunk that has accumulated on your skin through the day. If your skin tends to be dry, look for a creamier cleanser – if it’s oily, opt for a foaming cleanser. Acne prone types can try a cleanser with salicylic acid – but watch out, it can be drying! If you’re a regular makeup wearer, don’t forget to double cleanse. First, use a balm or oil based cleanser to gently break down your makeup, then follow up with your usual cleanser.
Treatment. This is the step where you target your skin concerns. It’s the step where all the serums and actives will come into play. Have acne or texture? Exfoliate- it’s the secret to smooth skin, free of bumps, blackheads and pimples. Many experts in the field swear on exfoliating acids, such as glycolic, lactic or salicylic. Just remember to always follow instructions, wear SPF during the day and pay attention to your skin. For that extra antioxidant protection and pigmentation clearing effect, a vitamin C serum is a must during daytime. Start with a low concentration and keep the serum away from direct sunlight, as it can destabilize the product. Oxidation causes vitamin C to go bad so keep that lid tightly closed. Store it in fridge for that nice, cooling effect – perfect for summer!
Moisturizing. Creams and lotions play an important role in keeping skin plump and youthful. They function in four ways: repairing the skin barrier, increasing water content in skin, reducing water loss through skin and restoring the skin barriers’ ability to attract, hold and redistribute water. They can contain skin barrier supporting ingredients, such as ceramides, antioxidants like green tea, or even niacinamide – an excellent ingredient for fading dark spots and controlling oiliness and break-outs.
Sun protection. Many professionals agree that SPF is the no.1 anti-aging product in the world. And with a good reason. As much as we all love us some sunshine, it’s actually really damaging for our skin. The sun emits UVA and UVB rays. The UVB rays cause sun spots, sun burns and in extreme cases even cancer. The UVA rays, on the other hand, can penetrate the skin much deeper and activate the enzymes that break down collagen, leading to what we know as photoaging. It is worth it to invest in a good high protection SPF cream and the generally minimum is SPF 30.
These few steps will help absolutely anyone who’s struggling with their skin in the time of lockdown. As you can see, taking care of your skin does not need to break the bank and it does not need to be stressful. Though the most important thing of all is to listen to yourself - your body, skin and mind - and be gentle with yourself.
Products we are loving at the moment (this is not an advert):
The Ordinary - Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane.
Almost melts into your skin like butter - a gorgeous anti agin remedy.
Described on their site as a water-free solution containing a 2% concentration of an advanced retinoid active complex called Granactive Retinoid that has been shown to offer better results against multiple signs of aging than retinol without any of the irritation and drawbacks common with retinol. Granactive Retinoid, an active technology from Grant Industries, is a solubilized system of Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, a highly-advanced form of retinoid which is, in fact, a non-prescription ester of all-trans direct retinoic acid that offers a multi-fold better effect against signs of aging than retinol, retinyl palmitate and nearly all other forms of non-prescription retinoid.
READ MORE AND BUY IT HERE
The Ordinary - AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
Not to be taken lightly as this is only suitable for experienced users of acid exfoliation.
Described on their site as - Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) exfoliate the skin's topmost surface for a brighter and more even appearance. Beta hydroxy acids (BHA) also exfoliate the skin with an extended function to help clear pore congestion. This combined 32% AHA/BHA solution offers deeper exfoliation to help fight visible blemishes and for improved skin radiance. The formula also improves the appearance of skin texture and reduces the look of fine lines with continued use.
The Ordinary - Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
Great for hydrating your skin without excessive oil production.
Described on their site as - Hyaluronic Acid (HA) can attract up to 1,000 times its weight in water. The molecular size of HA determines its depth of delivery in the skin. This formulation combines low-, medium- and high-molecular weight HA, as well as a next-generation HA crosspolymer at a combined concentration of 2% for multi-depth hydration. This system is supported with the addition of Vitamin B5 which also enhances surface hydration. A more advanced HA formulation with 15 forms of HA, including precursors of HA, is offered by our brand NIOD in Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex.
This comes in a self preserving and non self preserving version and is a great face scrub and mask.
Described on their site as - A mint chocolate treat for your face, pick up this hydrating face and body mask with a mixture of gentle yet effective ingredients to help fight breakouts. This marvellous mixture keeps itself fresh without the help of synthetic preservatives. That’s because the hydrating antibacterial honey, which has been used for hundreds of years to preserve food, does the same to the formula and prevents it from growing microorganisms. Clever!
A refreshing spray filled with natural ingredients that cleanse away the day.
An absolute pleasure to use. Light, airy and oil free. This Light Moisturiser is addictive.