We’ve given our skin a break from pollution, public transport and, in many cases, make-up. We’ve even added face masks to our weekly shop to create our own home spa… so why is our skin looking so bad?
In a word – lockdown. We are eating too much junk, spending too much time indoors staring at screens, or going mad when the sun comes out.
Where skincare regimes usually revolve around make-up, both have been ditched together – or we’re slapping on face masks so often our poor faces don’t know what’s going on. So which type of lockdown skin do you have? And how can you fix it?
Indoor face: Since lockdown, we’ve spent much more time indoors. Whether you’re working from home or have been fired, chances are you’re not getting outside as much as before.
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Patchy dryness, surprise spots, unexpected redness and a rather drawn pallor are all signs. Our exposure to sunlight and, in turn, our production of Vitamin D has been hugely reduced.
Vitamin D production requires a daily 15-minute exposure of sun, ideally between 10am and midday. Vitamin D can prevent skin ageing, promote healthy bone growth, reduce the risk of certain cancers and improve your mood. A low level of vitamin D is associated with risk of psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.
SKIN FIX: Getting outside more will not only reduce stress, but do your skin a huge favour.
Stress and anxiety can have negative effects on skin by causing hormonal changes in your body. Go outside at least once every day for 30 minutes – but ideally more often, and for longer.
Wear sunscreen too, as UVA rays are responsible for premature ageing and will get to you through glass, too.
Also take a Vitamin D supplement and get some exercise.
Kitchen face: This one’s down to over-indulging in alcohol and salty and sugary snacks, usually out of boredom during lockdown.
Eating and drinking substances with a high glycaemic index can lead to inflammation in the body. That in turn affects your skin. Excess sugar can aggravate skin conditions such as rosacea, acne and eczema, and cause dilation of blood vessels on the mid-face and nose – giving sufferers a ruddy and puffy look.
SKIN FIX: Use a jade roller to massage and promote lymphatic drainage, which should help to detoxify the skin. Drink plenty of water to flush the sugar from your body and limit the number of snacks and sweets you eat.
If you’re prone to inflammation, it’s best to avoid the more sugary alcoholic drinks such as wine and Prosecco. Opt instead for low-sugar, clear spirits – gin or vodka, for example.
Apply a Vitamin C serum daily to nourish and protect the face.
Sleepy face: With all the fallout from lockdown, anxiety and a disrupted routine are causing many people to sleep less well than normal – leaving them looking tired and feeling sluggish.
If we are sleep-deprived, the skin can start to appear dull, almost grey, and the skin around the eyes is likely to become very inflamed and red. This is because our skin’s immune system may be weakened by poor sleep patterns, so we’re less able to fight off free radical damage.
Unrested skin is prone to dehydration and formation of lines and creases as it struggles to create new collagen. Those with poor sleep can fall into a cycle of stress/sleeplessness/anxiety.
SKIN FIX: Prioritise sleep. Try using lavender pillow sprays, sleeping tablets or get an earlier night to try and help you sleep better, as this is the only way your skin will properly benefit.
Nap in the day if you have to, then gradually build the sleeping routine back that suits your work or lifestyle. Keep at it, too, as sleep is so important for the body to function properly.
Screen face: Between work and the lack of face-to-face contact with friends and family, we’re spending more time than ever in front of a screen on video calls.
Blue light from screens can have a detrimental effect, promoting premature ageing, skin damage, inflammation and photo-ageing. There is also a higher risk of pigmentation, dry, rough skin and possibly eczema and psoriasis flare-ups.
This is partly due to blue light exposure, but actually video calls can also be intense and stressful for many. Staring at the screen for too long creates tension in the eyes, which can increase dark circles and bags.
SKIN FIX: Limit video meetings and catch-ups where possible, and take regular screen breaks.
Short, frequent breaks are better than less frequent longer ones. So a 5-10 minute break every hour is better than a single 20-minute break every three hours.
Try using an antioxidant cream or serum, and wear a good moisturiser while you are on calls.
Using a face massage tool after each call will also help you to relax your facial muscles.
Photo Credit: Getty