The recent COVID-19 Circuit Breaker means that a lot of us have now either brought our work home, or are on a period of extended leave. It also means that we are now not able to go for our routine facials and skin treatments.
How can we keep our skins looking healthy and not look like we aged a decade when we complete this month-long social segregation?
Below we share five things we can do to keep our skins supple and healthy in this period.
Now that we are stuck at home, whether working or not, “having no time” is no longer an excuse for skipping or forgetting that all important H2O that we too often have no time for. Water is one of the most important liquid to drink as it acts as a transporter and is also an important substrate in many of our body processes.
For our skin, water keeps it hydrated and youthful looking by filling and plumping up the hyaluronic acid molecules bounded within the collagen fibres in our skin. It can also improve complexion and early fine line and dull skin.
It can also help weight loss by replacing our modern day calorific rich drinks such as sodas, sweetened coffees etc.
2. Balanced Diets
Being asked to stay at home does not mean we can relax on our diets. In fact, it may be a good time to assess our diets and ask ourselves if we are eating as healthy as we ought to be. With the decreased energy expenditure now that we are not commuting daily to work, or for those of us who have a job scope that is more physically active, now that our days are more sedentary, it is important that we try to cut out as much as possible refined and processed foods.
Swap a meal for a healthy salad, or do that home cookout instead of reaching over to your phone for the next takeout meal. These will allow us to incorporate into our diets more antioxidant-rich foods that have been proven to push back ageing while removing the refined, processed and sugary ones that are now known to add years onto our skin and health.
Now that we have time to plan our day out, including an exercise session at least 3 times a week can help not just our health, but also our skin. Exercise is great for the body and mind, and can also do wonders for our complexion.
Sweating can help flush out toxins from our pores. Do be aware to wash after a session, as leaving sweat, dirt and sebum on your skin can cause breakouts and sensitivity. By working out, we can also maintain healthy levels of the stress hormone cortisol and help stimulate collagen production to keep our skin firm and supple.
Improving muscle tone can also make our skin look firmer and reduce the appearance of cellulite. There is also the post-workout glow which happens when our skin receives a good dose of oxygenated blood and our skin starts producing its natural oils.
4. Get Sufficient Rest and Sleep
One of the things most of us loathe on a workday is needing to sleep late and wake up early. There is now little excuse to deprive our bodies of its much-needed sleep. Benefits of sleep for skin include fewer wrinkles, less sagging, rejuvenated colour, fewer acne blemishes and less inflammation. The reasons for these are many, but some of them are because the skin repairs itself at night.
During this overnight process, our skin builds collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, all of it responsible for our skin’s plumpness, translucency and elasticity. Getting sufficient sleep also boosts our immune system and reduces the stress hormone cortisol which then reduces our propensity to developing acne and inflammation.
Increased blood flow during sleep into our facial area also helps remove free radicals and pollutants accumulated throughout the day and helps repair any damage incurred and restore our complexions to a radiant colourful glow.
5. Overhauling Our Skincare Regimen
Now that we are deprived of our weekly/fortnightly facials, we need a skincare regimen that can continue to target our active skin issues whilst protecting us against oxidative stressors and ageing. How do we go about this?
a) Select your skincare products based on your skin type and lifestyle, e.g. cleansers should not only suit your skin type, but also be sufficient in removing the type and amount of makeup that you use, or in removing any type of occupational exposures. Foaming liquids are generally suitable for people with oily or acne-prone skin, whilst micellar water are more suitable for individuals with normal skin. Mature skin may require cleansers that are more moisturizing such as a melting balm or cream-based cleanser.
b) Gone are the days of toners being an alcohol-based product used for drying up oily skin and removing any leftover dirt after cleansing. In the modern day regimen, toners are a good way to add in specific ingredients that you may not have in your other products. These can be alpha and beta hydroxy acids, hyaluronic acids, vitamins or even simple things such as rose water. They should be done after cleansing, before putting on anything else.
c. Serums are powerful skin allies which we can use to address specific issues, such as pigmentation, dark spots or wrinkles. These are usually applied after your toners but before moisturizers. Some ingredients to look out for are hyaluronic acid to seal in moisture, vitamin C to brighten dull skin and decrease dark spots, retinol, vitamin B3 and peptides for anti-ageing.
d. Moisturizers should like cleansers, be selected based on your skin type and lifestyle. Everyone needs moisture but the texture of your moisturizer will differ based on your skin type. What a moisturizer should provide however is to protect your skin from environmental aggressors and replenish moisture levels.
e. Protecting your skin with a sunscreen. It goes without saying that sunscreen is hands down the most crucial skincare product. Daily and consistent use of sunscreen helps to prevent the development of fine lines and wrinkles, textural imperfections and changes in the appearance of pores over time.
With these, we hope that you are now better equipped to deal with the different set of challenges that the COVID-19 Circuit Breaker throws our skin. Let us all be consistent, and take good care of our health, well-being and skin during this difficult period.