Q: How is lockdown affecting my skin?

A:

As we’re coming up on a year since the first national lockdown was announced, it’s likely you’ve spent much more time indoors in the past 12 months!  I may not have the answer to some of life’s bigger questions, but I can certainly shed some light on how staying home has been affecting your skin… and how to prevent future damage. Our guide to stay-at-home skincare will help to restore a healthy complexion - even if it’s only yourself and the postman that can appreciate it!

 

Indoor air

Staying inside during wintertime usually means keeping things toasty with indoor heating! No matter how much I try to avoid it by layering up, sometimes a blanket and a hot water bottle just won’t do the trick. Heating is responsible for drying out the atmosphere, and your skin. This can be made worse when you go to cleanse your face at the end of the day if the cleanser you choose is not designed to hydrate as it cleans.

If you’ve been feeling drier, or more sensitive when the heating is on, it’s time to step up your moisturisation game. Making sure you’re avoiding drying ingredients in your cleanser (such as SLS) is a great place to start. All three of our cleansers use natural and gentle cleansing agents, but our Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Cleanser is perfect for skin struggling with central heating! We use two types of Hyaluronic Acid, one that hydrates the surface layer of your skin for immediate relief, and another with draws moisture deep into your skin cells to help replenish lost stocks and defend against essential moisture being sapped away by the dry heated air, to make sure you’re going to feel refreshed and revitalised.

You might also want to switch out your moisturiser for a thicker, more nourishing cream, like our luxurious Collagen Face Cream, applying both morning and night, or opt for something to calm your dry and distressed skin, like our Chamomile Night Cream. Alternatively, a facial oil provides a strong barrier against moisture loss whilst strengthening your natural skin barrier, so pop a layer of Super Food Facial Oil (for the drier skin types) or Squalane Facial Oil (perfect for combination and oily skin types) before you sit down to start the day, or before you go to bed. Opting for a facial oil is a great idea if you want your skin to appear fresh and glowy for that important Zoom call!

If you suffer from extremely dry skin, you could consider investing in a humidifier. It shouldn't replace your skincare routine, but plugging in a humidifier is an easy way to curb some of the dryness and irritation caused by central heating by adding moisture back into the air.  You can even pick up a desktop humidifier that plugs into a USB – perfect if you’re working from home! And of course, if you can switch out the heating for a hot water bottle and an extra cup of tea, your skin will thank you for it.

 

Increased screen time

Whether you’re working or studying from home, using this extra time to binge your favourite tv shows and movies, scrolling endlessly through social media, or living vicariously through your Sims, staring at a screen can affect more than just your eyes. One of our Development Chemists, Faye, has a little extra light to shed on our tech-habits…

“Rubbing your eyes can feel like a quick fix when they are feeling dry, however, this should be avoided at all cost. The skin around your eyes is extremely delicate and prone to inflammation, and excessive eye-rubbing can even break down wrinkle-preventing elastin, leading to sagging skin. If dry eye is a problem for you invest in eye drops that can help reduce the dryness. If you’re noticing your under-eye area has fallen victim to screen-eye, the correct skincare can help. Invest in an under-eye product that contains caffeine, like the Caffeine Eye Serum. Caffeine helps improve circulation, consequently de-puffing the skin which is ideal for those who are eye-rubbers!   

 Frowning and squinting when concentrating on a small screen (particularly your mobile phone) can promote premature ageing and wrinkles. Squinting not only strains the periocular muscles around the eye area but can cause fine lines and even ‘crow’s feet’ – deeper wrinkles etched in the corner of the eye. Holding your phone correctly can help to prevent squinting – the further away you can hold your device from your face, the better with 16 inches being the recommended distance. A simple preventative measure is to turn down your screen brightness when you’re in a dark room and turn it up when the room is bright to reduce squinting. Auto-brightness is your under-eye area’s best friend!”

 

Stress

Unfortunately the turmoil we feel on the inside can start to reflect on our skin, especially if it is affecting your sleeping habits. If you want a full breakdown of how both external and internal stress can affect your skin, pop over to our article on the topic. I will of course give you the summarised version! Ongoing stress can increase your production of the hormone cortisol, which neutralises the positive effects of collagen and elastin in your skin, as well as signalling for increased sebum production.

It would be ridiculous to encourage you to stop being stressed, so let’s consider some helpful tools to help you make it through. Make good use of your one hour outside to exercise, whilst enjoying the fresh air, or there are also plenty of good exercise classes for all skill levels and fitness to be found. I have been picking dance classes from POPSUGAR Fitness on YouTube for something that’s not only a workout, but a mood lifter! Try to get a healthy eight hours of sleep, but if you’re finding that difficult, find ways to be restful off your phone, such as reading, a therapeutic craft like painting, or meditating. And drink lots of water!

 

 

Lack of routine

I’m sure we’ve all had days where getting out of bed in the morning seems a little pointless seeing as you won’t be doing much, or you stay up to all hours because staying at home just doesn’t wear you out enough to go to bed at your normal time. It happens! But if you’re skipping your morning or evening skincare routine, the lack of consistency could be having adverse effects (or rather, not having the desired effect!). If your morning cleanse is the right motivator to get up and start your day, perfect – our Peppermint Daily Cleanser is a wake me up in a tube thanks to its fresh scent! Training your body to see your evening routine as the precursor to sleep, just like you might do with a chamomile tea, can help to prepare you for a good night’s rest too.

 

And when you do venture outside, it may lead to maskne…

For those times that you’re outside, or inside, wearing your mask, the environment created between the fabric of the mask and your skin can lead to increased spots and blemishes. Making sure you wash your reusable mask between wears can make a huge impact, while trying not to leave it sitting in a pocket or at the bottom of your bag. And please, if you’re wearing single-use masks, make sure you dispose of them responsibly! For a little more info on maskne, check out our blog post.

 

Especially at a time like this, when our worries can go hand-in-hand with sadness, being confident in our skin and feeling healthy can help alleviate some of that stress. So, here’s to gorgeous lock down skin!

All the best,

Amy @ Team Q+A

Amy Robson
eCommerce coordinator at Q+A and has developed a lockdown obsession with green tea 🍵

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