Why This Is The Worst Possible Time To Socially Distance From Your Skincare Regime
Never mind the fact that I'm getting an extra two hours' sleep each night and no longer have the pollution from my busy London commute to contend with.
So as I slather on a full face of Sudocrem yet again (I mustn't forget to take it off for the morning Zoom meeting this time) I wonder - what on earth does my skin want from me?
Then I realise - it *could* be the eight chocolate digestives I munched last night. And most nights, actually. Or the 250ml of water compared to the 3L I was in the habit of drinking before lockdown.
Or, the fact I haven't exfoliated for four evenings. In fact, I seem to have neglected everything apart from a cleanser. Oh, and I have't touched my Epiduo (a prescribed topical acne treatment) since this whole thing began. In fact, it's been so long, I actually had to go to the bathroom while writing this because I just couldn't remember what the stuff was called.
Then there's the fact I'm glued to my phone. If my screen report is anything to go by, that's a lot of blue light. And vitamin D? I'm not sure my body even knows what that is anymore.
Personally, I've always had problematic hormonal acne, which crops up on my chin once or twice a month. But during lockdown? It's spread to my forehead and my cheeks. Even the ones that aren't yet to 'break out' are bubbling under the surface. I see you.
It seems lockdown has been making me lazy - and it sort of makes sense. Cleaning, exfoliating and toning felt way more necessary before COVID-19. Getting home and taking everything off was part of my daily routine - and, as we all know, routine seems to have gone a little AWOL for now.
So I decided to enlist the skincare experts, to find out what the hell was going on and how to turn this ship around before we have to step out in public again. Here's what I learned.
1) Don't ditch the routine
Just because we're going low maintenance, doesn't mean we should be ditching our regimes altogether. In fact, consultant dermatologist and founder of Altruist sunscreen, Dr Andrew Birnie explains that this sudden shift in routine in general is likely to be the reason why we've seen a change.
"Certainly stress can exacerbate certain skin conditions. For some people who have acne, stress can often make it worse," Dr Birnie explained.
"Added to that, poor diet is going to contribute to general feeling rubbish and the skin often reflects how you're feeling inside.
"But, if your skin is used to a certain regime and then you stop it or neglect it, I would suspect it would try and compensate for what you were doing previously. For example, cleansing and toning will take the natural oils off the skin and if your skin is used to you doing that and then you stop suddenly, it will essentially produce more oils to replace them."
2) Double down on your skincare
Meanwhile skin expert and beautician Claire Jeffrey explained that, with this in mind, now was is time more than ever to be extra vigilant.
"You may think during this time that skincare is not important but it's more important than ever to get into a good skin routine," Claire said.
"Your skin is the largest organ on your body and it works hard everyday to protect your body against harmful elements even when we are indoors chilling. Taking care of your skin will help it do its job better and for longer."
3) Get that vitamin D
Claire explains there are a number of small changes you can make to your 'lockdown routine' and urges us to make sure we're getting some sunlight, even if that's just on a daily walk.
"Go out for a walk within the government guidelines or sit in the garden with a good book, even if it's cloudy your skin will still absorbs the vitamin D it needs, don't forget your SPF though even in the shade," she explained.
"Take time out from technology at least an hour a day and avoid negativity - don't forget to disinfect your phone, it's a breeding ground for bacteria which is then transferred to your face.
"Sleep is also essential for our skin, nothing beats a face mask and an early night."
It seems the double whammy of a change in routine *and* neglecting our regimes could be tipping our skin over the edge, but according to Dr Birnie, it's likely our bodies will adapt as the lockdown continues.
"The body is pretty clever, it will work out if you've removed something from your routine, so I would suspect it would gradually improve in around a month."
4) Make the most of your lockdown stash
In the meantime, Claire has shared two homemade skincare masks - and we're almost certain you'll have the ingredients to make these in your isolation food cupboards.
Please be extra careful if you have sensitive skin. Claire explains: "DIY skincare recipes can be amazing for your skin, but there are lots of ingredients used that can be very damaging and can cause breakouts and sensitivities.
"For your more bigger skin problems I would recommend staying with the brand your dermatologist/skin specialist has recommended unless they have advised it's okay to try something new."
Honey and oatmeal scrub/mask
"Oatmeal and honey have anti-inflammatory properties with honey having the added bonus of being an antiseptic," says Claire.
"Lactic acid in the yogurt acts as a super exfoliate for the skin. For an added boost, grind some sunflower seeds, these have great scrubbing power and contain moisturising oils which is key after exfoliation."
Blend a tablespoon each of the sunflower seeds and oatmeal.
Mix two tablespoons of yogurt and one tablespoon of honey.
Scrub gently into the face, neck and chest area and leave for 3-5 minutes. Rinse off and pat skin dry.
Egg white and yogurt mask
"These two combined are great for cleaning out your pores," says Claire
"The lactic acid in the yogurt sucks out all the impurities from the skin. Mash up an avocado to add moisture and it's a fabulous anti inflammatory mask."
Whisk one egg white, one tablespoon of yogurt with half an avocado.
Leave the mixture on for 10 minutes, rinse and pat dry.
Featured Image Credit: Unsplash