Whether you’ve stripped back your beauty regime recently, or taken time to indulge in some pandemic pampering, it’s easy to make mistakes when it comes to looking after your skin.
Here, experts offer their advice on how to care for your complexion during lockdown, and eight skin sins to avoid.
Don’t Forget SPF
Just because it’s gloomy outside doesn’t mean you should skip the sunscreen.
“The sun can cause damage to our skin 365 days a year,” says tanning expert Amanda Harrington. “It is so important to wear SPF every day to protect our skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays that cause premature aging and skin cancer. Even if you don’t go outside, sitting by a window exposes your skin, so always end your morning skincare routine with SPF.”
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Turn Down the Heat
“Even though it might feel like a spa experience, steaming your skin with hot water is always a problem. Heat ends up causing irritation and that damages skin,” says Paula Begoun, founder of Paula’s Choice.
It’s a myth that steaming increases circulation, and you don’t need to use such a high temperature to open your pores, she adds: “Washing your face with a gentle cleanser and tepid or warm water does the same thing, without damaging skin from steam heat.”
Similarly, a long, hot soak in the tub may be doing more harm than good, according to Armelle Souraud, international scientific communications director at Chanel: “Baths can dehydrate your skin, so opt for showers instead. Be sure to set the water to the right temperature: lukewarm, rather than hot.”
Don’t Aggravate Your 'Maskne'
Suffering with ‘maskne’, spots caused by wearing a protective face covering?
“It is important to refrain from squeezing and picking your pimples, as this can lead to scarring,” says Abigail Williams, national education manager at Caudalie. “Instead, opt for formulas containing salicylic acid, which will exfoliate dead skin cells and deeply cleanse the pores to prevent breakouts.”
Don’t be tempted to scrub your spots with harsh exfoliators either, warns celebrity facialist Su-Man: “The best thing is to just use a gentle polish two or three times per week, to remove the dead cells and prevent maskne.”
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Keep It Simple
“It’s great to have a little more time for self-care and skincare rituals, but it’s important not to overdo it,” says Pamoja skincare founder Sarah Taylor.
“Your skin can become easily overwhelmed if you use too many products or layer ingredients that are not compatible with one another. Stick to a simple skincare routine that’s suitable for your skin type.”
Don’t Abandon Your Usual Routine
On the other hand, even if you’re wearing less makeup than usual at the moment, you should still give your skin a bit of TLC twice a day.
“My advice is do not stop your skincare routine just because you are not leaving the house,” says lifestyle consultant Natali Kelly. “You should cleanse your face morning and evening to remove built-up oils and bacteria caused from wearing masks.”
“We still need to remove daily dirt from the surface of the skin, despite being indoors more,” says Liz Warom, co-founder of Temple Spa. “Indoor pollutants such as dirt, dust, and gases contribute significantly to skin aging, dehydration, and inflammation.”
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After cleansing, your complexion needs a good glug of moisturizer.
“The combination of cold weather and central heating often means an increase in sensitivity and dryness and, as a result, extra moisture is a must,” says Kelly. “Making sure the heating is turned off during the night, or using a humidifier, will also help to reduce skin dryness.”
Don’t Neglect Your Hands
“All the washing and hand sanitizer dries out the skin, and in the cold weather, more people are experiencing cracked hands,” says Dr. Nina Bal of Facial Sculpting.
“You should choose hand gel sanitizers, which are not too drying, and also use a hand cream daily to keep your hands hydrated.”
Don't Ignore Your Moles
While your complexion will cope without a visit to the beautician during lockdown, it’s important not to ignore any signs of more serious skin concerns.
“Skin cancer can be quite hard to detect, as it’s frequently not itchy nor painful,” says Dr. Hiba Injibar, founder of Dermasurge. “At home, we advise people to keep an eye on their moles using a full-length mirror, checking every part of their body using the ‘ABCDE’ technique.”
That means looking for moles that may have become asymmetrical; has the border become irregular; has the color changed; has the diameter grown; is the appearance evolving?
Dr Injibar says: “Anything that causes you concern following checking over your body using the above mnemonic should prompt you to contact your dermatologist or your GP, who will refer you to a dermatologist.”