Nobody warned you that your skin would go haywire during lockdown, did they? But being cooped up at home takes its toll on the body, as we all know. And our skin bears the brunt of this.
The lack of sunlight, sleep, fresh air, routines, balanced diets, and clear work schedules makes for a perfect storm. Together, these stressors can affect our skin. And our worries, fears, and emotional turbulence only make matters worse.
While psychological stress probably won't cause your skin to break out the minute you go over your deadline at work, dermatologists would argue that there is a close link between skin health and emotional health. Stress triggers the brain to release hormones like cortisol and other chemicals that affect the immune system. They can interfere with the skin's natural barrier and make it harder for it to heal itself.
But the opposite is also true. Skin disease can lead to distress, long-term confidence issues and anxiety. In other words, don't worry; you'll only make it worse – which happens to be the one thing nobody wants to hear when they need help.
So, how can you protect your precious complexion from the stresses of Covid-19? The answer is with a well-thought-out skin regimen.
Mind Your Minerals
Minerals don’t get nearly enough credit for their wholesome effects on the skin. One mineral in particular, magnesium, can do you a world of good if you have dry and damaged skin.
And if you want to have that coveted ‘healthy glow’ everyone keeps talking about, magnesium is the go-to mineral. Best of all, you don’t need to go out of your way to have it. Magnesium can be absorbed transdermally.
So, make a habit of sprinkling some bath salts whenever you have a pampering soak. Better yet, replace your nightly top-to-toe lotion with a mineral-rich body butter. As a bonus, it relaxes your muscles, so you’ll probably sleep more soundly.
Vitamins Speak Volumes
Taking vitamins when you don’t have a deficiency won’t make the least bit of difference. However, these are unusual times. So, if you think your skin has been starved of sunlight and nutrients, you might want to consider supplementing your nutrient intake with some of the following vitamins.
- Vitamin D is the sun’s gift to your skin. It helps prevent skin ageing. And it’s produced naturally when you expose the skin to natural sunlight – within limits. A 15-minute daily stroll is all it takes for you to tick vitamin D off the list, providing there is sufficient sunlight. But if you can’t commit to this daily ritual (e.g. you’re self-isolating) or the weather’s not playing ball, take a vitamin D supplement instead.
- Niacinamide is an essential nutrient found in plants and a form of vitamin B-3 (niacin). It helps build keratin, a protein that keeps the skin firm. It also helps even out the complexion, rid you of blemishes, and close the pores. It can be used to help soothe and clear acne, meaning many moisturizers and acne treatments include this ingredient.
- Vitamin C is naturally available in the skin in high concentrations. It stimulates the synthesis of collagen. It offers antioxidant protection against photodamage. It recycles oxidised vitamin E. Also, it decreases melanin synthesis, which is the process that leads to age spots. So, you’ll find it on the ingredient list of many anti-aging serums.
- Retinol, a form of vitamin A, can also be used to reverse the signs of skin aging, such as fine lines, age spots, and wrinkles. Some dermatologists recommend using only lotions that come with encapsulated retinol. The reasoning behind it is because is penetrates deeper into the skin layers, which makes it more effective and less likely to cause side-effects like irritation.
Drinking water is a great way to hydrate and plump up the skin. But moisturisers can also lend a hand by gradually repairing the skin barrier.
Also, some moisturisers are reinforced with wholesome ingredients like ginger root, honey, and ceramides. Others are tailor-made for sensitive skin.
And there’s no shortage of face serums with exotic sounding ingredients, such as grape water or rose water, which are particularly soothing and refreshing when chilled. But don’t stop here. Leave no stone unturned in your journey to better skincare and make your creams work for you while you sleep.
After a gentle facial massage to help with lymphatic drainage and improve circulation, make sure to apply a night-time recovery cream.
Ramp Up Your UV Defences
Sunlight is a blessing as well as a curse. UV radiation from the sun speeds up the breakdown of collagen, causing the skin to lose elasticity, sag, and age faster.
So, if you’re planning to spend an extended period in the sun, it’s important to protect your skin with a lotion that features a high Sun Protection Factor (SPF).
And if you can’t wear a good SPF lotion, plenty of foundations, primers, and compact powders come with a decent SPF rating.
Do You – The Whole You
Above all, make an effort to get to the root of your emotional stress. Try to engage in more relaxing activities like yoga, aromatherapy, and breathing exercises. They can help switch off your sympathetic nervous system (which triggers your fight-flight-freeze response) and activate the parasympathetic one.
This will lower your cortisol levels gradually and naturally; and you don’t even need to leave the house to do it.
Finally, make sure you continue caring for your skin after lockdown. Eat foods rich in antioxidants. Enjoy your beauty sleep every day, so your skin has time to heal itself. Stay hydrated by drinking at least two litres of water a day, so your skin cells don’t shrivel up, and make sure you’re drinking good-quality water.
Without a holistic approach, your skin regimen can only go so far.
About the author: Claire Williams is the owner of Meadows Skincare, who hand-make natural skincare fresh from the dairy farm.
Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.
If you want to have that coveted ‘healthy glow’ everyone keeps talking about, #magnesium is the go-to mineral. #skincare