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Everyone is handing quarantine differently. Some are using the spare time to kick-start their health journeys and get a kick-ass skin and fitness regimen going (if that’s you, congrats!). Others are simply trying to find some work, take care of their families, and stay at least somewhat sane.
Most, it seems, fall somewhere in between.
If you’re in the latter category, you’re likely trying to stay on top of your skincare - but noticing a few quarantine-related woes along the way.
Here are the most common quarantine skin concerns and how to address them today.
The number one concern on many lists? Breakouts.
And there are a ton of possible culprits here, including:
Since there’s such a variety of possible causes here, you’re going to have to do some investigative work and identify your culprit(s) to effectively address this issue. If you're going nuts with the junk food, cut down and opt for fresher alternatives wherever possible (now that we know groceries stores aren't going to run out of things). If it’s over-cleansing the skin, invest in some products that will help restore your natural barrier and improve your skin’s health (you'll know this is the case if your skin feels tight, dry, or itchy after washing).
For infrequent showers or dirty linens, the answer is pretty self-explanatory. But stress is the trickiest one - the best you can do is reframe how you think about things to remember that there are certain things that are out of your hands and practice your version of stress relief.This could be meditation, binging your favorite show, getting some face time in with loved ones, or simply taking a few minutes to yourself.
Just find what works for you and try to fit it in consistently.
Another huge concern right now is dry, flaking skin. Dryness, in part, has a lot to do with how much we’re washing our hands (and maybe our whole bodies). But it’s also still pretty cold in many parts of the country, and the continued use of central heating can zap away moisture, too.
There are a few things to keep in mind here. First, you want to moisturize your hands, body, and face when your skin is damp - not when it’s dry. This will allow the cream to seal in any moisture on your skin and help the water to penetrate into its deeper layers.
Next, make sure that your products have moisturizing ingredients that really work, like hyaluronic acid or squalane. Hyaluronic acid, for one, is a humectant that moisturizes using the water that’s already in your body, drawing up moisture from the deep layers of the skin. And it’s extremely effective: just one gram (0.03oz) of hyaluronic acid can hold up to six liters of water, and it’s capable of binding 1,800 times its own weight in water - whoa!
Squalane, on the other hand, is an occlusive, meaning that it helps seal moisturize into the skin. It’s the stabilized version of squalene, an oil found in our own sebum. This oil plays a huge role in your natural ability to moisturize your skin and is particularly effective at preventing transdermal moisture loss.
Incorporate products that contain both and you can kiss your dryness problems goodbye for good. You can find a gentle, hydrating hyaluronic acid moisturizer here and a squalane-infused eye cream here.
Make sure you’re also drinking enough water for your body to maintain proper hydration.
One rule of thumb is that you should be drinking about half your weight in ounces of water - so, if you weigh 120 pounds, you should be drinking at least 60 ounces of water a day.
Most people don’t drink nearly that much, and the reality is that your skin will never be moisturized if your body is dehydrated. So keep a water bottle nearby at all times and make sure you’re sipping at least a few times an hour. Your skin - and your hair, nail, eyes, and major organs - will thank you for it.
If you’re quarantining and social distancing like you should, then your skin isn’t getting a lot of sunlight and vitamin D - and you’re probably feeling pretty pale.
You can find a sunny spot in the back yard to get some rays or invest in some self-tanner, but there are two (maybe unexpected) things that you should keep in mind here.
First, even if you’re pale, you can’t skip your SPF. UVB rays can actually go through windows and cause free radical damage and skin aging, even if you’re inside. So make sure that you apply a sunscreen that provides:
And be sure to choose a formula that skips no-no ingredients like oxybenzone, octinoxate, avobenzone, or retinyl palmate.
Second, a lack of sufficient sun exposure - and enough vitamin D - can legitimately lead to seasonal affected disorder. So if you’re feeling down, consider that this may be the culprit and try to increase your vitamin D.
A lot of people are finding that their skin isn't dry and flaky, but it is a little lackluster. This can be attributed to the same major causes as dry skin - things like hot water, dry air, and ineffective moisturization - and it can be effectively addressed with:
Most people are spending more time on their screens than ever, which means lots more exposure to blue light.
Mounting evidence suggests that long-term, concentrated blue light exposure contributes to photoaging, including:
And blue light exposure can also increase redness and pigmentation - possibly because of increased production of free radicals (which we already know can seriously accelerate aging in the skin by damaging DNA, causing inflammation and other serious concerns).
Finally, blue light exposure can possibly lead to more dark spots and acne.
Sounds bad, for sure. And while none of this is 100% proven, at the very least, it’s worth taking note.
If you have these concerns, there are a few things you can do.
First, look specifically for an anti-aging serum for women to help counter the effects of blue light.Keep in mind that this serum should have a variety of antioxidants to be most effective.
Additionally, incorporate a mineral sunscreen into your routine. Keep in mind that “traditional” sunscreens - which protect primarily against ultraviolet rays - will not help protect you from blue light rays. Instead, you need a physical mineral sunscreen that contains ingredients like iron oxide, which are known to block visible light.
Other things you can do:
Finally, many people are trying to kick their routines up a notch but seeing inconsistent results at best. Sometimes they’re breaking out, other times they’re clear. Sometimes their skin is dry, other times they notice some shine.
If you’re noticing this problem, your best bet is to find a comprehensive routine that works for you and stick to it.
What does that mean, exactly? Well, it largely depends on your skin type and your primary concerns, but your routine should usually have the following steps:
You can find more information and details here.
Overall, remember to have fun with your skincare routine! This is a time when you can really enjoy it and do anything you want with your skin - so show it some love, practice patience, stay consistent, and show off the results later.