The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is changing our world. Entire communities – including Los Angeles – have essentially gone into lockdown to slow the spread. Non-essential products, businesses, and services (yes – even skin care essentials such as medspas) are becoming harder to access as businesses reduce hours or close entirely to help keep staff and the public safe.
While this response might seem extreme, especially if you’re still well and healthy yourself, it does make sense. The fewer people who come into direct or indirect contact with each other, the lower the risk of transmission. And fewer people infected at the same time makes it easier for the healthcare industry to manage coronavirus.
But just because it isn’t as easy to pop by the medspa right now, as it usually is doesn’t mean you should ignore your skin entirely. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth! Now is the perfect time to indulge in a little self-care and skin prep from home.
Here are some skin care essentials to keep in mind, while making the best with what you have.
GET ENOUGH QUALITY SLEEP
It’s easy to slip into staying up late and sleeping all day when you’re at home all the time. Or, maybe you binge-watch Netflix super late, but still have to get up and work from home early the next day. Either way, your schedule can quickly fall apart and you just might develop a significant sleep deficit along the way.
Here’s why this is the worst thing you can do for your skin. As an organ, skin heals and self-repairs most often during deep sleep (sometimes referred to as “stage 3 sleep”). The average person spends up to 25 percent of their total slumber time in deep sleep assuming they slumber for seven to eight hours.
The trouble is that a broken or shortened sleep might shorten the amount of deep sleep you get. In fact, if your night is really short – say, three hours – you might not ever enter deep sleep at all. That means your skin never has a chance to recover from things like cosmetics, wind, sun, and other forms of oxidative damage.
Studies have shown that a lack of sleep is cumulative. So, while a once-off Netflix binge or late night probably won’t hurt, a chronic lack of sleep will. Make now the time when you correct your schedule to reap the benefits for life.
EAT RIGHT AND WELL
Hey, you – yes, you, sitting over there on the couch with your fourth bag of chips today! Look, we get it… this pandemic can be stressful, and snacks are super comforting in the worst of times. But honestly, letting your diet go to pot could result in some rather nasty kickbacks for your skin.
Diet can change everything from oil production balance to your ability to absorb certain vitamins and minerals. The longer your “slightly questionable” eating habits go on, the more likely it is that you’ll notice side effects.
Some of the most common include (but are not limited to):
Eating right is fundamental to health and wellness. So, do yourself a favor and try to maintain clean, healthy diet within reason. Don’t stress if you can’t get it perfect due to accessibility or budget issues – but do try your best. Your body, including your skin, will thank you!
This is another good habit that tends to fall by the wayside when you’re sitting at home in isolation. You stop remembering to drink water. Or worse, you switch it out for sugary sodas, wine, or beer. What’s the harm?
After all, you deserve it – right? Look, everyone deserves a little treat now and again. If you want a glass of red wine with dinner and wine is okay for you, go for it – enjoy that glass. But if you’re constantly indulging or avoiding water, you’re going to become dehydrated. That’s bad news for your skin!
Some of the most common skin symptoms of dehydration include excessive dryness, flaking, and – strange but true – difficulty getting cosmetics to “sit flat” and even. This happens because your skin loses volume as you lose water weight through dehydration. The fix? Keep a filled water bottle by your side all day long – sip often!
GET SOME (INDOOR) EXERCISE
Exercise (one of the most important skin care essentials) gets the blood flowing. This improves circulation all throughout the body, including within your skin, which makes it easier to get critical nutrients and oxygen to the areas that need it most. Being overly sedentary (hello, lockdown) has the opposite effect!
If you’ve been feeling a little lazy at home, you can break the habit by adding just a few minutes of exercise to your day. Try pilates, yoga, or dance – YouTube has plenty of tutorials available. Or, use water jugs and cans as weights to build muscle.
STICK WITH YOUR DAILY ROUTINE
You’re at home – and you might not even be going out in the sun. You most definitely aren’t heading down into LA to encounter the smog (unless you live there already, of course). Do you really need to follow such a strict daily routine anymore?
Yes! Even when you’re relaxing at home, your skin still experiences minor damage throughout the day. Excess oil and old, dead skin cells tend to build up, while dry indoor air might make skin feel rough or even flaky. The fix?
Stick to a basic routine that’s easy to follow and as problem-free as possible. Wash with a gentle cleanser designed for your skin type in the morning. Follow it up with your favorite toner, then moisturize – and repeat the whole thing again at night.
Oh, and in case you were wondering? Unless you’re truly in the dark all day, you should still wear sunscreen. Even strong light from a large window can cause oxidative damage if you’re exposed all day.
Skin has a tendency to dry out or even overproduce oil during times of stress – and woah, is everyone stressed right now. The way to ameliorate this is to remember to moisturize with the right product on a regular basis.
If what you currently use is working, continue to use it – moisturize in the morning and at night after you cleanse. If it isn’t working, try to get a bead on the problem and adjust your routine to compensate.
If you’re too oily, try switching to a lighter gel-based moisturizer. If you’re too dry, try a heavier oil-based serum or cream. And if you’re struggling with breakouts, try a new product specifically designed to moisturize while treating or preventing blemishes.
DEEP CLEANSE EVERY TWO WEEKS
There’s no telling how long isolation measures will remain in place. You may need to manage your own skin care at home for several weeks or months. To help bridge the skin care essentials gap, deep cleanse and exfoliate around every two weeks.
As for which products you should use? Formulas you have experience with and trust are the most reliable, as you already know they won’t cause side effects. But if you’re deep cleansing for the first time, look for products specifically designed to be gentle on skin while they exfoliate and cleanse.
Can’t get to a store? Try one of these at-home DIY food scrubs instead. They all have the same exfoliating action and they’re really easy to make