If you’re not one of the many essential workers either labouring to save lives during the coronavirus pandemic or provide those of us able to stay home with the necessities to stay there, you’re probably not going outside much right now.
Chances are you’re eating different foods. You may not be exercising as much. Or maybe you’re exercising more. You may not be sleeping well, or at odd times. And you’re likely pretty stressed out right now.
As a result of all of this ― plus all the other factors in your life ― your skin is probably freaking out in a number of ways. We talked to two dermatologists about how to take care of your skin when all your normal routines have been upended.
“Your skin is a reflection of your overall health,” said Heather D. Rogers, owner of once a week and sticking to washing your face once or twice a day.
Use skin masks, peels and exfoliators with caution.
With extra time on your hands, you might be tempted to indulge in all kinds of masks, exfoliators and peels. Rogers cautions about getting carried away with these kinds of treatments.
“You could really be jacking your skin,” she said. “All of that exfoliating and peeling affects your skin’s acid mantle. You have good bacteria and bad bacteria. You don’t want to get rid of all your good stuff. If you over treat, your pH levels go up and that can lead to skin problems.”
Don’t forget to moisturise after you wash your hands.
We’re all washing our hands much more often (or we should be!). Saedi said she’s been seeing a lot more hand eczema cases with her patients.
“All that washing and hand sanitiser dries out the skin,” she said. Many people are experiencing cracked and chapped hands. “If your hands are cracking,Vaseline is one of the best things you can use.”
You don’t even have to buy one of Vaseline’s hand lotions, you can just use the regular, original petroleum jelly if you want.
Avoid picking and scratching in your newfound free time.
Both Rogers and Saedi caution against excessive skin picking and scratching.
“Thirty percent of people pick at their skin,” Rogers said. Times of stress and anxiety can make people pick more than they normally would. The most common areas that women pick are the neck and back, while men tend to pick at the skin on their calves.
If you notice yourself picking at a higher intensity than you’d like, Rogers suggests using an ice pack or a package of frozen vegetables to quiet your nerves. “Nerves can’t itch and be cold at the same time,” she said, “so the ice cold will stop the itchy feeling.”
Running out of skin care? There are household items you can use.
While none of the following should necessarily make up your entire regular skin routine, Rogers said that coconut oil has been shown to help with eczema and blocked pores. “Don’t put on your face, though,” she said.
You can, however, use castor oil on your face. As a source of triglycerides (which help retain moisture in the skin), ricinoleic (an anti-inflammatory) and other fatty acids, castor oil can be beneficial to your skin. Just keep in mind that there isn’t a lot of real research about the use of home cooking oils so results can vary.
“If you have a dry scalp and hair, sleep with some olive oil massaged into your scalp and it should help,” Rogers added.
“All in all, take advantage of being less rushed,” Saedi said, “Take care of yourself. Moisturise. Be compliant with your skin care regime. If you’ve haven’t had time in the past to stick to a routine, now is an excellent opportunity to do that.”