2020 is/was a lot (look, there are a couple of more weeks left. We aren’t taking any chances of jinxing it and making it even worse). 2020 fundamentally changed how we live, work, and socialise. This year, we faced health and economic uncertainties on a scale we never experienced before. Add to that the stress of worrying about it all, not seeing our families, friends, and loved ones, worrying about how they are coping and about their health… It is a LOT. Our physical and mental well-being suffered and will continue to do so. Yes, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but we aren’t there just yet.
At the moment, the skin is the least of our problems. But, it is one thing we can (somewhat) control. What did we learn about our skin during lockdowns 1.0 and 2.0?
Breakouts will happen
During a pandemic, masks are non-negotiable. Don’t @ us. Masks are the only way to stop the spread and flatten the curve. End of.
During the warmer months, there was sweat. Now that the weather turned colder, the mask will get damp. Even if you don’t talk at all, breathing is enough. Both can contribute to breakouts. Add to that the stress and changes in lifestyle (namely eating our feelings), our skin broke out.
I prefer cloth masks since they are just more comfortable for the skin. 100% cotton, thick weave, with at least two layers. I switch them regularly and launder them (on at least 60°C with a mild detergent). When a spot pops up (and they do on regular basis), the only thing that changes in my routine is I spot-treat with acid (I only use chemical exfoliant once per week, as that is enough for my skin). That usually flattens it sharpish. Other options include a clay mask or a dedicated spot treatment for the affected area. Other things that can contribute to breakouts and we need to be mindful of is to change the bed linens weekly and sanitise our phones.
During lockdown 1.0, our complexions were less than glowy (remember Keanu Reeves and that grey-ish tinge he was sporting at the beginning of Matrix? Totes us). Apart from making sure to go for a daily walk (hard to skip when you have dogs, bless them), it was vitamin C to the rescue. Vitamin C is a must to protect the skin and aid collagen synthesis. It is also one of the most effective ways to brighten the skin and make it look less tired. Chemical exfoliants do the trick, but make sure not to overdo it. Also, a consistent skincare routine helped a lot (the key component? A gentle cleanser to start with).
Dryness and dehydration
Once the weather turned, dryness and dehydration were back. Indoor heating and cold weather always have the same effect on our skin. If you are an oily or combination skin type, use light, hydrating layers to give your skin a boost (hydrating toners and serums work a treat). Seal it all in with your regular moisturiser or even a facial oil. The same applies to dry skin, but you also might need a nourishing repairing balm in your bag of tricks for those pesky dry patches.
The skin might be easier to tackle than hands. It is easy to understand why since we need to wash our hands constantly. The only advise we have is to remember to use gloves when doing any washing up and don’t forget your hand cream, at least in the evening.
What have you learned about your skin during the lockdowns?