Ask an Expert: Lockdown Skincare SecretsBy amelia richards
With the whole country in lockdown due to COVID-19, we are all making big sacrifices to our day-to-day lives, but our skin should not be one of them. Dr Michael Barnish let us in on some of his lockdown skincare secrets. Dr Barnish, MBC
Ditch the Washcloth
Using a wash cloth to wash the face can be detrimental to your skin health. When damp and moist, wash cloths can provide bacteria with the perfect environment to settle and multiply. Bacteria multiply remarkably fast and usually within 20-30mins. Therefore, after 24 hours, there soon could be a germ metropolis living in the fibres of your flannel. If this is not washed after every use, it is easy to introduce these bacteria into the skin, particularly if you firmly use the cloth for exfoliation. If your health or immunity is compromised, this could actually lead to infection, but more often to not it’s a chance for bacterial settlers to settle in those blocked pours, resulting in the feared acne.
If you are still fixed on using a wash cloth then make sure: It is a soft gentle material,
Wash the cloth each time after use on a high wash to help kill bacteria, and finally avoid heavy use of fabric conditioners and fragrant detergents when washing as the face is sensitive and can easily react to these chemicals.
Supplements to Benefit Your Skin
We will readily invest a large part of our earnings in the latest beauty cream and rub in powerful nutrients into our skin, but the oral route is just as good, and benefits all of the skin and tissues in the body as well. It can be easier and a cheaper way of ensuring you get the nutrients your body needs.
Which nutrients should help our skin looking healthy and fights’ signs of ageing?
Vitamins A, C and E are powerful antioxidants and the skin uses them to help to neutralise toxins that build up from our external environments and excessive sun exposure. You will often find these ingredients in skin care products, however, taking them orally is a more effective and should be added into any skin care regime.
Other antioxidants and minerals that should be on your radar, are selenium, alpha lipoic acid and coenzyme Q10. These are great at keeping the skin cells functioning normally and ridding them of harmful particles.
Good hydration is the most important natural go-to-method to help reduce fine line appearance and improve skin firmness and rigidity and it’s probably the most effective lockdown skincare hack on this list.
Dry lips, dry skin or dull looking skin can all be a sign that we are not well hydrated. Aim for 2-3 litres of water a day, however, drinking drinks such as tea, coffee or alcohol, can trick the body into losing more water so these should be limited.
Good sleep hygiene is vital to help improve the appearance of the skin, and especially the skin under the eyes. We don’t fully understand why we sleep, but we know that, through our experiences that tiredness shows in the skin. This is possibly due to detoxification that occurs as we sleep.
Chronic lack of sleep can lead to deeper line and wrinkles. Aim for 8 hours sleep per night. There are many studies also that suggest the hours before 12am are much more beneficial for sleep than the hours that follow. So, an early night, rather than a cheeky lie in would be the gold standard. And seeing as you’re not commuting right now, this is one lockdown skincare trick you should be able to stick to!
What to Look for in Skincare Products
Although there are many free top tips to care for your skin that everyone can use, there are certainly some other tips to really give your beauty a boost during lockdown. The first is invest in some good skin care, but what should you be looking for? The key is not think moisture but think nutrients.
The skin moisturises itself, so moisturising it daily can trick the skin into being lazy and once the moisturiser is absorbed, the skin can look dull and dry. I recommend serums and creams that are not moisturising, but more based around introducing good nutrition directly to the skin. Those essential antioxidants and vitamins, A, C, E and COQ10 etc are more beneficial to the face and body.
Your Gene’s Very Own Skincare Secrets
Finally, if we really want to get the best results and outcomes in terms of beauty, we can look to our genes. New scientific techniques have made genetic testing cheaper and more accessible and the genes that influence ageing and skin health can be unlocked easily via a swab test. If you really want to fine tune a beauty regime, then understanding exactly how your skin works, how it fends of environmental exposures and what its exact micronutrient requirements are will help to fine tune regimes treatments and plans. The beauty of this is that now this type of test can be done via just an oral swab, these tests can be done at home. Isolation is a perfect time to get to know your skin better. Always go for a trusted genetic provider, the highest accuracy and preferably doctor led to get the most out of the information revealed.
Feeling good is important for mental health. A bit of self-maintenance, love and attention goes a long way to improve mood, confidence and to break up these long isolated days. Let us know what your lockdown skincare routine looks like.