Most of us are working from home now because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cosmetic treatments such as Laser treatments and Botox that some of you may have considered as “essential”, are unfortunately labeled as non-essential services during this time. Therefore the aesthetic clinic or spa that you used to visit every few weeks is no longer allowed to operate normally.
So you are now stuck at home for weeks without your regular facial and laser. Some of you may be panicking because you start seeing your skin getting dry and dull. Acne starts to pop out. Those pigments that you have got rid of long ago seem to be surfacing again. You start asking your friends: “What do I do?”
These are the 7 things you can do to keep your skin healthy without your regular cosmetic treatments:
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Hydration is a fundamental building block for healthy skin cells. Plants will die without hydration. Similarly, skin cells will deteriorate rapidly without adequate hydration. Skin hydration comes in two forms: the water that you drink, and the topical moisturiser that you apply on your skin. Water molecules that you drink automatically fills up the natural hyaluronic acid molecules in our skin. This process provides essential hydration and nutrients to your skin to keep your skin plump and healthy.
However, mere hydration may be inadequate especially in aged and sun damaged skin. This is when topical hydration agents such as a moisturiser and a hyaluronic acid serum may be used. Apply your regular moisturiser even when you are at home, especially if you are going to be working in an air-conditioned room all day.
Good cleansing twice a day
You may not be using make-up at home but please do not get lazy in cleansing your face thoroughly. No regular facial for a few weeks should be not disastrous to your skin as long as you do proper cleansing at home twice a day.
Choose a cleanser that is suitable for your skin type. For oily or acne-prone skin, consider using a foaming liquid cleanser. For aged skin, go for cleansers that are more moisturising such as a cream-based cleanser.
Although you will be at home most of the time, do not forget your sunscreen when you go out to buy your lunch or to exercise. For some of you at home, the sun’s UV rays do still come in, especially if you prefer good ventilation and have windows open and curtains drawn.
Sunscreen protects your skin from UV damage, pigmentation formation and skin cancer. Even a brief exposure to the sun can cause some damage to your skin.
Choose a sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection, and with SPF 30 and above. Remember this: Wearing a mask does not protect your skin sufficiently from the sun. You will still require a good quality sunscreen if you do not want those dreadful skin pigmentations to surface.
Use a good serum
Sometimes, basic skin care combining a moisturiser and a sunblock may still not be good enough, especially for mature and sun damaged skin. Add on a good serum to provide additional protection to your skin. A good serum can function as a powerful ally to your basic skin care routine and target specific issues such as skin pigmentation, wrinkles and large pores.
Some examples of useful skin serums are hyaluronic acid serums, vitamin C serums and peptide serums. These serums also provide long term anti-ageing benefits.
Now that you do not have to travel to work, there is no excuse to not make time for some exercise. If you cannot exercise outdoors, exercise at home! Exercising at home was already a trend even before COVID-19 hit us.
Regular 30-minute exercises, 3 times a week not only improves your overall health but also enhances blood circulation to your skin, therefore bringing more essential nutrients and hydration to your skin.
Exercising can also reduce stress hormones, stimulate skin collagen production, improve your overall muscle tone that make your skin look firmer, and reduce the appearance of cellulite.
During this home-bound period, it is a great time to reassess your dietary regime. We are what we eat. A balanced nutritional diet contributes to healthy skin.
Foods rich in vitamin C and antioxidants are beneficial for your skin, and protect your skin from environmental free radical damage and serves as anti-ageing ingredients to your skin.
On the other hand, fatty and high-sugar foods may adversely affect the quality of your skin. Sugar binds to the collagen and elastin in your skin through glycation, which ages your skin prematurely.
Choose your food wisely!
Do not underestimate the power of sleep. Adequate rest and sleep are important in keeping your skin healthy.
When you sleep at night, your skin starts repairing itself. This skin repair process also produces more collagen and elastin that keeps your skin more youthful. Besides, having adequate sleep also keeps our stress hormones under control. This directly benefits our skin because stress hormones typically cause acne breakouts and pigmentation formation.
Chronic lack of sleep causes the skin to dry, wrinkle, and age quicker. Combining this with dark circles and eye bags, you will look old and tired. So, sleep more!
So, even during this constrained period, we have plenty of ways to keep our skin in the best form possible. Keep up the 7 recommendations here and the next time you visit your favourite clinic or spa, your doctor or therapist may be pleasantly amazed at your glowing skin and smile!
Article by Dr. Justin Sii, Aesthetic Medical Director, S Aesthetic Clinic