One might think that being home all the time would be a godsend for the skin — if only. Instead of cutting back on our day-to-day skincare regimes, we’ll have to create new ones, specially suited to these circuit-breaker times.
In the words of dermatologist Dr Teo Wan Lin, who runs the TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre: “If you have an underlying skin issue, it’s not going to go away just because you’re staying at home.”
Here are here top 5 skincare tips for taking care of your complexion while during the lockdown.
01 | Keep your beauty routine lean
The temptation is great, we know: now that you’ve got more time to yourself in the morning, it seems like the best time to start building your own 10-step skincare routine.
“We should pay attention to what is essential, efficient, and sustainable, rather than thinking, ‘Oh, I’ve got more time now, I should add a million and one things to my skincare regime,” says Dr Teo.
The logic? You might have time to keep it up now, but once life slowly starts to return to normal and picks up pace, you may not have the time to maintain complex, lengthy routines — and that’s to the detriment of your skin.
02 | Don’t forget to cleanse
One might think that staying home protects us from harmful pollutants outside, but if you’ve got your windows open to let in fresh air, then be wary of urban pollutants hanging around — on top of whatever lurks indoors.
“The indoor environment is not necessarily better than the outdoors,” says Dr Teo, citing chemicals such as benzenes and formaldehyde emitted from furniture and paintwork.
Plus, even when you aren’t working up a sweat, the body naturally produces some oil, so it’s always good to get it all off at the start and end of the day.
03 | Watch what you eat
It goes without saying, but we should be mindful of what we eat during the circuit breaker period. Dr Teo cautions against over-snacking, which can increase the risk of inflammatory skin conditions such as adult acne.
But if you can’t keep away from the ol’ chips-and-choc, be sure to keep exercising — or find other ways to keep your blood pumping.
“The skin is an organ that relies on the circulation of blood flow to deliver nutrients,” she says. “Also, if you end up gaining weight, that’s detrimental to your skin because fat cells actually secrete testosterone, which is what makes people prone to acne and greasy skin.”
04 | Don’t be afraid of blue light
Blue light has become one of the biggest bogeymen in skincare, but Dr Teo says that the phenomenon still needs to be studied in further detail.
“Blue light can worsen underlying pigmentation, so if you have lots of sunspots, it helps to reduce your exposure,” she says. And while it might not be realistic to toss out all your devices, what can help is an antioxidant serum — Dr Teo recommends ones that contain plant-based extracts (such as centella asiatica) to fight free radical damage.
“Bear in mind that one of the strongest sources of blue light exposure is in solar radiation,” she advises.
05 | Remember to apply sunscreen
It’s a rule of thumb that applies even when you’re staying home: don’t forget your sunscreen. Unless you have specific UV filters applied to your windows, you can still be susceptible to sun damage from the light that comes in. As for day curtains, as Dr Teo says, “are by no means acceptable in terms of replacing sunscreen”.
“My advice is to continue to wear sunscreen even when you’re indoors,” says Dr Teo. “To believe that you are completely not getting harmful UVA and UVB rays is not true.”