Many people are finding they’re having problems with their skin during the COVID pandemic. Whether it’s from having to wear a mask all day long, stress, trouble sleeping, or struggling to maintain a healthy diet and exercise — all of these things can have an impact on your skin. We take a look at some essential tips for clear skin in the time of COVID.
What’s causing skin problems during the pandemic?
One of the biggest issues people are having with their skin is breakouts due to wearing a mask. When you’ve got a mask on it’s constantly rubbing against your skin and causing micro-tears, which makes it easier than usual for dirt to clog up your pores and cause spots. Breathing inside the mask also leads to an increased build-up of bacteria, oil, and sweat, which only makes the problem worse.
As well as this, many people are more stressed by the uncertainty of the pandemic, and the impact it’s having on their lives. And as we all stay home more, it’s easy to slip into bad habits when it comes to eating and exercising, and even just getting outside each day.
Skincare tips during COVID
Wear a clean mask
While wearing a mask is necessary and unavoidable if you’re out and about or in work, there are certain steps you can take to minimise its impact on your skin.
Most importantly, don’t wear the same mask again and again. When you wear a mask it traps dirt and bacteria, so if you put it back on again it’s likely to cause you skin problems. Try to avoid disposable face masks with synthetic materials as these will also make your skin worse — invest in some cotton reusable masks that are better for your skin and can be washed after you wear them.
If you’re required to wear a mask all day for work, try to take a spare with you and change it during the day.
Treat blemishes and acne
If you find you’re getting spots or acne, whether it’s due to wearing a mask or stress, then it’s important to treat it so that it doesn’t get worse. First, you need to know what your skin type is so that you can figure out which are the best products for you. Most people will have either dry, oily, or combination skin, and there are different products that can help tackle your skin problems based on that.
Choose oil-free products and avoid thick and heavy creams that can further clog your pores. Focus on eating well, drinking enough water to keep yourself hydrated, and try cutting down on your sugar and dairy intake as these can cause acne. Don’t be tempted to pick at spots, and avoid touching them as much as possible.
If you find that acne treatments you can buy off the shelf aren’t working then you might want to consider prescription treatments such as Duac gel. It contains two key ingredients that can tackle spots: clindamycin, which is an antibiotic that stops bacteria on your skin from reproducing, and benzoyl peroxide, which helps to unblock pores.
Duac gel is just one of many prescription acne treatments, and you may have to try a few different ones before you find one that works for your skin. But if you are experiencing skin problems long term, it’s a good idea to talk to a pharmacist or doctor as continuing to wear a mask can aggravate your skin further.
Wash your face with the right products
Using regular soap to wash your face, or even harsh face washes designed to tackle acne, can end up drying out your skin and stripping away too much oil from your face. You need to find the right products for your skin, especially if it’s sensitive or prone to breakouts.
Choose a gentle cleanser or face wash with warm water to wash your face no more than two times a day. If you’re experiencing acne then look for one with salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or benzoyl peroxide in the ingredients such as the CeraVe Cleanser. And try to wash your face just before putting your mask on so that you aren’t trapping any dirt underneath the mask.
Don’t be tempted to ditch the moisturiser when you’ve got breakouts. It might seem counterintuitive, especially if your skin’s more greasy or oily than usual, but moisturiser can still improve your skin.
By keeping your skin hydrated it minimises the irritation; if your face is too dry your body can end up producing more oil making things worse. Choose a moisturiser that’s suitable for sensitive skin such as Avène Hydrating Emulsion. The moisturiser acts as a barrier to reduce the friction when you’re wearing a mask as well.
Avoid makeup under masks
Wearing makeup underneath your mask can help to clog up your pores, causing more spots. When you’re wearing a mask put on as little makeup as possible. If you don’t want to stop wearing it all together then look for lighter products like a tinted moisturiser instead of full foundation.
Make sure you’re regularly cleaning your makeup brushes and applicators, especially when your skin is bad, otherwise they’ll just spread the bacteria back on to your skin.
While skin problems caused by wearing a mask, stress, or changes to your lifestyle due to COVID can be frustrating they’re easily managed. You just need to take care of your skin and spend some time finding the best products to improve your skin.