Mask up (the skincare kind), chill out, put down that block of cheese you’re nibbling on and get busy with the vitamins. Skin Ritual’s Greta Ryan and Skintopia’s Natasha Bourke give us the lowdown on ways to ensure your skin looks happy and fresh, even if you’re not.

TEXT: JOSIE STEENHART

Mia from Clyne Models; Photography by Adam Bryce

What changes is our skin likely to undergo during four or more weeks of lockdown?

Greta: This is undoubtedly a stressful time for a lot of us — and for those of us with stress-responsive skin, this can mean: breakouts, dehydration, inflammation/redness or higher oil production than normal. For those with a tendency for facial dermatitis, this can flare up during times of stress — commonly around the eye/eyebrow area.

Natasha: Our usual, modern day life has completely been turned upside down, causing many people stress and sleepless nights. These triggers can be a perfect storm for the skin, leading to breakouts and visible signs of premature skin ageing. When chronic stress, adrenal fatigue and hormonal imbalances (caused by the daily pressures and lack of sleep many of us are currently going through) combine, the skin reacts with breakouts that can then lead to premature signs of skin ageing. These signs come in the form of post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation, rough skin texture and uneven skin tone.

What do we need to focus on or change up from our usual routine?

Greta: If you’re in the category experiencing stress-breakouts (same!), amp up your vitamin A use — this will reduce and regulate your oil production. Use a clay-based mask one to two times weekly if you have one, and try to keep your sugar and dairy intake low. If you are in the dry/sensitive category, amp up your hydration. Give your skin some extra love with a hydrating mask if you can (sleep in it), and make sure you’re eating enough essential fatty acids to support your skin. 

Natasha: A holistic approach to health and well-being is always important, but at the moment it’s imperative. It can be difficult to stick to your usual routine when you’ve got a household full of family who are suffering from cabin fever, you’re staying up later than usual at night or you just have a lack of normality in general. Focusing on the simple things is important here. This includes your normal cleanse, exfoliate, tone, serum, eye care and moisturiser, but the addition of a masque to this routine can really help you take 15 minutes of ‘you time’ to not only benefit your skin, but your mental health as well. Thinking again of the holistic approach, we need to look at internal health and how we can support this. Using internal gut health products to support immunity will ensure you’re covering all bases.

Ziya (right) from Unique Models; Photography by Adam Bryce

With potentially a lot more time on our hands, are there any slower/more time-consuming treatments/things we can do to improve our skin?

Greta: Absolutely — if you have face masks at home, now is the perfect time to use them. Another amazing thing you can do to give your skin some TLC is facial massage. There are some awesome self-facial massage tutorials on YouTube, so make the most of them. There are endless benefits to facial massage, and your skin will love you for it. 

Natasha: Absolutely. You can incorporate some fantastic tools and techniques into your routine to help with the application of your products while practising mindfulness. A great place to start is with your evening routine — apply your moisturiser using an ‘essential oil activation technique’. Another option (if you have these at home) is to use tools such as gua sha stones to lift, tone and rejuvenate your skin. 

For now, we’re stuck with what product we already have or what we can grab at the pharmacy or supermarket — what ingredients are we best to look for?

Greta: Look for vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. Avoid sulphates (eg. sodium lauryl sulphate), fragrance/parfum and parabens. 

Natasha: Stick to the basics. If you’re lucky enough to have good-quality skincare products at home to get you through the lockdown, stick with them and use the techniques described above to add an element of luxury to your routine. If you do need to go out and buy something new, make sure the products you purchase don’t include comedogenic ingredients such as lanolin, SD alcohol, mineral oil, artificial colours and fragrances.

If we are buying from a pharmacy/supermarket, is there anything you’d genuinely recommend in a pinch?

Greta: This is a tricky one. The best pharmacy/supermarket sold brand I know of is Trilogy — they have really clean ingredients and beautiful products. 

Natasha: For starters, make sure nothing you purchase has the ingredients I’ve described above. I’d recommend a product that is as natural as possible, and you can even get creative here. For example, if you haven’t got a good quality exfoliant at home, create your own using raw sugar and coconut oil, which you can easily find at your local supermarket.

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