Since the coronavirus outbreak began, most of us have been ramping up the amount of time we spend indoors. You would think that taking a break from the sun and having more time for our skin care routines would make our skin the happiest and healthiest it’s ever been, but, sadly, this has not been the case for many people.
From mysterious rashes to stubborn acne around the mouth, the number of skincare complaints has skyrocketed in these last few months. So, what’s going on?
A lot, actually. From the foods you eat to the air circulating in your house, there could be a number of reasons why your skin seems to be rebelling against you these days. To help you get to the bottom of your skincare conundrums, here are a few of the most common quarantine skin issues—plus, how you can fix them.
1. Your Face Is Breaking Out Like Crazy
Is your face breaking out all of a sudden with no obvious trigger? A lot of people are in the same boat right now.
While there are many reasons why you could be experiencing an uptick in breakouts, one of the more likely culprits is increased anxiety from COVID-19. Stress is a common trigger for a number of skin problems including eczema, psoriasis, rosacea—and, yes, acne.
The coronavirus pandemic has everyone feeling on edge lately, and the constant stream of news probably isn’t helping your stress. In a recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, 97 percent of respondents said that reading/hearing about the contagiousness of coronavirus news was making them feel anxious.
How to Fix: Lowering your stress is one of the best things you can do for your skin and your overall health right now. If the news is stressing you out, consider taking a break from hearing/reading about the pandemic. Teletherapy (remote mental health counselling) is another option worth exploring. A simple acne treatment containing Salicylic acid can also be helpful, especially if your skin is on the oily side.
2. Your Skin Is Dry and Flaky
Dry skin is extremely common and can affect anyone at any age. But if you’ve noticed that your skin has been particularly dry these past few months, the problem could be chalked up to spending more time indoors.
The air circulating in your home is much drier than the air outside. The dry indoor air can zap the moisture from your skin, making it feel unusually rough and dry.
The problem could get worse this summer as you begin blasting the air conditioning more often. Luckily, there are a few quick fixes you can use to target the problem.
How to Fix: First, invest in a good humidifier to replace some moisture in your home. Put the humidifier in your bedroom or your home office to reap maximum skin benefits. Incorporating a lightweight moisturizer can also help hydrate your skin without triggering breakouts.
3. Your Wrinkles Are More Pronounced
Fact: We all get wrinkles eventually. But if your wrinkles and fine lines seem more prominent these days, there could be more at play other than the simple passing of time.
Many of us are getting less sleep these days due to increased stress and it could be having a major impact on our skin. A study published in the journal Sleep found that even just a single poor night’s sleep can show up on the face in the form of wrinkles, pale skin and dark circles under the eyes.
In other words, beauty sleep is real. Your skin uses your sleeping hours to heal itself from the previous day and to prepare for the next, so be sure to get plenty of rest!
How to Fix: If stress is messing with your sleep schedule, see our tips above to help calm your mind. Otherwise, focus on establishing good bedtime habits. Stick to a regular sleep schedule and avoid going to bed unless you feel sleepy (tip: try reading before bed). Consider incorporating retinol into your skincare routine to help combat fine lines and wrinkles.
4. Your Complexion Is Dull
Has your skin been looking particularly dull lately? Have you also been eating tons of junk food since you’ve been in quarantine? There may be a correlation between the two.
Eating processed foods and sugar has been associated with several skin issues such as acne, puffiness and dull-looking skin. When our gut health is awry, the negative effects can potentially show up on our skin.
How to Fix: The easiest way to stop poor eating habits? Don’t buy junk food in the first place. If it’s not in the house, you’re less likely to give in to your cravings. Consider taking probiotics to restore balance in your gut and achieve a healthy glow. Another way to revitalize dull skin is with exfoliation. Try using a gentle face scrub once or twice a week to slough off dead skin cells and get radiant-looking skin.
5. Your Skin Is Red and Uncomfortable
If your skin seems redder than usual and you don’t have eczema or rosacea, the problem could be your increased screen time. With more people working from home and staying inside, our screen time has gone up considerably—and it could be damaging our skin.
Both the sun and digital devices emit blue light, a high-energy, short-wavelength light on the visible light spectrum. This high-energy light is believed to trigger certain skin conditions and contribute to premature aging of the skin.
In a small study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, researchers found that blue light could result in redness, swelling and pigmentation changes. While more research is needed, it wouldn’t hurt to try to reduce your exposure to blue light.
How to Fix: When you’re not working, try to limit your screen time. If you need a good escape that doesn’t involve Netflix, reading a good book is an enjoyable option. You can also buy a blue light screen shield for your phone (you can find them on Amazon) to reduce your exposure to blue light.
Getting Back to Clear Skin
Quarantine skin issues can be a huge bummer. If you feel like you’re waging a constant battle against your skin these days, you’re not alone. But hopefully, you can use the insight from this post to get to the bottom of your quarantine skin and get your radiant complexion back.