Although it may seem like an eternity, most of us have been in lockdown for three weeks now. We’re wearing less make-up, getting more rest, we’re even getting an hour of fresh air and exercise every day and if there’s one thing we all have in abundance is time, time to care for ourselves and for our skin. So why is your skin worse and suffering breakouts?
Our consultant dermatologist Dr Mark Hudson-Peacock explains that there are likely to be a number of reasons our skin is letting us down.
‘In the absence of pre-existing skin conditions (as the lockdown may exacerbate these) some possible culprits could be stress, a change in diet, a lack of vitamin D and a change in your normal skincare routine’
Let’s start with the most likely culprit – stress. It’s understandable that most people are stressed during this time, worried about loved ones, finances, home-schooling, restrictions on our social life and our holidays cancelled!
‘Stress affects us all in different ways, and we all seem to have a weak spot of sorts: stress gives some of us headaches or migraines, others to have a stomach upset or a skin break out or flare, and others to get joint aches and pains etc. You will no doubt recognise what your weak point is. Our hormone levels can change with stress, for example cortisol levels can go up, and in turn these can affect our bodily systems by affecting how our immune system functions etc.’ explains Dr Mark Hudson-Peacock.
Stress and anxiety can keep us awake at night, which in turn can cause havoc on the skin and its healing ability not to mention the appearance of dark circles under the eyes making us look older and unhealthy.
We’re all feeling the stress of this global pandemic so talk to your friends, exercise in the fresh air, take some time for you! Make use of the many mindfulness, yoga and meditation apps that are offering free subscriptions during lock down.
Stress and boredom may also come hand in hand with snacking and while we have all good intentions of snacking on chia seeds, dates and walnuts, for most of us this means sweet treats and junk food.
Another reason for breakouts may be the lack of Vitamin D ‘Often called the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D plays an integral role in skin protection and rejuvenation’ explains Dr Mark Hudson-Peacock.
“It is activated in the skin by Ultraviolet B light and, in its activated form as calcitriol, vitamin D is involved with skin cell growth, repair, and metabolism.”
“It also enhances the skin’s immune system and helps to destroy those free radicals that can lead to premature sun ageing.”
Vitamin D is also found in food such as fish, cheese and eggs so if you’re not able to get out in the sunlight make sure you are eating a healthy and balanced diet.
Dr Alice Hudson-Peacock also explains that our skin may be suffering if we have increased our consumption of alcohol.
‘One of the effects of alcohol is to relax muscles, including those ones associated with the blood vessels in our skin, hence resulting in the skin flushing or blushing. Rosacea is one skin condition well known to be exacerbated by drinking alcohol. Eczema and psoriasis can also feel more sensitive and can look redder as more blood flows in skin that is already red and inflamed. This can also be experienced in other skin conditions.’
Also, remember, alcohol results in varying degrees of dehydration, so make sure you hydrate with water to help reduce this if you do indulge in one too many margaritas!
Even if we are not going out as much, we should still have a good skin routine to maintain skin health. Dr Alice Hudson-Peacock recommends only using cosmeceutical skincare such as Skinceuticals during lockdown. She recommends using the following skincare routine:
Cleanser and Toner -appropriate for your skin type
Protection- SPF 50
Cleanse and Tone
Correction e.g. Retinol/ Glycolic Renew etc
Moisturise e.g. Hydrating B5
If you’re experiencing severe breakouts or just need some advice you can book a virtual consultation with one of our doctors through this link.