You’re applying face masks, layering on serums and making time for a daily face massage, so your skin should be its glowiest, healthiest self, right? False. All that extra attention to your skin could be hurting it rather than helping. “With so much information available on the internet and social media, people are experimenting with DIYs, trying and testing skincare tools, loading on layers of products as a part of their elaborate 12 step routine. This is leading to a damaged epidermis and skin barrier and instead, resulting in issues like acne, rashes, redness, dryness and allergies,” says Dr Kiran Sethi of Isya Aesthetics. We spoke to Dr Sethi and Mumbai-based dermatologist Dr Jaishree Sharad for the most common skincare issues that have been cropping up right now.
You are not alone if your skin is breaking out a lot more right now. “There have been relatively higher cases of acne flare-ups and treatments off late. The main reason for that has been stress and all those DIY experiments,” says Sharad. When we’re stressed, we produce cortisol, which causes inflammation and oil production, which, in turn, causes breakouts. The side effect of stress include lack of sleep, binge eating and drinking more alcohol, which are all culprits of acne.
“Major reasons that are contributing to flaky/dry skin in lockdown are stress, poor sleeping patterns, dehydration, increased screen time and not moisturising enough,” says Dr Sharad. Have you been using lemon juice for your acne breakouts? Doing a lymphatic treatment everyday? Layering a retinol treatment with your acids? Too-harsh ingredients and exfoliating products could be chipping away at your skincare barrier, which could be causing transepidermal moisture loss.
To prevent this, “Sit with your skincare expert and create a routine for yourself, instead of paging Dr Google for all your skin treatments and solutions,” suggests Dr Sethi. She suggests cleansing, toning and moisturising in the day, with an addition of a good sunscreen. Nighttime skincare can include a cleanser, toner, moisturiser and face oil depending on your skin type, she says.
Skin irritation, redness and rashes
Not leaving the house as often can leave you too lazy to take showers through the day. “Rashes have been common throughout this lockdown and the main reason for that being—people not taking a shower after their workout or after finishing their household chores like cooking, dusting, cleaning, etc,” says celebrity dermatologist, Dr Jaishree Sharad. Sweat tends to accumulate into the body folds, thus, developing rashes and fungal infections. “Make sure to take a shower after your workout or household chores. Pat your face and body dry and don’t just leave it wet post shower. You can use a clotrimazole powder on your underarms, between your toes and neck—front and back,” suggests Sharad.
All that screen time, unhealthy dietary habits, an unmanageable lifestyle and the stress of it all has led to an increase in those fine lines and wrinkles. “Start with eating healthy, taking some time out to workout, reducing your screen time and investing in a good skincare routine. Besides making sure you apply sunscreen everyday, use a retinol based serum twice a week and a peptide-based or a Vitamin C serum at bedtime,” suggests Dr Sharad.