With Auckland in a level 3 lock down again, I thought it would be a great opportunity to talk about some of the common skin issues a lot of us faced during the last lock down. Almost every client, friend or family member came to me post lock down with an increase in concerns such as acne and congestion, dryness and dullness. There are a lot of factors that can cause changes like this to present in our skin:
With such uncertain times, stress levels are definitely a little higher than usual. Unfortunately with higher levels of stress, comes cortisol, and with high levels of cortisol comes hormonal imbalances and associated skin concerns. This can cause an increase in oil production, congestion and inflammation that can worsen breakouts, eczema or rosacea.
The body may also struggle to maintain homeostasis within the endocrine system, more specifically between sex hormones such as oestrogen and progestrones. When oestrogen levels drop and progesterones are higher by comparison, we can experience a further increase in oil flow, causing congestion and breakouts in typical hormonal areas.
Who else gets a little bit snacky when they're stuck at home? I know I had moments when I indulged in a little extra chocolate or chips... The issue with this is a diet higher in SUGAR, was well as salts, dairy and saturated fats can disrupt our blood sugar levels, cause inflammation and increase oil flow causing breakouts, eczema or rosacea. See a pattern?
A diet poor in micro-nutrients, vitamins and minerals won't nourish your gut and enable your body to function optimally. This includes your skins ability to produce and turn over new cells, maintain a strong barrier and provide good immunity.
Water is incredibly important for maintaining homeostasis of fluids within the body by flushing toxins and ensuring hydration of cells. Water will be directed to all of your important organs before it reaches your skin. This means if you haven't been drinking enough water, you will notice it first with your skin. You may experience an impaired skin barrier causing dryness, dehydration, dullness and irritation if your skin cells do not receive optimal amounts of water.
Not having to drive to work may mean late nights, sleep ins, too much sleep or not enough. Regardless, disruption of your bodies circadian rhythm and sleep requirements can negatively impact the function and ability to maintain homeostasis within major organ systems including endocrine (hormones), immunity, digestive and fluid levels. All of which can heavily impact your skin, as we've already touched on above.
Skin care regime
From conversations post lock down, everyone was either in one of two boats; they were super thorough with their skin care and did at-home facials, or barely even washed their face. Think of your skin care as your diet for your face... and compare not using your skin care to completely starving your body from any food and nutrients. It is super important to continue your skin care regime, even when you're not leaving the house, here's why. Without a regular routine, your skins cell turnover will slow down, production of and function of new cells will reduce and dead skin cells will build up on the surface of the skin. Without antioxidant nourishment and protection from your serums and moisturisers, your skins barrier can become impaired and skin cells can suffer environmental damage. Not continuing to wear sun care everyday is a no no. If there is light, there is UV, and therefore UV damage.
Change in environment
Over the first lock down, we experienced a change of season and direct environment (e.g. in your home office with a heater or air con blasting). What these two things do, is impact the level of humidity and hydration within the air. If your skin barrier is impaired in any way, it will struggle to maintain moisture levels within the skin. With less hydration in the air, and an impaired barrier, it is very likely you may experience dryness, dehydration and sensitivity.
I hope this information helps you pin point what some of the causes to your skin concerns last lock down may have been, and how to can avoid them this time around.