Now that daily life has taken on new norms and habits, it’s only appropriate that our skincare routines evolve as well.
Wearing masks, spending lots of time at home, skipping certain skincare steps because you’re spending lots of time at home, ditching makeup – these are all factors that can cause our skin (and the way we look after it) to change.
To keep your skin balanced and stable through these unpredictable and stressful times, here are some simple skincare routine tips on what you can do or should avoid.
Skincare Routine DOs:
Stick to a regular routine
You’re already dealing with stress and uncertainty, no need to give your skin whiplash too by changing your skincare routine or trying new products every few days.
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Keep to a streamlined routine of cleanse, tone and moisturise, plus a serum to treat a specific concern if necessary. If you are introducing new items or skincare routines, do so one at a time and wait a week or two in between.
Stress can also cause conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis to flare up, so keeping to familiar skincare will help minimise potential reactions.
Use a mild cleanser
A good, thorough cleanse means removing the day’s makeup, dirt and gunk, not the moisture and natural oils skin needs to function well. How do you tell? Well, that squeaky clean feel is a dead giveaway, as well as skin tautness or mild itching.
Dr Low Chai Ling, medical director of SW1 Clinic, says: “Nowadays, the consensus is that we should be using the mildest cleansing products that do not over-dry our skin. More frequent cleansing with mild products that do not disrupt the skin’s natural pH and barrier is key to healthy clear skin.”
Continue to wear sunscreen
Many people think they can skimp on sunscreen when at home. Not. True.
You can still be exposed to UV rays while indoors. This is especially so if your work table is situated near the windows.
Also, keep in mind: although standard glass windows block out UVB rays, UVA rays (which penetrate deeper into skin and is a bigger cause of photo-ageing) can still pass through.
Some sunscreens now even offer protection against blue light emitted by gadget and computer screens which is believed to contribute to free radical damage and inflammation in skin.
Apply a skin protectant to prevent mask chafing
The friction and rubbing from facial masks, particularly behind the ears and around the jawline, can lead to skin irritation and micro injuries.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a good way to soothe raw, chapped skin and prevent abrasion is to apply a thin layer of zinc oxide over the affected areas.
Hey, there’s a reason why zinc oxide is commonly used in diaper rash creams.
Overload your skin
Take this period as a chance to let skin recharge and breathe.
With more time at home on our hands, it might be tempting to indulge in home facials every day or try out the (in)famous Korean 10-step skincare routine. But slapping on more products or intensive treatments often doesn’t always mean better results. In fact, you could wind up over-treating your skin, thereby triggering sensitivity.
And for those who have to be out and about most of the day, it’s not a good idea to layer too many products under your face mask which is already trapping heat and moisture. Bottomline: higher chance of zits and irritation.
Use overly rich products
Although dry, fragile skin may need thicker creams with stronger moisturising and soothing properties, as a general rule it’s better for those with normal, combination and oily skin to opt for products with lightweight textures.
The Mayo Clinic’s tip: choose products labelled “non-comedogenic” as that means they won’t clog pores; avoid those containing petrolatum, commonly used in heavy-duty creams and ointments.
Be too zealous with exfoliating
You may feel your skin looks dull from staying in all the time, but don’t over-strip skin with abrasive facial scrubs or strong chemical peels, especially it’s already dry or sensitive.
Look for gentle scrubs with fine, non-abrasive beads that won’t scratch skin, such as Fresh Sugar Face Polish ($95). Or if you want to try a home chemical peel, opt for one with moisturising and soothing ingredients that help to rebalance skin like Skin Inc Pure Revival Peel ($76).