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In the words of the iconic Jo Frost, Supernanny: “You guys are in a crisis, I’m on my way.”
Dear reader, you might be asking yourself why I’m referring to the broadcasting powerhouse Jo Frost in a beauty article?
The whole world is living through a really strange and stressful moment in time. We all know that stress is one of, if not, the first external factors that have a detrimental, negative impact on the state of your skin. Put quite simply, if your skin is anything like mine, quarantine will be putting it into crisis mode right now. (d’you see what I did there?)
That is why I’ve decided to create a guide of what you could be doing both pamper your skin and look after yourself in these strange times through which we’re living.
At the moment, I think it’s really important to use anything that you can to find an escape from the outside world, to just relax. So, in this article, I will be sharing some tips not only for your skin but also in a broader sense of how you might want to practice selfcare using your skincare!
There are two approaches that you could have, taking advantage of this situation in a way best suited to your needs. Either through pampering and maintaining what you’ve already been doing for your skin during normal times (the approach I’m taking) or you could just go ham on the much more aggressive active ingredients such as retinol like I’ve seen a number of ‘skincare freaks’ doing online. The latter basically re-builds your face from the ground up, ready for a sparkling debut for when we wake up from this nightmare where we’re currently finding ourselves. To sum up, both approaches should leave you with skin that looks like you’ve just come back from a 12 week, luxury holiday rather than 12 weeks in isolation with (in my case) family members driving each other up the walls.
As I said, I’m taking the “maintain your routine” approach with a simple ‘cleanse acid hydrate and moisturise’ approach, adding in hydrating masques like Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Cream Mask (£5.72 for 4x10ml) or GLAMGLOW’s ThirstyMud (£44 for 50g) overnight, a couple of times a week to keep my skin looking plump, glowy and bouncy.
I’ve taken to the line of thinking that as I’m not leaving the house, it’s quite frankly a waste of my make up to be applying it every day, just for lying around the house and taking my government-mandated hour of exercise! I’m sure my skin has been thanking me for this as it isn’t having to endure my ‘clean’ makeup brushes every day.
(Maybe I should give my brushes a proper wash as I’ve got all the time in the world at the moment – nah, don’t be silly Noah!)
Now, if you’re anything like me, during this lockdown I’ve been a bit worse than I usually would and, of course, we all know that when you eat foods with higher sugar and dairy content, you’re defiantly not doing your skin any favours. So, to counteract the Dairy Milk-induced breakouts, I’ve been adding in a regular clay mask – Simple’s Detox & Brighten Clay Mask (£4.99 for 50ml) – and a stronger acid peel – The Ordinary’s 30% AHA + 2% BHA Peeling Solution (£6.60 for 30ml).
The other approach that I’ve seen some people is to use prescription-strength retinol. I feel as if I must warn you that retinol isn’t always pleasant to use in the moment, but quite frankly you’re not going to be around anyone to get embarrassed about flaky skin – retinol is all about the end result!
There are services, such as Dermatica, who offer custom blends of treatments, personalised to your needs. You might have seen a similar service advertised by your favourite influences called Curology however, it’s only available in the States.
Dermatica’s process is really simple, you fill in a short questionnaire about your skin concerns and goals, and some medical history – it is, after all, a prescription product. You then upload three pictures of your face and then have an email consultation with one of their dermatologists so that they can prescribe you a unique blend of superpowered active ingredients. Dermatica uses a subscription method, costing £19.99 (+ shipping) for a 28-day supply.
I mentioned earlier about using skincare as selfcare. At the moment, looking after your mental wellbeing is nearly as important as looking after your physical health. 24-hour news cycles perpetuate anxiety and repeat the same, often scary, information for hours on end. I’ve been avoiding TV news altogether and only watching the daily press conferences if I’m feeling up to it.
For me, skincare is a form of escapism from the outside world. I know that this might come across as frivolous but I find that giving myself 15 minutes in the morning and half an hour in the evening to sit down, with some calm music on, my phone off, and nothing but my lotions and potions to focus on is a huge help during life as usual but, during these backwards times, I’m finding escapism to be vital, in whatever form it can take.
If you’re feeling slightly dubious towards my approach, don’t just take my word. You might have seen that our VP Campaigns and Communications, Lewis Marriott has taken this approach as a part of his “Don’t Lose Your Cool” campaign’s selfcare calendar and has been keeping us updated through the Lancaster University Corona Community Facebook Group. This group was set up by the LUSU FTO’s to give students a platform to keep spirits high during these difficult times. On day 15 of the aforementioned calendar, Lewis’ activity was to ‘Do a facemask’, and that he did!
If Lewis and I both keep ourselves calm with skincare, why don’t you give it a try and let us know if it works for you?
Before I sign off, I want to highlight the charity Beauty Banks who “exist to make ‘hygiene poverty’ history while supporting those living in poverty in the UK – those who can’t afford to be clean – with personal care and hygiene essentials.” They’ve just launched an amazing campaign to support the NHS (find out more about it here and here), alongside their usual, fantastic work, supplying vital hygiene products to those in poverty.
Stay safe, stay sane, and practice selfcare.
*all prices correct at time of writing