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Exiting the Lockdown - Dr. Anita Stunharm advises how to protect our skin

During the lockdown period many of us have had our routines turned upside down. The change in environment and additional life stressors have sent many people's skin into mayhem. Throw into the mix having to wear a mask, the close contact to our skin, combined with a warm moist environment between the surfaces, creates an opportunity for the skin to become inflamed and irritated, leading to  breakouts in an atypical mask distribution. A condition which has been given the name 'Maskne'.  As we come out of lockdown, we will be faced with a new form of stress, having to adapt to our old routines again. We may have to wake up earlier, commute to work and be exposed to different lifestyle factors that may take some months to adjust to. Mask-wearing is likely to become a permanent part of our day to day lives and seeing people face to face again may prompt us to start wearing more makeup again. The combination of pore-clogging makeup and occlusive masks doesn’t bode well for our skin. 

So how can we prepare our skin?

Prevention is always better than cure. Firstly, take a look at the triggers. Changing your mask regularly, choosing a fabric that has a soft surface against the skin which can be washed regularly and avoiding wearing makeup under the mask, can all help. It is also worth adding in a fruit acid based exfoliating cleanser at night, using ingredients such as Lactic acid, Salicylic acid and detoxifying clays, to clarify and reduce pore congestion.  Another important strategy is to ensure that you avoid products that strip the skin of its important lipid barriers. As these weaken, our skin loses its ability to hold on to moisture and we lose water more readily, through transepidermal moisture loss. This, in turn, can increase sebum production, as the skin attempts to increase its natural hydration levels. You should avoid double cleansing, alcohol-based toners and fruit acid serums. Look for products rich in hydrating ingredients such as glycerin, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, squalane and fatty acids.

Self care is the key to nourished skin and soul

Many of my patients tell me that they feel anxious about coming out of lockdown, particularly after being unable to access their regular beauty treatments. I advise dedicating some time for self care to help you to get your skin goals back on track.  Once a week create a spa-like environment at home. Run a bath, dim the lights, light a candle and do a salon style facial. Start with a gentle cream cleanser, rich in ingredients such as Rosewater and Glycerin.

FOREO helps your skin stay clean and radiant

To take your cleanse to the next level, I love using the LUNA device from FOREO. I use it to boost blood flow to the skin and to enhance lymph drainage at the same time as cleansing for a really efficient cleanse. LUNA 3 Rinse your cleanser away and use a water based toner to rebalance your skin’s PH and hydrate your skin barriers. Next, use a detoxifying mask. I love using fruit acids and enzymes such as Lactic and Pyruvic acid, combined with Pineapple enzymes. This mask step will provide a deep and superficial exfoliation, helping to reduce pore congestion and regulate oil control. Follow with a hydrating and radiance boosting product. I love using the Foreo Youth Junkie mask, which is packed full of conditioning plant-based ingredients such as Vitamin E, Shea butter, Jojoba and Olive extract. I apply this mask with the UFO 2, which was one of my favourite discoveries during lockdown. Not only does it feel great to use but the cleverly designed LED and T-sonic™ functions help to improve product absorption and instantly boost skin radiance. Follow with a light emollient and humectant rich moisturiser. Look for ingredients such as Ceramides, Hyaluronic acid and Glycerin. 

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