Isolation skin is, unfortunately, something we’re hearing more and more of you are experiencing. We are often quick to assume our skincare has stopped working and that is what’s causing the sudden change in our skin when in actual fact, it is a far deeper issue than what we slap on morning and night. This is why you may have noticed a significant change for the worse within days on the same skincare you have been using for months!
So let’s break this down – how do I know if I have #ISOSTRESSED skin? Iso skin will present in the following ways – you may experience one symptom or mixture of a few:
- Red and irritated skin
- Flaky skin
- Dry and dull skin
- Inflamed skin with breakouts
- A flare of perioral dermatitis or eczema
So, what is actually causing it?
Where do we start?! This will be different for everyone, as each of us is responding in our own unique way to the current COVID-19 situation. Each person and their individual skin should be treated differently and therefore a Skin Health Consultation conducted by a skin treatment therapist is required to delve deeper into your personal environment to uncover what may be your cause.
We’ve identified a few common causes, which include:
A sluggish lymphatic system: If you are moving less, exercising less and drinking less water during this isolation period, this places strain on your lymphatic system. Your lymphatic system is an intricate network of tissue made up of lymph nodes and vessels placed just below our skin. This system is required for the body to properly cleanse, detoxify and maintain body fluid levels. It plays a huge role in expelling toxins, so if it is not functioning properly, your skin may suffer from inflamed acne & breakouts, a dull and lacklustre appearance and/or flaky skin with clear signs of trans-epidermal water loss.
Stress: There is no doubt that stress is one of the leading causes of many skin conditions. Stress impacts the entire body and is something that most of us live with every single day. Stress can lead to chronic anxiety and depression, with many people going undiagnosed. Our gut is usually where we can feel stress and the skin where we see it; the skin is highly influenced by gut health and function. COVID-19 has definitely seen a huge spike in our stress levels, as we try to do our best to navigate our way through uncertain times with little light at the end of the tunnel. Stress slows down digestion, which creates a shift in bacteria that can compromise the integrity of your gut lining. This can cause inflammation throughout the body and lead to flare-ups in acne, perioral dermatitis, eczema and general redness & flushing. Stress will also lead to poor choices in food as a way to deal. High sugar and simple complex carbs can add to the stress placed on the gut and therefore affect the skin too.
No UV exposure: Healthy UV exposure contributes to a healthy skin microbiome, as well as playing a crucial role in immune function, Vitamin D production, hormone regulation and increased mood. There is no doubt that a little sunlight is good for you! Isolation results in very low UV exposure, impairing our immune system and healing, messing with the regulation of our hormones and throwing out the skin’s natural microbiome ecosystem and activity. Quite often we can experience a slow healing skin and a decreased skin barrier defence, all contributing to some common skin conditions. Sunlight promotes the release of serotonin, helping us to feel happier and less stressed!
Your skincare prescription is outdated: Our working and socialising climate has not only changed due to COVID-19, but we have also experienced a change in season. Summer to Autumn means a drop in air humidity that causes our skin to rapidly lose water (trans-epidermal water loss) resulting in our skin feeling and looking congested, tight, lipid dry and dehydrated. This can leave our skin barrier defence system open and permeable for foreign substances to enter through causing inflammation and the odd breakout.
So, how do you stop your skin from freaking out?
Movement and self-massage: Your lymphatic system relies on your physical movement to keep it working. Getting outside and walking where possible, regular exercise and consuming 2.5-3L of water per day is a great way to support detoxification through the tissues. Another great way to target the lymphatic system on the face is to massage a dermaviduals oil or your Bespoke Serum into your skin using a jade roller or a guasha stone.
Acknowledging your stress: When you feel your heart begin to race, your breath becoming shallow and your mind beginning to scramble, take 10 deep belly breaths. Belly breathing activates our parasympathetic nervous system, enabling our cortisol to drop, opening up the path to relaxation. Taking 10 minutes out of your day to listen to a guided meditation will give your body and mind a chance to calm and reconnect. Also, reduce coffee intake where possible as this can contribute to an increase in cortisol, not what we want when we are already stressed!
Nourish your body: The iso diet is not doing us any favours! Reaching for snacks packed full of refined sugar during stressful times will do more harm than the short-lived good feeling it gives us. Our gut microbiome thrives in an alkaline environment, so keeping full consuming a diet rich in essential fatty acids, natural sugar (in moderation) and leafy greens is vital. If you need a sugar fix, why not whip up a batch of raw protein balls and snack on these throughout your workweek?
Get outside: If you are working from home, step outside for 10 mins in the morning, on your lunch and after work to soak up a healthy dose of Vitamin D. Your skin and mood with love you for it!
Chat to your skin treatment therapist about your skincare: Your skincare should be formulated to help meet its unique requirements for your skin but also assist in protecting it from harsh heating & artificial air that many of us are exposed to during isolation. Ask your skin health therapist to assess your current prescription to ensure its suitable for you right now and if needed, make necessary changes.
How’s your skin coping through iso? Do you have any skin questions? Let us know in the comments to chat with a Corneotherapy expert!