Lockdown Skin Is Real—And Here’s How To Deal

By Amorfia Team,

The good news: It’s not all bad.

With all the drastic changes in our lives and routines, it’s not surprising that our skin’s feeling the changes, too. While for some, the absence of pollution or sun exposure is making their complexions thrive, there are others who are experiencing the total opposite with more flare-ups, increased sensitivity, dullness, and more.

If you’re part of the latter group, don’t fret. These changes are totally normal, and can be attributed to a number of factors, including increased levels of anxiety, sudden lifestyle and routine changes, and even the lack of sunshine.

Here, we talked to three girls who shared about the skin changes they experienced while quarantined, and sought the help of a skin care expert to help us understand them better.

The Change: From Normal To Super Sensitive

Ishi, 29

Tell us about your skin pre-lockdown.
“I have combination skin but my skin’s generally clear. I just usually get problems with texture, [like] small bumps occasionally.”

How is your skin now?
“Now, it is so sensitive. When I scratch an area, it gets red and blotchy and I have to put soothing cream overnight to make it go away. I also get more pimples now especially when I touch a certain part of my face. In other words, my skin is very reactive at the moment!”

Any changes in your routine?
“Not really… but I’d miss out on skin care on some days because my mind would be preoccupied. I think it’s because I’m more stressed and anxious right now. I have always been used to a fast-paced lifestyle and now I mostly just stay at home. I have been snacking a lot, too.”

The skin change, explained:
Fast fact: Stress can definitely cause a chemical response in the body and make your skin more sensitive and reactive. Moreover, “Some people really are more prone to react to certain chemicals, or even a change in the temperature in the environment,” explains Dr. Kaycee Reyes-Bacani, a top dermatologist and beauty and wellness expert. This can be attributed to the mutation of the protein that’s responsible for the skin barrier function.

“Since we’re just at home, we often forget to apply emollients (or products that restore the epidermal barrier function of the skin),” says Dr. Reyes-Bacani. On top of that, we tend to touch our faces more often during the hot weather, and skip wearing sunblock, which blocks both UVA and UVB rays. “Skin reacts to blue light from devices, too.”

Apart from trying to manage your stress (we know, it’s hard!), you can control skin’s sensitivity by being diligent with applying moisturizer to boost your skin barrier and by using sunblock even if you’re just at home. Avoid touching your face, too, and wash thoroughly at least twice a day with a gentle cleanser. P.S. It also helps to sanitize your cellphone on the reg.

Check out these skin savers:

The Change: From Tired To Healthier-Looking (but with occasional breakouts)

Joyce, 32

Tell us about your skin pre-lockdown.
“My skin is generally okay, but I noticed that when I hit my 30s, I started to experience breakouts. Sleepless nights, caffeine, and my fast food diet made my skin look super tired, dull, and slight acne-prone. I never got pimples when I was in high school and college, and that’s why it’s hard when all of a sudden your skin acts up. I don’t get a lot of pimples, but when I do they come in pairs and are quite big. I have fair skin, so it takes a lot of time for them to lighten up.”

How is your skin now?
“I’ve been working from home since mid-March, and I’ll say my skin is a little better now. Well, I have three period pimples, haha, but they’re not so bad. I also haven’t worn heavy makeup. I noticed an improvement the past few weeks. It’s not as dull and stressed-looking. There’s even a slight glow sometimes.”

Any changes to your routine?
“I limited my skin care routine to just the basics: double-cleanse, toner, moisturizer, and once-a-week clay mask. Sometimes, I’ll put on a sheet mask or sleeping mask. I realized that my skin is okay with just these. The masks helped a lot, and the vitamin C capsules, I think?“

“Aside from going makeup-free, I also had a change in diet—more home-cooked meals—and more water than coffee. In terms of sleep, I can’t say that I’ve been getting enough because [of our current situation].”

The skin change, explained:
Breakouts can be triggered by a lot of things, including “dirt from cellphone and other devices touching the face, as well as excess sweat and oil that clog the pores,” says Dr. Reyes-Bacani. Stress is a given, but when combined with hormonal changes—like when you’re about to have your period—can lead to the worsening of your pimple situation. (Hello, huge zits!)

Dr. Reyes-Bacani advises against eating too much sugary or carbo-laden food as well as excessive dairy, as these can only contribute to your acne flare-ups.

Check out these skin savers:

The Change: From Acne-Prone To Clear and Glowing

Sassa, 28

Tell us about your skin pre-lockdown.
“Before the lockdown, my nose had a lot of blackheads and whiteheads. I would get pimples on my cheeks from time to time. Whenever I would go out, I had to blot my face every three to five hours. My skin is prone to redness. Actually, my skin hasn’t been great ever since. I really had bad acne when I was in college. I had this bad habit of popping them, so I have some acne scars now.”

How’s your skin now?
“I can say that this quarantine made my skin way better! My skin became clearer and glowing, with less whiteheads and blackheads. During this ECQ, I think I’ve only gotten three pimples. I still have acne scars, but the marks lightened.”

“My current skin issue now is my dark circles under my eyes. I tend to sleep late, so it became worse. I drink more water to keep my skin hydrated. Also, I use an eye cream to lighten the dark circles.”

Any changes in your routine?
“I guess just staying in the house allowed my skin to breathe from makeup and pollution. I have more time to work out, so the toxins from my body gets released. Eating healthier also did wonders.” 

“Since I don’t get pimples that often, I removed my acne treatment and have just been using my go-to skin-cleansing gadget more religiously since I can’t go to the derma and have a facial. “

The skin change, explained:
The lack of environmental stressors and external irritants, including makeup, can help improve skin by allowing it to breathe and recuperate, especially if you have oily or combination skin. Religious cleansing and exfoliation also unclogs pores, minimizing your risk for breakouts.

Dr. Reyes-Bacani also goes on to say that skin dullness or lack of glow is usually due to the “lack of exfoliation.” That said, you may want to add scrubs, clay masks, gentle acids (AHAs and BHAs), and peels to your routine, as these not only exfoliate; they can also help treat and prevent recurring acne.

Check out these skin savers:

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The Amorfia Team