Your handy guide to self-isolation skincare


You’ve mastered a whole new meal plan (hello, 7pm martini for one) and sussed your conference-call wardrobe (professional on top, PJs on the bottom, always), but what about your skincare routine?

While no makeup and a 30-second bed-to-desk commute sounds like the recipe for flawless skin, working from home can come with a whole new set of complexion conundrums.

Whether you’ve encountered a crop of self-isolation-induced spots or a face that’s drier than a Friday night on lockdown, freelance beauty editor and deputy project editor of DARE Specials Amber Ascroft has you covered…

Keep up the cleansing

When you’re clocking up just 38 steps on a good day, it’s easy to think a quick splash of water will suffice when it comes to washing your face. But all that blemish-causing oil and grime – not to mention any makeup or moisturiser you’ve slapped on – still needs banishing. Skip the wipes – they won’t do the trick – and give yourself a proper cleanse using a warm, damp flannel. Need extra de-stressing? Opt for a balm or oil formula, giving yourself a two-minute massage as you work it in, focusing on the jawline and temples, where you’re likely to be holding tension.

Don’t skip sunscreen (yes, really!)

Been indulging in a spot of sofa sunbathing? While the rays responsible for sunburn (UVB) can’t penetrate glass, those that reach deeper (UVA), causing wrinkles, sagging and pigmentation, certainly can. Whether you’re off for a lunch-break walk or eating ‘al desko’ by the window, broad-spectrum facial sunscreen should still be a part of your daily ritual.

Apply it after the rest of your skincare, but before makeup – and nope, the SPF in your foundation just won’t cut it. Experts agree you’d have to pile on a shedload more makeup to achieve the sun shield usually specified on the label (plus, most of these only protect against UVB rays, not the UVA form).

Blitz the new breakouts

If waking up to a bevy of fresh spots each morning is your new normal, you’re not alone. Anxiety, a change in diet, poor sleeping habits and less exercise can all impact your complexion, so it’s no surprise many of us are facing pandemic-driven skin woes. Make a beeline for products containing salicylic acid, which will tackle clogged pores deep down.

And if you’ve been plagued by a horde of spots along your jawline or on your back? A build-up of oil on your favourite hoodie or PJs could be the culprit. Now’s also a good time to clean your pillows, pillowcases, phone screen and makeup brushes, too. All can harbour spot-causing bacteria. For the latter, simply swirl in baby shampoo or washing up liquid, rinse in warm water, then repeat until it runs clear. Mop off excess water with a clean towel and leave to air dry overnight.

Sort the dryness

Hand washing taking its toll? While many body lotions can help quench thirsty mitts, targeted hand creams tend to contain three types of ingredients, making them particularly effective. Humectants, such as glycerin and urea, attract water molecules like a magnet; occlusives, such as beeswax, create a protective film to seal moisture in, while emollients, like shea butter, soften the skin.

It’s not just your hands that might be taking a beating. Central heating can zap your complexion of moisture, too. Combat it by applying a serum containing hyaluronic acid (another form of humectant) before your moisturiser or sunscreen.

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