Do you have ‘isolation skin’? This is why your skin might not be looking so great during lockdown

isolation skin

As the country continues to stay home due to the coronavirus outbreak, isolation seems to be having a not-so-great impact on our skin.

It was one of the few silver linings of being confined to the house - surely wearing less make up and being less exposed to pollution during the daily commute would do wonders for our skin?

Cue the surprise when many women started reporting breakouts and generally having worse skin than usual. But why is our skin not enjoying self-isolation?

Why is your skin acting up during lockdown?

Dr Nathalie Broussard, Scientific Communication Director at Shiseido - one of the oldest cosmetics companies in the world - has revealed that a study done back in 2018 might hold the answer and it’s all to do with stress.

This stress was measured in a 2018 study carried out by the JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) along with Shiseido.

They monitored 23 people who were quarantined for 15 days and found that stress and anxiety were at higher levels than usual.

This had visible effects on the participants’ skin, including decreased barrier function, increased sebum production and an increased inflammation factor. So that explains the shiny foreheads…

Consequently, the skin had trouble retaining moisture and thus became dehydrated. It was more fragile, making it extra sensitive to excess sebum which tends to oxidise.

How to make your skin glow again during lockdown

Good news is we also have extra time on our hands to add a few extra steps to your beauty routine and keep your skin in check. Dr Nathalie has given us a few tips on how to make sure you give your skin its healthy glow back in no time...

Keep up with your cleansing

If you think your skin is safe from pollutants at home, think again. While it’s safe from the urban kind, you still have to worry about indoor pollutants.

This is especially true if you're doing a lot of cooking (and what else is there to do?), as time spent in the kitchen exposes the skin to volatile particles, which oxidise tissue and increase the skin’s level of inflammation.

Two Chinese studies even showed that certain particles coming from the kitchen increased signs of ageing in the skin, specifically wrinkles and dark spots. So despite not leaving the house all day, it's still vital to thoroughly eliminate all of these particles and other harmful impurities.

How to fix this: Make sure you continue to cleanse your skin as you would after a day spent outside. Start with a gentle cleanser like Age Defy+'s (below), followed by Shiseido's WASO Beauty Smart Water - the 3-in-1 that cleanses, hydrates and primes skin. Make sure you exfoliate twice a week - we love Elizabeth Arden's Exfoliating Cleanser.

SHOP NOW: Shiseido WASO Beauty Smart Water, £30, Asos

SHOP NOW: Age Defy+ Purify & Hydrate Cream Cleanser, £29, Green People

SHOP NOW: Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Skin Balancing Exfoliating Cleanser, £18, lookfantastic

Stimulate microcirculation

Your skin is probably missing fresh air, which is making it hard for it to stay oxygenated and radiant. Lack of exercise (if you haven’t been convinced by the many online workouts available) could also be slowing down microcirculation.

This causes cells to lack nutrients and their function slows down. Lymphatic drainage is also affected and as days go by, the skin becomes dull, pale, and increasingly fragile.

How to fix: Take more time to massage products into your skin. For extra help, run your hands under cold water to chill them and stimulate the skin even more.

You can also also a product containing Shiseido's Reneura Technology like their Vital Perfection Day Cream, which reactivates intercellular communication, and brings back the rosy tone to your skin in just a few days.

SHOP NOW: Shiseido Vital Perfection Uplifting and Firming Day Cream SPF 30, £100, John Lewis

Control your heating

Finally, your heating could also be one of the culprits making your skin more dehydrated than usual.

Shiseido Research showed that an excessively warm environment damaged the skin’s defence system, whereas cool surroundings promoted optimal cellular proliferation.

How to fix: Temperatures over 20°C could inhibit cellular regeneration, so make sure you keep your environment cool, especially in your bedroom.

Mariana Cerqueira

Mariana is the managing editor of woman&home. She has previously worked for lifestyle titles including GoodtoKnow covering all aspects of women’s lifestyle - from the Royal Family, beauty and fashion to wellness and travel. She was nominated for AOP Digital Journalist of the Year in 2020, and for New Digital Talent of the Year at the 2016 PPA Digital Awards. She’s mildly obsessed with TV (reality TV shows included) and spends far too much time planning her next trip away.