The one thing you should do to pandemic-proof your skin

You're just one step away from happy skin.

A beautiful young woman looking in the mirror and touching lips
(Image credit: Anna Efetova/Getty Images)

Face coverings, stress, heating, cold weather and Zoom overload - our skin is going through the wars right now. So it's no wonder that the 'skin barrier' has become the buzziest beauty term of 2021. Ergo strengthening it is the single most important thing you can do to pandemic-proof your skin.

Experts agree that stress is probably the single biggest threat to a happy, well-balanced complexion right now. 

The ‘stress’ hormone cortisol can "weaken the skin barrier and cause water to leak out of cells, dehydrating the skin and causing dullness, fine lines and sensitive skin,” explains Dr Howard Murad, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Murad Skincare. 

More from woman&home:

To combat this, products containing ceramides, macadamia oil and niacinamide are your best option. Ceramides may not be sexy, but if you imagine skin cells as the bricks, ceramides are the mortar in between, sealing in moisture. Lumene’s new Arctic Hydra Moisture & Relief Rich Night Balm contains a blend of soothing Nordic seed oils with ceramides to bolster the skin barrier.

The hero benefits of niacinamide are that it is both an anti-inflammatory and strengthens the skin barrier by shuttling water back in. The Ordinary 100%  Niacinamide Powder remains the gold standard. And macadamia oil earns its place in the line up because it's a rich source of omega 7.

Dr Murad has also identified a lesser-known ingredient for swift relief: mirabilis jalapa plant extract. A star player in his new Intense Recovery Cream, it stops inflammatory signals from being sent via the nerve endings to the skin that trigger redness.

Ideal for days when your skin is in need of a little something extra.

Fiona Embleton is a beauty writer who is now Acting Beauty Editor at Stylist. She is obsessed with Isabel Marant and cats.