Covid-19 and the national lockdown has had a lasting effect on many aspects of human behaviour, one of the least expected being a noticeable change in common skincare habits. These actions are not a direct result of the pandemic, but rather the impact that lockdown has had on our routines.
“We have seen a real change in people’s skincare habits over the past year,” explains Dr Alek Nikolic, renowned specialist in Aesthetic Medicine and Executive Director of high-end online skincare store, SkinMiles. “Less exercise due to being in lockdown; general anxiety and less sleep; binge eating and drinking; and staring at screens for longer (and ourselves on screens) have all led to changes in how our skin behaves. We have seen a real change in the kind of problems that people are trying to treat and the products that they are searching for as a result,” he continues.
If you’ve noticed changes in your skin as well as in your skincare routine, you are not alone! Let’s take a look at the most common pandemic and lockdown-induced skin problems and concerns, as well as how to treat them. Plus, for those struggling with the same concern, I’ve included a few tried and tested products from the WomenStuff beauty desk to help you tackle the problem head-on!
The dreaded face mask-induced acne. This type of breakout is becoming all too common with frequent mask wearers. As the name suggests, this term refers to acne or blemishes that appear as a result of wearing a face mask. It is caused by the trapping of high moisture content and bacteria on the skin, resulting in a disruption of the all-important skin barrier.
“Over the last couple of months, I have seen so many clients suffering from this issue, and searches for remedies for acne and breakouts have soared,” says Dr Alek Nikolic. “One way to successfully prevent maskne is to use a moisturiser that contains ceramides and hyaluronic acid. Another option is to invest in a face mist, which will instantly hydrate and protect the skin.”
Sufferers from maskne should not be too concerned, however, says Dr Nikolic. “The problem is largely topical, can be managed generally with a good cleansing routine, and will go away when masks are used less again.”
Tried & tested: Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Miracle Hydrating Mist
If you’re after a great hydrating mist, then look no further than this beauty from Elizabeth Arden. The legend of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream continues with this fantastic hydrating mist. This instantly invigorating facial spray hydrates, soothes, and refreshes the skin with just one spritz. The power of this super moisturising mist lies in its antioxidant-rich Superfruit Blend which includes delights like acai, goji, mangosteen, noni and pomegranate fruit extract along with coffee seed.
This blend of good-for-you ingredients helps to provide protection from the elements, while the addition of apple leaf extract offers soothing relief to irritated skin when you need it most. The super-fine mist is brilliant for spraying throughout the day. It won’t mess with your makeup but will still give you plenty of moisture when you need it most.
Tried & tested: Copper Fresh masks
If maskne persists, and you’re struggling with constant breakouts, then it might to time to switch to a different type of mask. Copper Fresh smart masks may be just what you’re looking for. The secret behind these self-cleaning masks is the same reason they sport a pink hue, and it’s all thanks to the copper component. Working around the clock to ward off and de-activate viruses, disease and bacteria, the copper in these masks is said to help kill 99.9% of pathogens in 5 minutes.
Plus, Copper Fresh boasts potent anti-microbial efficiency with no washing required. Copper Fresh says a single Copper-Oxide Mask usage replaces dozens of regular masks, further reducing expenses and preventing environmental pollution! These pretty pink masks not only offer you better breathability and daily comfort during usage, but the copper component of each mask ensures the mask stays cleaner for longer, avoiding the breeding ground of bacteria which can lead to maskne and breakouts.
The masks are available in a 5-pack (R150) and 10-pack (R290). Visit the Copper Fresh website to find out more about the skin benefits of these smart masks, as well as the research behind them, and order yours now!
2. ZOOM-INDUCED CONSULTATIONS
During the lockdown, the general population spent a lot of time staring at themselves over a computer screen or in video calls. It comes as no surprise therefore that this activity has resulted in many people being more critical of their appearance and are starting to seek out ways to address these perceived concerns for the first time.
There have been two main concerns queries which have skyrocketed as a result, the first being that people have noticed their frown, especially when focusing or concentrating, and feel it makes them look angry. According to Dr Nikolic, “The best approach to this problem is Botox, however, some people may need filler too, especially if lines are deep and have been visible for a number of years.”
The second concern is a drawn appearance caused by laxity and visible jowls, which is typically caused by looking down towards the screen. “The most effective solution is dermal fillers, which will return volume to the drawn tired-looking areas and help lift structures in the face, including the jowls,” he continues.
However, not everyone wants to invest in injectables, so there are some amazing products that can also be used which can lighten, brighten and tighten the skin, giving a younger and more youthful appearance.
Tried & tested: Environ Focus Care Youth+ Seriénce Night Serum
This first-of-its-kind new product is specifically formulated to target the long-term effects of stress on the skin to reveal serene, luminous and youthful-looking skin. The advanced overnight booster is formulated with Malachite-Neuropeptide Complex, which Environ says is scientifically proven to assist in destressing and relaxing the skin on a cellular level for a revitalised and youthful appearance.
The results-driven serum is made using a combination of Malachite Extract, Neurophroline, Argireline Amplified, and Matrixyl Morphomics. Malachite Extract offers potent antioxidant benefits to help boost skin cell immunity and defence against environmental stressors while the calming neuropeptide, Neurophroline works to target dullness and boost luminosity, thereby counteracting the negative effects of stress hormones in the skin.
Argireline Amplified, the all-in-one peptide, targets the effects of fatigue and post expression muscle relaxation to visibly smooth and improve the signs of lines and wrinkles for a beautifully relaxed, serene-looking appearance. Lastly,, Matrixyl Morphomics helps to smooth the appearance of frown lines, marionette lines, nasolabial folds and crow’s feet by assisting to re-establish vital skin connections and rebuild an optimally functioning network.
The Environ Focus Care Youth+ Seriénce Night Serum is available in salons at a RRSP of R995 (30ml).
3. MASKS & LIP FILLERS
Lip dermal fillers have become increasingly more popular over the last year as well. This is as a result of people being more concerned about their visual appearance, but also because a mask provides a good way to hide side effects while recovering from the procedure. This treatment tends to cause visible swelling, which can lead to bruising and may last for a few days.
Again, there are always non-surgical alternatives. In order to plump up your lips, Dr Nikolic suggests trying Image Ormedic CFS sheer pink lip enhancement complex and Catrice Better Than Fake Lips Plumping Lip Primer.
When it comes to any aesthetic medicine, everyone should seek advice from industry professionals, such as a skincare therapist, an aesthetic medical doctor or a cosmetic dermatologist, before committing to any decisions.
There are also online consultation options available, including live chats and assessments which provide helpful advice and information. SkinMiles offers bespoke advice through the free Face2Face Assessment. Simply fill in a few questions and attach a photograph of your face, to receive a recommended personal skin product regime from Dr Alek Nikolic himself.
After years of working as an Editor and writer for popular websites like Joburg’s Darling, Cape Town’s Darling and Joburg.co.za, Crystal left her sanity and an established career in lifestyle journalism behind to follow her dream of creating a website for the intellectual and discerning woman. Today she spends her time chasing the thrill of being the first to know about ‘the next big thing’. She’ll try anything once and has been known to put her body, hair and health on the line – all in the name of research.