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Don't quite understand what your skin has been doing these last few months? You're certainly not the only one! The professionals at Harley Street Skin explain all about the pesky symptoms of the 'Indoor Skin Effect'...

Decoding 7 Common Lockdown Symptoms

You may have noticed that, recently, your skin has been acting a little differently.

Whether it's all of a sudden generating too much moisture or simply not enough, you've definitely spotted that something is afoot.

Well - you might be surprised to hear that over the weeks that the nation has been confined to their homes, we've had more calls than ever about patients experiencing unpredictable skin.

That's why we've put together a rundown on 7 of the most common symptoms of what we - at the clinic - have taken to calling the 'Indoor Skin Effect' ( a little advice from the experts on how to improve it from home!)

Let's get started, shall we?

The Indoor Skin Effect
1. "My Face is So Dry"

'People forget that skin is hypersensitive to environment,' explains Harley Street Skin Co-founder, Lesley Reynolds.

'When you've gone from travelling into work, in and out of various temperature-controlled environments, to staying put for weeks on end - our skin feels the impact of this.'

'Things like central heating and air-conditioning extract moisture from our skin very quickly. We should be looking to replenish dry faces with products that contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid - ones that lock moisture in for longer.'

On the flip side, if you've been out in the garden more than usual, without adequate SPF, you might also experience dryness.

'Your skin may start to feel tight and a bit itchy, even if it's not visibly flaking," reminds Lesley.

'Think of applying SPF a bit like brushing your teeth - something to be performed as daily maintenance. It's vital we wear it come rain or shine. The consistent habit will help you regulate moisture.'

Liberally Apply SPF

2. "I'm Breaking Out"

Being cooped up indoors can make one day begin to blur into the next.

As a result - it's very easy to let your normal routines start to slip. 'This can very easily lead to pimples and blemishes,' explains Lesley.

Whether it's occasionally falling asleep with your makeup on, dropping down to just a morning skincare regime - or even missing out moisturising altogether a few days a week - our skin is hypersensitive to breaks in routine, too. 'Try to keep a consistent regime in place. This should help prevent any drastic breakouts.'

'We also shouldn't forget about the influence of stress,' explains Harley Street Skin's founding doctor, Dr Khan.

'Our skin responds to stress by releasing a hormone called cortisol, which prompts oil production. This often is when we'll see clogged or enlarged pores, redness and pimples.'

Dr Khan suggests this is our cue to up our intake of calming agents; 'Drinking Black and Green tea can help here - as can meditation and yoga.'

Drink Black or Green Tea

3. "My Skin Looks All Mottled and Red"

'This could have something to do with blue light exposure,' explains Dr Khan.

'Studies indicate that blue light can lead to pigmentation'.

During a time when we are limited in activities and many of us are working from home, thousands of us have resorted to bouncing between a computer screen, our phones and our TV screens every day.

'This may have a little something to do with the rise in visible blemishes.'

'It may also be why you're struggling to sleep,' he continues, 'which as we all know, will have a negative impact on our skin, too.'

'Blue light interferes with what is known as a 'circadian rhythm' - an internal clock that moderates our sleep cycle.'

'Try to avoid any contact with electronic devices a minimum of one hour before you go to bed. This will allow your body to naturally unwind and prepare for sleep.' Try reading or taking a warm bath before lights out instead, and put that phone down - doctors orders.

Limit Blue Light Exposure

4. "I Look Exhausted"

As you can imagine, being indoors prevents the body from absorbing the necessary Vitamin D.

Vitamin D helps with cell metabolism - and a healthy skin cycle is what is, in part, responsible for a nice, natural glow.

'Vitamin D deficiency can also have a big impact on mood', says Dr Khan. 'If you're feeling tired due to low-mood, it is understandable that you may not be looking as vibrant as usual.'

If you are noticing that your skin appears a little lifeless in recent weeks, this may be the skin responding to a lack of the vitamins it needs to promote cell turnover.

'It's important to supplement a lack of Vitamin D,' says Lesley.

'Whether that is by taking supplements, or making amendments to your diet. Try adding some tuna or mackerel to your online shop, or look for foods that are fortified with Vitamin D - such as some oranges juices and cereals.'

Harley Street Skin Aesthetician, Jessica, also suggests attempting and at-home peel kit to rejuvenate lacklustre skin. 'Peel2Glow has some really effective peel treatments that you can use when you can't get in to see us. One of my favourites is the Beauty Sleep Collection.'

Attempt At-Home Treatment Peels

5. "I've Developed Dandruff"

This is nothing to be embarassed about!

An unusually flaking scalp has been very common amongst those in lockdown.

'This is most likely to be the aftermath of breaking your normal hair-washing routine,' says Lesley.

'If you're used to commuting daily, your hair will get used to it too and produce the necessary protective oils. You'll need to maintain a cleansing cycle.'

'Sensitive scalps will likely fight back against sudden change - sudden changes to product or frequency in washing, etc.'

Lesley suggests setting a designated wash day and sticking to it, diligently.

'Whilst washing, you should also make sure to use the same brand of both shampoo and conditioner - this will avoid introducing conflicting chemicals to the scalp when it is particularly delicate.'

Wash Hair Regularly

6. "My Oil Balance is All Off"

'We find that lots of people that are experiencing this right now can link the changes to a sudden shift in diet,' says Lesley.

Perhaps your regular cupboard staples aren't quite as accessible, you're indulging in takeaways, or you're instinctually reaching for less nutritious comfort foods out of boredom - whatever the case may be, you can rest assured that many are falling prey to it.

'If you're finding it difficult to stay on top of your diet in lockdown, I would recommend juicing,' she suggests It is a really efficient way of quickly getting lots of vitamins and minerals.'

'Having a fresh juice daily will help fill us up and counterbalance some of our naughtier indulgences- such as chocolate or an excess of sugary drinks - and you will look and feel much better for it.'

Attempt Juicing

7. "My Hands Are All Cracked and Sore"

This one is perhaps the most common one we have received of late.

Understandably, we have all been washing our hands far more often in a bid to stay safe. To keep the hands supple, however, you should be just as diligent when it comes to replenishing the moisture that strong antibacterial hand soaps will strip from the skin.

The trick here is to find a product which strikes the balance between being non-greasy and offering long-lasting hydration. Something quick-drying with no lasting residue, that is gentle to hands that are sore from overwashing.

'The main thing that we find deters people from moisturising more frequently tends to be impatience,' explains Dr Khan.

'We need our hands around the clock, so waiting for product to absorb can be frustrating. Here, I would recommend something light and restorative - like our Regenerating Body Moisturiser.'

Replenish the Hands

If you're still struggling to understand what your skin is trying to tell you, you're certainly not alone. Why not book in for a free of charge skincare consultation [via Zoom or Whatsapp] to discuss your options with a professional? Simply give us a call on 0207 436 4441, or click below to get started today!