By Dr Nathalie Broussard
Scientific Communication Director at Shiseido
Just because we’re inside all day doesn’t mean our skin is protected. Of course, it’s spared many of the usual aggressions like UV rays and pollution. But lockdown does take a toll on our skin. Through the dry heat from our heating systems, aggressive yet still necessary in early spring. Through the numerous indoor pollutants, especially coming from the kitchen. But the biggest impact on the skin at this time is the stress of being confined. This stress was measured in a 2018 study carried out by the JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) along with Shiseido research on 23 people who were quarantined for 15 days. During this experiment stress and anxiety were at higher levels than usual, with visible effects on skin including decreased barrier function, increased sebum production and an increased inflammation factor. 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.
With the help of Dr Nathalie Broussard, we have identified 3 important skincare steps to carry our during your quarantine days. Whether you are busy working from home or have time on your hands, these steps play a vital role in maintaining the health of our skin during this challenging period.
THE 3 GOLDEN RULES OF LOCKDOWN
STEP 1: THOUROUGHLY CLEANSE THE SKIN
Outside, the skin is exposed to urban pollutants. At home, it faces indoor pollutants, especially if you do a lot of cooking. Time spent in the kitchen exposes the skin to volatile particles which oxidise tissue and increase the skin’s level of inflammation.
In the morning, start by removing the sebum your skin produced overnight with a foam cleanser like Shiseido’s Clarifying Cleansing Foam. Or, if your skin is naturally on the drier side, try a cleansing water such as the WASO 3-in-1 Beauty Smart Water which cleanses, hydrates, and primes in just one step. In the evening, if you wear makeup to attend a video conference, it’s best to double cleanse. Start with a rinse-off oil like the Perfect Cleansing Oil to remove makeup, then follow up with a foam cleanser to eliminate the build-up of pollution.
STEP 2: FIGHTING STRESS FROM THE SKIN INWARDS
It’s no secret that the stress of isolation has a strong impact on skin. But so does stress in general, as studied for over 30 years by Dr Hosoi, senior scientist at Shiseido. He showed that stress slowed barrier function recovery – making the skin more reactive –, caused a drop in keratinocyte production thus decreasing skin renewal, and did great damage to the skin’s defence system. In short, (try to) relax and calm distressed skin.
Add a targeted serum after cleansing and before moisturising to boost the skin’s natural defences. Shiseido’s Ultimune serum strengthens the skin’s defence system and helps make it tougher against stress. Follow it up with a moisturising cream rich in hyaluronic acid like Essential Energy, to make up for moisture loss caused by the changes in the skin’s barrier function. In the evening, apply an overnight mask such as the WASO Beauty Sleeping Mask which acts continuously for hours to recharge the skin’s hydration. Plus, this mask promotes better sleep thanks to its aromachology benefits.
STEP 3: DEALING WITH THE LACK OF FRESH AIR
This lack of air means the skin has a hard time staying oxygenated and radiant, especially since microcirculation may be slowed due to a lack of physical exercise, which would usually stimulate blood flow. The cells are lacking nutrients and their function slows down. Lymphatic drainage is also affected. As days go by, the skin becomes dull, pale, and increasingly fragile.
From cleansing to skincare, take a bit of time to massage products into your skin, to help stimulate microcirculation and cellular metabolism. Before applying your skincare, run your hands under cold water to chill them and stimulate the skin even more. Shiseido also offers Reneura Technology* which reactivates intercellular communication. After only a few days of use, the skin already looks rosier, as if brought back to life. Don’t forget to set your thermostat to the right temperature, especially in the bedroom. Temperatures over 20°C could inhibit cellular regeneration. And to avoid extreme skin dehydration use a room humidifier and abuse moisture-locking skincare on top of a hydrating softener.