skincare, expert treatments in lockdown

Body+Soul speaks to the skincare experts on how to create your own salon experience from the comfort of your home.

Help! The pandemic’s sweeping lockdowns have left many of us to our own devices when it comes skincare and beauty. We’re dying our hair in the sink, haphazardly tweezing our moustaches and trying to contour with fake tan … and for a lot of us, it’s not ending well.

Let’s just say all manner of beauty mishaps and mayhem have ensued while we’ve been separated from our trusted beauticians and clinicians.

The truth is, in this overwhelming, emotional and stressful time, we’ve never needed our dermatologists, eyebrow magicians and nail angels more.

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Top of the list in our cries for help? Our skin.

“It’s common knowledge that stressed out skin is an outward sign of internal stress,” says Dr Janet Mason is Head of New Product Development at Q+A. “Studies have shown a strong link between increased cortisol (the stress hormone) level and inflammation and suggest that high levels of stress can impact your skin function too.”

Adds Shoshana Eisner, pharmacist and QED Skincare founder; “Stress can cause our skin to go bonkers. Spending a lot of time indoors, with the heating on, dries our skin. For those of us stuck at home or “working” from home, there are some skin opportunities to be grabbed with both hands.”

So, if you’ve been dealing with lacklustre lockdown skin, look no further. We’ve gone straight to some of Australia’s most revered skincare experts to get their tips on how to S.O.S (Save Our Skin) now.

How do I make my Botox last longer in lockdown?

“Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate!” says cosmetic nurse, Ally Hanby from Cosmetic Avenue.

“Your skin will look less dull and lined when it’s adequately hydrated, therefore hydration can help to prolong the effects of your anti-wrinkle and filler treatments.”

To help keep our skin plump Hanby advises to drink plenty of water, perform a hydrating face mask or use serums to help increase skin hydration, such as hyaluronic acid or vitamin B until your next appointment.

I desperately need a facial, how can I get results that are *as good* at home?

The drastic improvement in skin that often follows a trip to your clinician has been hard to replicate at home; until now. The founders of popular skincare destination, The Clinic, have actually created a new product for this specific purpose – called The Peel.

It sold out in just a few weeks after launch (it’s back in stock now) and has been a godsend for those missing their regular facials “This is a medical grade peel mimicking in-clinic treatments which provides for 6 weeks of at-home treatments,” says founders Lisa Sullivan Smith and Kaye Scott.

Great for congested and combination skin, The Peel exfoliates the skin while containing anti-inflammatory wound-healing properties, to avoid skin irritation, burning and reddening.

Help! I miss my dermatologist and can’t wait until lockdown ends for an appointment?

While #Zoomface has its downsides, it also has its advantages. Especially when it means you can have a dermatologist on hand for a virtual consultation to let you know exactly what’s going on with your skin.

During lockdown last year, The Clinic’s video consultation service took off and “the number of online consultations booked rose by 200% in the first 4 weeks,” said founder Kaye Scott.

“Since then, video consultation bookings have remained at a consistent level, ensuring that everyone still has access to registered nurses who specialise in skin, no matter where they lived and this has remained a top service.”

There are other similar initiatives popping up including Software skincare. They use a text-based chat with an expert GP, who will prescribe selected ingredients to be compounded for your specific skin issues. They’re able to prescribe popular actives you can’t get on the shelf, including retinoid, azelaic acid and antibiotics.

‘Maskne’ has struck again, how can I fix it?

Maskne is essentially acne that occurs from wearing a mask. “The synthetic fibres the mask is made from can lead to increased skin perspiration, which then mixes with breath droplets, oil produced by the skin and make-up ingredients,” explains Sarah Hudson, who is an aesthetic practitioner and director of Skin by Sarah Hudson. “This can all become trapped under the mask, especially if it needs to be worn for long periods of time – such as by health care workers – and cause breakouts.”

If you notice any dampness within the mask you should change it immediately,” says Skin Renu’s clinic practitioner, Sylvia Down. “However if you use a reusable mask it’s best to wash it daily for maximum hygiene.

“It is also worth hanging up your mask once you have washed it in the sun to air dry as the UV light will help to kill bacteria.”

Then three to four times a week apply a deep cleansing charcoal or clay mask, Hudson adds. “This will help to draw out impurities from the skin. It can double as an overnight, leave-on spot treatment that you apply directly to pimples.”

How can I use lockdown as an opportunity to give my skin a general glow-up?

Use microfibre cloths to recreate that salon experience at home

“A professional hack for home treatments include having a pile of soft, clean microfibre cloths to use in your treatment,” says Shoshana Eisner, pharmacist and QED Skincare founder. “Roll them up and soak them in a bowl of steaming, hot water immediately before use. Before rinsing masks etc, smooth the steaming (wrung out) cloth over your face and press it in until it cools. Breathe deeply. This will force the beneficial ingredients of the mask into your skin as well as making it easier to remove. To speed absorption of a face oil, you can do the same thing (just don’t wipe).”

Massage and gua sha for mindfulness and nourishment

“I practise cold showers in the morning, followed by a Gua Sha facial massage loaded with my favourite serum from Dr Natasha Cook ‘Concentrated Illuminator’,” adds Georgia Hull, hair and makeup artist. “To warm the rest of my body back up, I follow with a deep massage using an antioxidant rich oil to hydrate and nourish my skin.”

Double cleanse!

“Ultimately there is no faking good skin but if there was one tip to obtaining good skin I would suggest double cleansing,” advises Kaye and Lisa of The Clinic. “Currently we are experiencing congestion under our masks and because of this it’s a great opportunity to double cleanse. It is important to know your cleansers and the first step and first mistake everyone makes when it comes to cleansers is buying a cheap cleanser. You need to understand the different between active and non active ingredients. Active ingredients include lactic and salicylic acid, whereas non active ingredients would be things such as camomile and Shea Butter.

“The best opportunity you have now is to double cleanse and to make that a priority as part of your skin care routine.”

Consider taking a regular collagen supplement

If you haven’t considered a collagen supplement before, now’s the time. “Collagen is a protein made up of three amino acids; glycine, proline and hydroxyproline” explained accredited dietitian, Chloe McLeod. “Of the three types: type one gives skin its firmness; type two makes up our movable joints; and the third gives tissue its elasticity.”

Hence why there’s been such an uptake in dietary collagen in recent years to improve the skin and keep it looking youthful.

However, not all collagen supplements are created equal. Here are 15 of the best.

“Good collagen supplements, like Vida Glow, contain tiny peptides two to four Kilodaltons in size that are soluble, tasteless and bioactive. When deciding on a collagen supplement, look for one containing highly purified collagen from a sustainable source, so you can take the minimum dosage and still get results and a high concentration of the collagen-rich amino acids proline and hydroxyproline,” says Skincare guru and scientist Dr. Michele Squires.