Beyond giving some routine to your day, following a consistent skincare regime is important for overall skin health. But which parts are actually necessary right now? Here, an expert explains all…
Our routines have all changed. We’re spending most of our time at home, wear joggers for the majority of the day (until they’re replaced with pyjamas) and our make-up bags are currently collecting dust. But for most of us at Stylist, being able to follow our normal skincare routine helps to maintain a sense of normality. However, while it’s a nice way to bring structure to our day, is following a skincare routine actually necessary right now?
“Uncertain times like these and changes to our daily routine can bring on worry and stress, and it can show in our skin,” says Daniel Isaacs, Director of Research at Medik8. “Hydration is incredibly important at times like these to keep skin looking and feeling healthy.”
While some parts of our skincare routine can be paused for the time being, some parts are still essential for good skin health (ahem, SPF) and cleanliness (yes, you still need to cleanse). Here, Isaacs breaks down the steps we should still be following while sitting at home. Our skin will thank us once this is all over…
Is double cleansing necessary?
Double cleansing is a two-step approach to cleaning your face. Stemming from K-beauty, it involves using two different types of cleansers. The first cleanse aims to remove make-up and dirt on the surface of the face, while the second round provides a deeper clean.
While we may not be wearing as much make-up as usual, we shouldn’t underestimate the dirt that can build up on the skin’s surface. “It is often surprising how much SPF, sebum, sweat, bacteria and old skin cells accumulate on our skin over the day - a double cleanse in the evening will remove these impurities and help prevent breakouts,” says Isaacs.
“Double cleansing isn’t necessary to maintain good skin health. It’s a personal choice but regardless, a mistake many of us make is not cleansing for long enough. So if you are double cleansing or not, be sure to massage your cleanser into skin for at least a minute to remove the buildup of daily dirt and grime that clogs our skin, dulling it.”
Is skin still at risk of pollutants and environmental aggressors? If so, how can we protect it?
Unfortunately, our skin is constantly exposed to pollutants and environmental aggressors. In fact, even if you aren’t going outside, indoor pollution can be up to five times more concentrated than outside.
“Our skin is always under attack from pollutants and environmental aggressors - in particular environmental damage is a key contributor to blemishes and premature ageing,” says Isaacs. “Look for products containing Copper PCA - a revolutionary antioxidant with incredible free radical-fighting abilities. It shields the skin from free radical attack to help banish blemishes and protect our skin’s collagen.”
Do we need to protect skin against blue light?
Between working from home, Zoom meetings, Houseparty drinks, FaceTime family gathering and endless hours spent scrolling through TikTok, it’s fair to say that our screen time has increased a lot. This means our skin is being exposed to more blue light, which can be damaging. “Blue light is very similar in wavelength to harmful UV light and studies have shown that it can cause hyperpigmentation and free radical damage,” says Isaacs.
Do we still need to wear SPF?
The short answer? Yes.
“Sunscreen should be worn every single day, to provide protection against exposure to UV rays,” says Isaacs. “Even when it’s cloudy, 50% of the sun’s rays can still reach your skin. Plus, UVA rays have the ability to penetrate glass, therefore it is still essential to wear products with SPF while at home.”
Medik8 follows the three-ingredient skincare routine that many experts say is all you need: vitamin C and sunscreen by day and vitamin A by night. Isaacs recommends starting with a broad spectrum SPF30 every day.
Should we still be using antioxidants? Which ones are important?
“YES. Antioxidants are like the martyrs of skincare,” says Isaacs. “They selflessly donate one of their own electrons to free radicals, thus neutralise the damage caused and preventing visible signs of ageing.
“The good news is that our body has its own supply of antioxidants, but the bad news is that this can often be depleted by the sheer volume of pollution and UV-derived free radicals that we face on a daily basis. That’s why it is essential to keep your antioxidants topped up via your skincare.”
Isaacs notes that vitamin C is “considered one of the best antioxidants in skincare”. The overall aim of vitamin C is to leave skin looking brighter and smoother, while also providing some protection. “Vitamin C works with your skin cells to stimulate collagen production while also helping to block the enzyme that causes pigmentation,” he adds.
Is retinol still necessary when staying indoors?
Speak to any skincare buff about their skincare routine and you’re bound to hear the word ‘retinol’ at some point. “If there is one thing you should be using, it’s retinol,” says Isaacs. “It should be an essential in everyone’s skincare regime - nothing without prescription can improve the signs of photo-ageing quite like it. In fact, little else even comes close.”
So how does it work? “Retinol stimulates collagen, keeping the skin structured and firm while reversing the effects of sun damage,” he explains. “Retinol also boosts the production of collagen in your skin as well as stopping the breakdown of collagen.”
But that’s not all. Isaacs notes that it also manages the production of melanin to address any uneven skin tone and hyper pigmentation (whether that’s genetic or developed over time). “Additionally, retinol helps to reduce the amount of sebum the skin collects by clearing up any blockages in the skin, acting as an exfoliator. This helps to reduce blemishes,” he adds. “Retinol also stimulates the production of hyaluronic acid, again to help support a good skin structure, allowing it to firm and reverse any loss of elasticity. Essentially, It does so many different jobs which all contribute to healthier and youthful skin.”
Main image: Getty