The less said about our confinement skin situation, the better. A side effect of our bodies adjusting to a new routine is that even if we might be giving our skin a vacation by going make-up free, we’re still facing chaos when we glance in the mirrors. A lot of people who have been sans skin woes for months now have suddenly found themselves dealing with issues ranging from reddish skin and sensitivity to dryness, to name a few. Some of us have gone from seeing the odd pimple on our face to a lot of pimples. The relationship between stress and acne is a significant one.
We asked Spain-based Sha Wellness Clinic’s experts on tips for how we can get glowing again – without professional intervention or any skincare products. Philippa Harvey, head of traditional Chinese medicine department at Sha, says all we have to do is generate a few healthy habits, find useful routines, have some discipline and follow a few bits of advice offered by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a branch of medicine that dates back thousands of years.
The plus of all this is that we aren’t facing aggressors such as pollution, UVA rays or make-up now, so it’s time to take advantage of that! Here are their 5 tips.
1. Breathing: hydration and energy through the lungs
Philippa believes our skin is a reflection of our health. “Breathing directly influences skin health... regulating both pores and perspiration.”
The right way to breath is to take long, slow and deep breaths. Then, when we breathe out, we discard everything we no longer need, she says. “Relaxation breathing techniques can be very helpful in oxygenating the skin.”
2. Bet on the vegetarian diet
Studies in recent years have made it clear that diet can influence dermatological conditions.
“Chronic dermatological problems are made worse by eating foods that cause inflammation in the body,” Philippa says. She recommends reducing or avoiding sugar, refined carbohydrates, dairy, gluten, flour, processed foods or saturated fats. “To reduce inflammation levels, the best bet is a healthy, vegetarian diet that includes whole grains, legumes, green tea, red fruits, green leafy vegetables, miso, pickles, etc.”
3. Go for infused water
It’s the oldest trick in the beauty book. Water plays an essential role in the hydration of our body and, of course, of our skin. “In these times of confinement we think that by spending less energy we should consume little water. That would be a mistake,” says Philippa. “It is essential to move, to remain active and to exercise. In this way, and among many other benefits, we will ‘force’ ourselves to drink water.” Juices, black tea, coffee or refreshing and sugary drinks for hydration are not for her. “There is nothing better than water,” she says, recommending adding lemon, cucumber or lime slices for a more refreshing taste.
4. The night-time refresher
For an aspect of life that’s key to skincare, it happens to be quite an underrated one, says Philippa. “Sleeping well helps regenerate cells, strengthens our immune system and, of course, makes our skin smoother.”
A good night’s sleep is vital to improve skin health, since nights are the best time to moisturise, repair and rejuvenate the skin. Studies have found that chronic poor sleep quality is associated with increased indicators associated with ageing, decreased skin protection, and less satisfaction with the appearance we display.
Put simply, poor sleep dehydrates and ages the skin. “When we are rested, we face the day with more vitality and we tend to make better decisions: eat better, move more and pay more attention to health,” Philippa says.
5. Natural oil as a regenerator
Stick to a routine as much as you can. And not just daily, but nightly as well. “This step will allow your skin to regenerate more effectively while you sleep,” Philippa says. “Try this: apply a regenerating oil after cleansing your face. Preferably, use a natural oil, such as musk oil, argan, coconut, jojoba, avocado and St. John’s wort. They all work great.”
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