Skin: It’s your body’s largest organ, and the first line of defense from the harsh elements that surround us. Make that “surrounded us,” as it were, because these days, for many of us, the days of put-putting around town outside are on a (hopefully!) temporary hiatus.
Instead, the only “harsh elements” our skin really needs to protect us from is a what-the-hell-is-that smell emanating from the fridge and the hard water from our showers, because ever since quarantine started happening, we’ve been stuck primarily inside.
But is that true? Is our skin on a vacation from doing its job now that we’re living life indoors? And by proxy, can we slack off on taking care of it with moisturizers and sunscreen and the like?
Absolutely not, says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Anthony Rossi. “You should definitely keep moisturizing,” Rossi says. “Most people are creatures of habit — good, or bad. Which means that changes in our routine [like how often we get outside] can affect our skin.”
But it’s not just being indoors all the time — it’s also how being indoors all the time changes that routine, and why, even inside, you should consider what that’s doing to your skin. “If your diet has changed you may be breaking out more, or you may be running the heat or running the air conditioning more, and your skin can dry out,” Rossi explains. “So definitely, keep up the daily hydration inside and out. Plenty of water and daily moisturizer after a shower or after your home workout. You should also wash your face and moisturize before you go to bed.”
It’s not just moisturizing that’s still an important part of taking care of your skin during quarantine. Even though you might be out of the sun now, you should still consider putting on sunscreen daily, especially if you sit near any windows. That’s because, though some UV rays are blocked by glass, radiation can still pass through them and get into your skin. “Remember that glass still lets UVA and possibly some UVB in, and since it’s a good habit to use a daily moisturizer with SPF, if that’s your routine, stick with it,” Rossi says.
As your routine changes, though, it’s also important to change with it. Some areas of your skin you might have been neglecting only a few months ago have become super important to take care of now that we’re indoors all the time. For example, according to Rossi, it’s now really important that you wash and exfoliate your face if you’re getting more breakouts from wearing a mask that’s trapping sweat and sebum against your skin. And don’t sleep on your hands, either: “Hand moisturizer is key. Switch to cold water instead of hot, and a soap that’s good for sensitive skin.”
You can take your skin out of the elements, but you can’t take the elements out of your skin, no matter how much time you spend inside. If anything, isolation’s massive change to your routine is even more of a reason to mind your skincare habits — unless you don’t care about looking like a lizard-person, in which case, do what you want.