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From not squeezing spots to screen breaks – ten rules for a heavenly complexion while staying indoors

MAYBE you had big ideas of getting a glow on in quarantine, giving your skin space to breathe after years of caked-on make-up.

But instead your face feels dry, itchy and irritated, as you spend days inside with little fresh air and endless blue light from screens.

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Not sticking to a regular skincare routine, the stress of juggling work and children and anxiety over what lies ahead . . . it all takes a toll.

But as Lynsey Clarke discovers, stick to these ten complexion commandments and your skin will not just survive but thrive.

Thou shalt avoid touching

BEING at home all day means we are more likely to have skin-to-skin contact with loved ones – whether it is children touching our face with mucky hands, or a partner with his overgrown beard.

Julia Sevi, clinic director at Aesthetic Health in Leeds, says: “Hibernation reduces the need to shave.

"Although this reduces the risk of razor rash for the guys, it increases the risk of ‘stubble rash’ for their partners.

“Protect your face with a thick moisturiser and encourage your guy to keep his beard clean and soft with daily shampooing and conditioning to reduce the impact.

“While your face recovers, avoid harsh exfoliation and use soothing moisturiser only while the barrier function of your skin recovers.”

Thou shalt stay away from treats

IT is tempting to sneak the odd biscuit when indoors – but your skin will give you away.

Nutritionist Kim Pearson whose clients include The Crown star Matt Smith, says: “The sugar we eat affects how the skin ages via a process called glycation.

“Sugars in the diet, or refined carbohydrates which quickly break down into simple sugars, enter the bloodstream and attach themselves to the skin proteins collagen and elastin.

"It causes healthy collagen fibres to lose their elasticity and become prone to breakage.”

Even honey and syrups should be avoided.

Thou shalt not squeeze spots

WHEN bare-faced, it can be tempting to squeeze spots. Don’t do it.

Abbi Ingram is a skincare expert and facialist at Blush + Blow ( which is a favourite of Made in Chelsea stars such as Louise Thompson and Tiffany Watson.

She says: “This is a stressful and anxious time and we will inevitably break out.

“We all get that urge to give a spot a squeeze when we are bored, too. It is really important to break the habit.

"Your skin will clear up with the right cleansing schedule and plenty of water.”

Thou shalt have screen breaks

Whether watching television, joining video chats on your phone under lockdown, or working on the laptop, it may feel like you are spending more time on your devices.

Julia Sevi, says: “Screens emit high energy visible light (HEV), which refers to the higher frequency shorter wavelengths of light in the violet-blue band.

“There is growing concern that this type of light might age the skin.

"We should be more worried about the light outside than from screens.

“But until we have more evidence, it is sensible to protect skin by adjusting screen brightness and being more aware of the proximity of it to our faces.”

Thou shalt stay cool and fresh

WITH spring here, you really should not need the central heating on – and your skin certainly doesn’t.

Liz Earle facialist Sarah Carr, whose clients include TV presenter Laura Jackson and singer Jessie Ware, says: “Central heating can dehydrate the skin and leave it feeling dry.

“Have a break from the heating and get some fresh air. It will do your skin good.”

Blush And Blow facialist Abbi Ingram adds: “It is very important to get fresh air and vitamin D (from sunshine) on our skin, even if that just means sitting by an open window.

“The fresh air opens our pores and reduces blockages, as well as giving our skin the oxygen it needs.”

Thou shalt stick to a daily routine

WHEN your daily routine goes awry, so can your skincare regime.

Sarah Carr believes it is important to stick to three simple steps.

She says: “The classic ‘cleanse, tone, moisturise’ is the foundation of good skin.

"Doing this every morning and evening provides a routine for your skin.

“Keeping skin clean and hydrated may help manage the visible signs of stress, especially if, like me, you are juggling a full-time job with parenting a toddler.”

Thou shalt wear less make-up

NOW is the ideal opportunity to let your skin rebalance.

But going completely free of make-up might not be for everyone.

Sarah Carr says: “I’m enjoying not wearing make-up but my friend in New York is wearing a ‘full face’ every day because it makes her feel good.

“People’s skin will react differently to reducing make-up.

"But most of my clients have seen an improvement in their skin by taking more time to look after it and wearing less cosmetics.”

Thou shalt not forget sunscreen

JUST because you are not going outside, does not mean you can stop using your daily SPF.

Skin-damaging UV rays can reach your skin through windows and overexposure to the blue light emitted from devices can speed up the ageing process.

Lisa Harris, skin expert and celebrity facialist to Ruth Langsford and Jason Gardiner, says: “Apply an SPF of at least 30 to keep your skin protected from sunlight and blue light radiating on to your skin.”

Try Nivea Sun Protect & Moisture spray, £8, Boots.

Thou shalt always hydrate

YOU might be suffering from dry skin, especially if you have been feeling under the weather.

Sarah Carr says: “Always moisturise morning and evening.

"I use night masks and face oils during the day if my skin is feeling more dehydrated than usual.

“If you have an alcohol-free face mist or toner, such as Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic (£16), this can give a boost of hydration.

“I’m also attempting a lunchbreak facial with a five-minute Liz Earle balancing gel mask (£19) as a treat.”

Thou shalt feed thy skin

THIS is a great time for home cooking and you can incorporate skin superfoods into your meals.

Nutritionist Kim Pearson says: “Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for skin.

"It’s a powerful antioxidant, protecting cells from damage, and essential for collagen production.

"We rely on our diet to provide it and need to regularly consume it through fruits and vegetables. Broccoli and bell peppers are good sources.”

Green tea, dark berries, citrus fruits and tomatoes, also provide skin protection.

Going back to basics saved my face

By Lynsey Clarke

I ALWAYS took my skin for granted – abusing it with late nights, takeaways, booze, sun and sugar.

I’d never suffered from acne as a teen, but when I hit 29, I broke out.

My nose and cheeks were suddenly covered in violent, red pustules that burned and itched. This lasted for about four years.

Each morning, I covered my skin in primer, colour corrector, concealer, liquid moisturiser and powder. I’d try every brand I could get my hands on.

I remember doing my make-up at the gym and having to hold back the tears as I compared my face to the clear complexions around me, and holidays in the sun being spoilt by my hot, irritable skin.

One GP thought I had impetigo, a dermatologist diagnosed acne, another said it might be rosacea and one even suggested lupus, because the pattern of redness was in a butterfly pattern across my nose and cheeks, which can be the case with that condition.

Our skin is a complicated organ. It is possible I had a combination of issues. I tried medications, supplements and miracle products, but nothing worked.

A couple of years in, it dawned on me that I’d been suffering from bloating and crippling pain on the right side of my abdomen for about the same amount of time.

After many tests, I was eventually diagnosed with “small intestinal bacterial overgrowth” and prescribed a course of the antibiotic Metronidazole. By the end of the two weeks my gut felt calmer, and so did my skin.

It was clear to me that there must be a connection.


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I started to keep a food diary and found that lactose-high foods, some vegetables such as garlic and onions, and too much caffeine, gluten and alcohol caused flare-ups in my gut and skin. I drastically cut down, especially on dairy.

I stopped trying products that promised a flawless complexion, and stuck to non-comedogenic (made to avoid causing clogged pores) ones such as Cetaphil, which felt gentle.

I stuck to a simple cleanse and moisturise at night. In the mornings, I only used water to wash my face, and then moisturised.

I was never brave enough to go to work without a full face of foundation, but on the weekend, I stopped using any coverage apart from an SPF – just to give my skin a breather.

It’s been gradual. But over about 18 months, my complexion has completely cleared up – save for slightly pink skin on my cheeks. But that covers with a sweep of Mac Studio Fix foundation.

There has been no wonder cure, but going back to basics has really made the difference.

So if your skin is suffering, my advice would be to detox your skincare and your diet now while you have some time to focus on it.

Skin hydration tips which you can abide by at home during lockdown

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