Noticed a whole load of skin and beauty related issues while you stare at your face on Zoom?
You’re not alone.
After six weeks in lockdown cosmetic surgeons are reporting a new phenomenon: lockdown face.
Dr Sabrina Shah Desai, leading oculoplastic surgeon on Harley Street, says: ‘It’s inevitable that after six weeks living in a situation which is very alien to the norm that people are going to be affected physically and mentally.
‘The two are intrinsically linked and we are seeing a lot of people experiencing the effects on their faces, to the extent that we have started calling it Lockdown Face.
‘Lockdown Face is essentially caused by a combination of two things,
‘It is skin being forced to go without its usual skincare regime – with many women reporting ditching everything from moisturiser to foundation because of the fact that they aren’t leaving the house.
‘In addition to this they’re also spending more time in the garden, so their skin is being exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays than usual, they’re sometimes eating unhealthily, drinking more alcohol and suffering from stress and lack of sleep.
‘As well as that, women are also having to forgo their usual clinic treatments for everything from Botox and fillers to dermabrasion and dermaplaning because of the fact that clinics are all closed.’
This results in a proliferation of skin issues. But don’t fear – Sabrina’s breaking down each one and talking us through how to fix it.
Dark circles, bags, and under-eye wrinkles
As we age we lose volume in the area between the cheek and lower eyelid, which is called the tear trough. This lack of volume causes under-eye dark circles, hollows and eye bags to appear.
‘These may be more exacerbated at a time like this because of the increased levels of stress and resultant interrupted sleep that many of us are suffering from,’ suggests Dr Shah-Desai. ‘As well as the fact that many people are not bothering to maintain their usual eye serums and eye creams.
‘Tear trough fillers can be an extremely effective solution to this problem. The treatment involves having filler injected into this delicate area, restoring the lost volume and reducing the appearance of dark circles and hollows.
‘I’ve called upon my 20 years experience as an oculoplastic surgeon to pioneer a biplanar technique of correcting the tear trough problem, called Eye-Boost™, which allows people to achieve natural-looking results which give the patient a younger, fresher and less-tired appearance. The procedure is painless because a topical anaesthetic is first applied, it typically takes less than 15 minutes and the results last for 6-18 months.’
All of which sounds great, but obviously you can’t get fillers while we’re in lockdown.
If your under-eye area is giving you agg in the meantime, there are some simple (and cheap) ways to sort it.
Use a cool compress every morning for five to ten minutes to temporarily reduce the appearance of under-eye bags. No judgement if you do this right before every video chat.
Make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep – and sleep with your head at a slightly raised angle to allow fluid to drain more easily.
And keep up your usual skincare routines and creams – especially if you’re spending time enjoying the sun in your back garden. Sun damage is a major cause of prematurely aged skin. Prevent the damage by wearing a strong SPF sunscreen every day and staying in the shade.
‘It’s a common misconception that it’s just teenagers who get acne,’ says skin specialist, Dr Rekha Tailor. ‘However, both men and women can get it at lots of different stages in their life and for a variety of reasons.
‘Hormonal acne for example is acne that is caused by hormone changes and can affect adults at any stage of their life, including puberty, pregnancy and menopause.
‘I’m seeing a lot more women who are suffering from adult-onset acne. This condition is definitely becoming more common and seems to be linked to hormones and stress.’
Thankfully there are many things that can be done to treat acne, and whilst it’s not usually caused by simply diet and lifestyle alone, these factors can also affect the skin:
- Eating a healthy balanced diet and drinking lots of water can help, as can cutting out alcohol, caffeine and sugar.
- Cleansing twice a day
- Using topical retinoids on the skin such as ZO Skin Health – these work by removing the dead skin cells on the surface of the skin and improving turnover to help prevent them building up in hair follicles.
- Getting antibiotic cream or tablets prescribed by your doctor –Topical Benzoyl Peroxide is an antibiotic that reduces the bacteria on the skin. It also helps to reduce inflammation.
- For women the combined oral contraceptive pill can help. Most GPs surgeries are still seeing patients for regular appointments despite the lockdown.
Wrinkles are usually regarded as a byproduct of ageing, but there are other factors to play that could be causing an increase in them during the lockdown.
‘Most people know that as we age our collagen production slows down and so our skin begins to lose elastin and collagen,’ Dr Rekha Tailor says. ‘This causes the skin to hang loosely and create wrinkles and sagging skin.
‘However, premature ageing can be exacerbated but a number of factors including lifestyle, pollution and sun exposure.
‘So with many of us currently experiencing a lifestyle change that is seeing many people drinking more alcohol, under more stress, and spending more time in the garden in the sun, they will also start to notice more wrinkles as a result.’
How to prevent wrinkles worsening in lockdown? Again, sun protection is key.
Wear a high factor SPF at all times, even when it doesn’t seem sunny outside or when you’re using a screen.
Stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet rich in oily fish and healthy fats, such as avocados and nuts.
Avoid smoking and getting super boozy.
And use a retinoid. Derived from vitamin A, this is one of the best anti-ageing ingredients, helping to increase collagen production and encourage skin regeneration. Consult a skin expert before starting, as different retinoid strengths suit different skin types best.