This excellent post was brought to you by Synergie Skin.
If you’re anything like us, isolation has done a real number on your skin. Not that it was perfect to begin with – there’s no such thing – but, you know, it was good enough. We had a routine. It worked. However, throw a global pandemic into the mix, new living and WFH arrangements, and our skin has definitely seen better days.
Coronavirus isn’t forever and eventually, our skin will transition back to its original state. However, as Terri Vinson Cosmetic Chemist and Managing Director of Synergie Skin explains, with a few choice ingredients, we can help speed up the healing process.
First things first: let’s pinpoint the source of the problem. According to Vinson, four of the most common triggers of isolation skin are:
1. Soaring stress levels
“Increased levels of stress hormone [cortisol] lead to additional oil being produced.” More oil = more breakouts
2. Poor nutrition
For many, periods of heightened stress leave us turning to heavy comfort foods or sugary treats. “An increase of refined sugar in our diet causes more inflammation in the body and this will have a direct impact on the health of our skin. Good nutrition and balance is essential during isolation.” (Does banana bread count as ‘nutritious’? We’ll report back.)
3. Face masks
If you’re an essential worker, a face mask is now part of the uniform. Unfortunately, this necessary precaution can impact skin: “The humid environment and toxins exhaled into the mask may contribute to skin congestion.”
4. Prolonged periods indoors
“The skin is an organ that requires the ideal environment to function correctly. During excessive periods of remaining indoors, a lack of fresh air and dry recycled air can cause dryness, skin breakouts and even irritation.”
Now that we’ve identified the source of #ISOSKIN, let’s create a plan of attack. When it comes to soothing inflamed skin, there are two hero products: a probiotic/prebiotic serum and a Vitamin B (aka niacinamide) serum.
In skin care, probiotics are experiencing a surge in popularity – and we’re not mad about it. Probiotics can help balance the good and bad bacteria on our skin in the same way they balance our gut. “The right bacterial balance is vital for a healthy barrier and blemish free skin surface. This should be a part of any good skin routine,” Vinson tells Gritty Pretty. “A good prebiotic/ probiotic combo is Inulin (prebiotic) and Bifida Ferment Lysate (probiotic).”
Vitamin B helps to regulate oil production and prevent pores from becoming blocked. “It also keeps the barrier strong and hydrated which is exactly what your skin needs during isolation. Look for a serum with over 10 per cent niacinamide.”
Did we mention that probiotics and Vitamin B play well together? In fact, they’re a match made in heaven. Synergie Skin Stay Home Care Pack ($169) contains the brand’s signature probiotic serum Dermiotic and Vitamin B – plus, five sachets of MasquErase and Sanitiser Spray. This kit should be your first port of call for isolation-induced breakouts.
Let’s unclog those pores and remove dead skin cells. An exfoliating toner – look for a combination of AHAs and BHAs – will help smooth and brighten your skin. Vinson recommends applying daily to begin with (focusing on problem areas) before reducing your usage to twice per week. At $25, COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner is an affordable option.
Bonus points if you incorporate a twice weekly physical facial scrub, too. “An ideal scrub will contain uniform particles like the ones used in clinical microdermabrasion machines,” Vinson says. “These crystals are made of aluminium oxide (corundum) and are highly effective for improving skin dullness and blocked pores.”
If your breakout is more severe, a spot treatment can help usher it out the door, sooner. There are a number of spot treatments out there, but Vinson recommends avoiding anything with benzyl peroxide as it “can be irritating and only addresses the acne bacteria.”
Flip over the bottle, read the ingredients list and look for “manuka oil to address acne bacteria, lactic, malic acid and salicylic acid for exfoliation and unblocking pores, liquorice extract (dipotassium glycyrrhizinate) to reduce inflammation and redness and Barosma betulina botanical extract to reduce oil production.” Verso Blemish Fix ($144) works well as a clearing gel, along with the tried-and-tested Mario Badescu Drying Lotion ($27).
Have you noticed pimples popping up since the onset of Australia’s social distancing measures? We’d love to know what you’ve been doing to help soothe breakouts. Tell us your favourite skin-clearing products in the comments below.