Now that we’ve entered Phase 2 post-circuit breaker, our routines have started to shift again. More of us are stepping out of our homes and meeting up with our friends, while some of us have to prep our kids for school. Amidst the new adjustments, you may have noticed a change in your skin too. If your complexion’s looking drier and patchier or oilier and more prone to breakouts, you’re not alone.
You see, external stressors such as environmental pollution can throw your skin off its balance. Long hours of mask-wearing can also trap bacteria in your pores and cause pesky zits to pop up when you least expect. Add a lump of stress and insufficient sleep into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for reactive skin.
Don’t panic. Here, we’ll be sharing a few tips on how to heal your skin from inside and out. It’s time to restore that balance.
Psst, keep reading to find out how you can pick up a free skincare sample to help you cleanse your skin well even when you wear your masks regularly.
Get a restful night’s sleep
They call it beauty sleep for a reason. Your skin produces most of its collagen when you get some shut-eye, which is why your skin looks more youthful when you’ve had a full eight hours. More sleep also lowers the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Without a proper, consistent sleep schedule, you’re depriving your skin of its regenerating cycle. This can mess with your skin’s pH levels, spark breakouts, and deplete your natural glow.
1. Tweak your sleep cycle
Just because your daily schedule may have changed, doesn’t mean you can’t have order. Try implementing a new normal that mimics a healthy routine, like waking up at a set time and getting ready for the day. This will make it easier to head to bed when you should. And remember, seven to nine hours of sleep is the goal.
If your room is particularly bright at night, invest in blackout curtains or shades to block light from the windows. Alternatively, you can try sleeping with an eye mask on. We recommend one that’s made of silk as it keeps moisture close to your skin – a bonus if you’re starting to see fine lines and wrinkles.
2. Avoid bright screens within 1-2 hours of your bedtime
The blue light emitted from your phone, tablet, computer, or television can be especially disruptive to your sleep cycle. However, you can minimise its impact by turning the brightness down or using a blue light-filtering app.
When you’re one or two hours away from your bedtime, it’s best to hit pause on Netflix and place your phone aside. Instead, create a relaxing environment with music, read a book, or tune into an audiobook to get you ready for bed.
Cleanse your skin properly
No matter where we live, our skin is always exposed to a certain amount of environmental pollution. Now that we’re outside more often, we have to make sure that pollutant particles don’t linger in our pores. Thus, having a proper cleansing routine is the first line of defence against these skin aggressors.
To address and balance reactive skin, Neutrogena LABS has created a line of Micellar Gel Cleansers for both dry and oily skin. Developed with dermatologists, the brand has formulated the products with Super Magnetic Acid to give your skin a gentle yet effective cleanse.
In fact, the makeup removers are clinically proven to remove up to 99% of micro-pollutants on the skin, while the gel cleansers are able to remove 97% of micro-pollutants.
How Neutrogena LABS Micellar Gel Cleansers work
While surfactants in cleansers wash away dirt and grime, most of them can cause irritation by robbing the skin of moisture. This is where Neutrogena LABS’ new cleansers come to the rescue with Super Magnetic Acid. Much like a giant magnet, Super Magnetic Acid is comprised of cleansing molecules that are three times larger to attract impurities without disrupting your skin’s barrier.
These cleansers from Neutrogena LABS also contain a star ingredient: Poly Hydroxy Acid (PHA). It’s a next-generation exfoliating acid with almost all the benefits of an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), but without the irritation. PHA gently lifts off dead skin cells and makes your skin smooth and even. It moisturises the skin barrier and can even be used on sensitive skin or after a cosmetic procedure. A powerhouse acid in our book.
The line of cleansers is also made without 26 top irritants and allergens, so you’ll be pleased to know that Neutrogena LABS’ formulas are free from sulfates, soap, parabens, and artificial fragrance. To top it all off, each cleanser is within your skin’s natural pH range. This keeps your skin barrier balanced and healthy, ready to fend off germs and bacteria.
For dry, reactive skin
If you struggle with rough, parched patches, try Neutrogena LABS’ Hydrating Micellar Jelly Make-up Remover and Hydrating Micellar Gel Cleanser. The Jelly Makeup Remover is formulated with 1% PHA while the Gel Cleanser has 2% PHA to keep your skin soft and clean. There’s hyaluronic acid in the formula that gives your skin a boost of moisture too. When your skin is well-hydrated, you’ll notice a supple glow.
Use the Hydrating Micellar Jelly Makeup Remover to take off your makeup and/or sunscreen, and follow it up with the Hydrating Micellar Gel Cleanser.
For oily, reactive skin
Neutrogena LABS’ Clarifying Micellar Jelly Make-up Remover and Clarifying Micellar Gel Cleanser are perfect for those with oily, acne-prone skin. Besides PHA, the Gel Cleanser contains salicylic acid, a gold standard ingredient when it comes to fighting acne.
Salicylic acid effectively exfoliates the surface of the skin and within the pores, clearing blackheads and dissolving excess sebum along the way. Your skin will feel rebalanced and ready to take on the day.
Use the Clarifying Micellar Jelly Makeup Remover at night to take off your makeup and/or sunscreen, and follow it up with the Clarifying Micellar Gel Cleanser.
Read till the end of this article to find out how you can pick up a free sample of the cleansers!
Lower your stress and anxiety
When you’re overwhelmed with stress, your cortisol levels spike, signalling your sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. That’s a one-way ticket to inflammation, clogged pores, and acne. If your skin’s been flaring up uncontrollably, perhaps it’s time to tweak your lifestyle.
1. Exercise more often
Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways to combat stress because it helps lower your body’s cortisol levels. It might sound contradictory, but putting physical stress on your body through exercise can relieve mental stress. Even if you’re not intending to return to your gym for a workout yet, you can still opt for a jog in the park or yoga session at home.
It releases endorphins to improve your mood too. Hence, people who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety compared to those who don’t.
2. Try meditation
On top of routine exercise, you can also try a meditation app to quell your mind. Taking a few minutes out of your day for a session of meditation in the morning or at night can control anxiety, enhance your self-awareness, and improve sleep. This will help you feel sharper and more focused during the day too.
If you’re able to locate your source of stress, it may be easier for you to work on it directly. For instance, if you’re snowed under with stress at work, schedule a chat with your boss. Together, you may be able to find better ways to manage your workload, thereby lowering your levels of anxiety.
Prevent mask irritation
Face masks have become a mandatory part of getting dressed before leaving the house. Unfortunately, covering our faces can increase humidity and heat build-up inside the mask. This can encourage the growth of bacteria, cause abrasions on the skin, and disrupt the skin’s protective barrier.
If you have sensitive skin, you may be experiencing more itching and flaking on your cheeks and chin. Those with oily skin may also notice a bump in clogged pores and inflamed pimples.
1. Practise good mask hygiene
Cloth masks can harbour bacteria and fungi, so you should wash them by hand or machine with water and soap at least once a day. If you’re a frontline worker or stationed in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, consider changing your fabric mask every few hours if possible. You can also iron your mask after washing it for extra protection against germs.
2. Adjust your mask for a better fit
If your mask doesn’t fit right, you’d be more inclined to tug at it throughout the day. That could cause facial abrasions and ear pain. To help your mask fit snugly and prevent soreness, you can try DIY hacks such as making your own ear guard out of fabric scraps (above) or sewing buttons on the sides of your cap.
For more easy DIY tips and tricks, check out our guide.
Neutrogena LABS Hydrating Micellar Jelly Make-up Remover (S$19.95), Hydrating Micellar Gel Cleanser (S$20.95), Clarifying Micellar Jelly Make-up Remover (S$19.95), and Clarifying Micellar Gel Cleanser (S$20.95) are available at all leading supermarkets. The products are also available at Guardian, Watsons, and Lazada.