Bad skincare habits have slipped into the beauty routines of many people during lockdown. In this article we’re going to look at five of the most common bad habits and how you can fix them.

Lockdown can be blamed for a lot of habits (good and bad) that we’ve picked up since March 2020.

Hands up who’s been guilty of eating more comfort food; lying on the sofa for hours in cosy, comfy, stretchy clothes watching back-to-back box-sets or enjoying the wine and gin a bit too much safe in the knowledge that there was no commute to work for a while?!

Come on, ‘fess up. You’re with friends now. We’ve all done one or two of those….maybe all three?

On the good habit side, maybe you’ve enjoyed more walks out in nature, done some online work-outs or learned a new skill?

When hair and beauty salons were shut, we had to fall back on YouTube videos and our best friend Google to find out how to colour our roots and tackle our skin breakouts.

Maybe after Christmas we thought Lockdown 2 (or 3, depending on where you lived in the UK) wouldn’t last too long, but it actually meant another five months without professional help to keep our skin looking and feeling its best.

Now that the UK vaccination programme is going so well, we’re hopeful that lockdowns are a thing of the past. So with salons opening up again, it’s a good time to take an honest look back on any bad skincare habits you have developed and how to fix them.

Bad skincare habit one – Lack of sleep

We’ve all lived through some scary and worrying times and that’s bound to have affected our sleep patterns. Has your sleep has been broken by waking up a lot in the night worrying about loved ones, work or the future? Perhaps the change in routine has thrown your sleep pattern out and you’ve got into the habit of going to bed much later than usual. Maybe you just had to watch one more episode on Netflix, and then another because you didn’t have to go the office next day.

Did you know that watching TV, or scrolling through social media and online news right up until you switch off the light at night is likely to result in poor quality and interrupted sleep?

All electronic screens give off broad-spectrum light, including HEV (High-Energy Visible) blue light that disrupts the body’s natural sleeping and waking rhythms. If you wake up in the night and put your Iphone or tablet back on for a bit more scrolling it can get even worse.

Lack of sleep – solution

Ideally, you should avoid all electronic screens for an hour before bedtime. A wind-down routine of a relaxing bath and reading a good old-fashioned book or print magazine is a much better preparation for sleep.

It’s called ‘beauty sleep’ for a reason. Your skin, like the rest of your body and brain, needs a solid eight or nine hours a night to rest, repair cells and be ready to defend itself against the world again the next day.

A generous alcoholic nightcap might seem like a good idea, and, like an anaesthetic it is likely to put you to sleep quite quickly, but you’re also more likely to wake again in the night, dehydrated or needing the loo. Then dropping off again becomes more difficult. A calming brew of a non-caffeine drink – such as a herbal tea containing chamomile or rose, or a warm, milky drink, is a much better bet.

Bad skincare habit two – Overlooking skin protection

Aside from disrupting your sleep, there are claims that too much HEV blue light can actually age your skin faster. Some experts say that too much daily exposure to blue light from electronic devices can lead to damage of the skin’s natural elastin and collagen supplies, causing lines and wrinkles.

Have you remembered to use SPF every time you’ve walked outside – even when the sun’s not out? What about indoors? Glass blocks the high-intensity UVB tays that give us sunburn, but the skin-damaging and ageing UVA light can still get through. If you send hours sitting beside a window, maybe working from home, it could be a factor in long-term skin damage. The results of HEV and UVA damage may not be seen for a long time, but if you want to have the best-looking and healthiest skin possible in years to come, you should act now.

Overlooking skin protection – solution

It’s a sensible precaution to try and minimise the amount of time your smart phone spends close to your face. If you’re still working remotely, or from home in the ‘new normal’, consider popping in headphones if you have to spend a lot of time on your mobile phone.

You can activate a setting on all your devices to automatically switch to ‘night mode’. This disables blue light in favour of yellow light, which is also kinder to your eyes.

Daily application of SPF is a must. We’d urge you to consider adopting the good habit of applying an SPF30 to your face every day. Try blending a small amount of sunscreen with your daily moisturiser as part of your daily skincare routine.

There are also skin supplements that can be blended into your nightly serum or cream to strengthen your skin’s defences against environmental stress factors such as pollution and HEV damage.

Bad skincare habit three – Self-diagnosis

While salons and beauty clinics have been shut, we’ve all had to rely on ourselves to work out what to do about skin flare-ups, breakouts, or blemishes. There’s also been Dr Google and maybe well-meaning friends to lean on for advice, but none of that is an effective substitution for analysis and advice from trained professionals.

Some of us have been tempted to try products we have bought online, which may have made a little skin problem bigger. This might be because they were the wrong products for you, or you misread or misunderstood how to use them for the best results.

Our skin doesn’t like being overloaded with products, especially those with strong, active ingredients that we might have seen advertised online. You may find that some active ingredients make your skin more prone to damage from the sun’s rays – so keep that SPF topped up.

Self-diagnosis – solution

If your skin looks and feels like it needs rescuing – either through neglect or trying too hard with products that aren’t quite right – make an appointment with your friendly neighbourhood skincare expert now that salons are re-opening.

At Avance Clinic, we’re registered AlumierMD skincare professionals and we use this science-backed, medical grade skincare brand in our treatments and supply it to our clients to use at home between appointments. We also offer laser technology through the M22™ machine, which can treat more than 30 skin conditions including acne, rosacea, thread veins, blackheads, whiteheads, pigmentation, open pores, scarring, fine lines and wrinkles.

We’d be very happy to offer you a consultation and advice on treatment and products that would suit your skin.

Bad skincare habit four: An unbalanced diet

Let’s look now at the issues of eating too much of the wrong thing and what that can mean for your skin.

Everyone needs and deserves a treat now and then, but if you’ve indulged in mountains of chocolate, homemade cakes and pastries, sugar-loaded drinks and maybe home-delivered doughnuts (Yes, doughnuts to your door is now a thing) you could be seeing your skin suffering as a result.

Stress can be a major driver in making us crave sweet, high-fat, calorie-laden goodies, and we’ve all had varying amounts of stress during successive lockdowns.

Too much sugar can cause glycation. This is a process through which sugar molecules attach themselves to other molecules such as proteins and fats. Collagen, the substance that gives our skin its natural elasticity, is one of the proteins that can be affected. Glycation also speeds up skin ageing by contributing to the creation of free radicals, oxidative stress and inflammation.

Sugar and refined carbohydrates cause a surge in production of the hormone insulin, which can lead to increased levels of testosterone and that can contribute to acne. An unbalanced diet can also stimulate the production of sebum leading to blocked skin pores.

An unbalanced diet – solution

Reducing your stress level is a good first step. Be more active, choosing anything you like whether that’s an energetic dance around the kitchen, more walking, running, cycling or exercises online or in the gym. Meditation and yoga can be calming. The distraction of a hobby or activity, listening to music, keeping a journal can all keep your mind off comfort eating.

More, good quality sleep is also important. As well as improving your mood it will reduce your body’s insulin sensitivity and dependency on glucose.

Check the labels of food and drinks for sugar levels you might not expect. Fructose often turns up in fruit drinks but also in sauces and salad dressings and many people think it causes more glycation than glucose.

Bad skincare habit five – Squeezing spots and blackheads

It’s always tempting to have a go at squeezing spots and blackheads and lockdown has made this bad habit even more common than usual.

Did you know that our bodies produce more of the hormone cortisol when we are stressed? This can lead to our sebaceous glands producing more oil and eventually causing spots. If you’ve got a bit lax about your daily skin cleansing routine in lockdown, this can also play a part in the spread of spots, blackheads and whiteheads. As a result, we may have more of them than usual right now.

DIY squeezing can cause scarring and tissue damage. Extraction tools bought online can also cause long term skin damage in the hands of the untrained.

Squeezing spots and blackheads – solution

Never tackle a painful cyst-like spot that looks red and raised but has no obvious ‘head’.

If you do give in to temptation and squeeze a spot in a bid to burst it, you must appreciate that you are causing a tear in the skin, which then needs time to heal and can leave a scar.

We believe that light therapy is a safer and more effective treatment for spots and we’d love to tell you how our M22™ machine could help clear up skin breakouts, along with the AlumierMD skincare products that we use in beauty treatments.

If you are going to go for some DIY squeezing, then steaming the skin first is essential. This will open the pores and soften the dirt, oil or pus inside them that has caused the spot or blackhead. You can do this by putting your face over a bowl of hot water or having a hot shower.

Next, wash your hands thoroughly to avoid transferring bacteria or dirt to the skin. Do this even if you are going to use a tissue over your fingers while you squeeze. Alternatively you can wear gloves or use two cotton buds dipped in a skin-friendly antiseptic.

We hope you have found these five fixes for bad skincare habits helpful. For any more information or advice, do contact us.