Have YOU got ‘lockdown’ face? 11 warning signs to look for – and easy ways to fix them

ONE in four women reckon the lockdowns have aged them – as well as causing facial breakouts or dry, greying skin.

Research by Glowday, a marketplace for non-surgical cosmetic treatments, suggested women felt being indoors was wreaking havoc with their complexions.

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Dr Ross Perry, medical director of cosmedics.co.uk, agrees, saying: “Known as ‘lockdown face’, lack of vitamin D, cranked-up heating and staring at screens is having an impact on our skin.”

He and Jennifer Rock, founder of Skingredients, tell Siobhan O’Connor about the phenomenon of lockdown face . . . and offer their solutions.

Dry patches on forehead from lack of vitamin D

Jennifer Rock says: “We are used to less vitamin D in winter but all this time indoors has seen our intake drop even further.

“Healthy levels can prevent skin from ageing, while low levels can worsen skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

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"As a result, you may experience dry and sometimes itchy patches on your forehead or the rest of your face.”

SOLUTION: Take a daily vitamin-D supplement of at least ten micrograms (400 IU) all year round. This will get you the necessary dose.

For existing dry patches, try a barrier cream to restore and heal.

Try Vitamin D3 1000 IU tablets, £6.59, Holland & Barrett.

Chapped lips and nose from central heating

Jennifer says: “Low humidity and temperatures mean our skin’s barrier function isn’t functioning optimally, so the water meant for the skin passes through the outer layer and evaporates, therefore making the skin dry.

“But it’s not realistic to stay away from changing temperatures, especially when your walk or run is your most exciting plan for the day.”

SOLUTION: Increase your fats. Eat more omega and foods rich in essential fatty acid, such as salmon, walnuts and flaxseed.

These are key for the maintenance of healthy skin.

Apply fats with skincare ingredients such as ceramides, shea butter and nourishing plant oils.

Breakouts due to homeschooling stress

Dr Perry says: “Stress causes the body to release hormones like cortisol, which tells glands in your skin to make more oil — often leading to acne and other skin problems.

“A busy home environment, poor diet and more alcohol can also cause breakouts.”

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SOLUTION: Stick to a routine of cleansing morning and night, using non-comedogenic products.

If you have time, try more self-care, like a facial steam or relaxing in the bath with Epsom salts, which flush out toxins.

If breakouts are the result of wearing a mask, try a salicylic-acid cleanser to bust spots.

Try salicylic-acid cleanser, £10.99, The Inkey List at cultbeauty.co.uk.

Fine lines from squinting at screens

Dr Ross Perry says: “Over-exposure to high levels of artificial light from devices can speed up the ageing process.

“On average, an office worker can spend up to ten hours looking at a computer, while millennials check their phone up to 150 times a day.

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“This causes more strain, as our eyes blink 50 per cent less per minute. Tired eyes leads to more squinting and this, along with frowning, makes wrinkles develop.”

SOLUTION: Set a time limit on your phone apps to remind you to put it down.

Look for eye creams containing ceramides. These form a skin barrier and help retain moisture, which is important when defending against screen light, pollution and temperature changes.

Massage in products in an upward direction to minimise the appearance of wrinkles.

Try CeraVe eye-repair cream, £12, lookfantastic.com.

Dry eyes from dust

Dr Perry says: “Dust and dirt build up more quickly with more time spent indoors.

“The lack of fresh air will make the room feel stuffy and cause sneezing, an itchy throat and dry, irritated eyes.

“Central heating also causes dehydration of the mucus membrane in the eyes, causing it to thicken and making eyes even dryer.”

SOLUTION: Try over-the-counter eye drops to alleviate symptoms or, if you can’t get outside, thoroughly rinse eyes with room-temperature water for 15 to 20 minutes.

It is really important to keep fresh air circulating, so open windows often.

Keep your workstation clean and clear and avoid rubbing eyes.

Pigmentation from blue light

Jennifer says: “Blue or HEV (high-energy visible) light from our screens reaches us just as UV rays do and has the ability to penetrate even deeper.

“HEV contributes to hyperpigmentation in some skin tones and can contribute to skin ageing.

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“As well as potentially causing dark patches on the skin, it can bring about a drop-off in our skin’s built-in antioxidant protection, so skin is more susceptible to damage from UV rays.”

SOLUTION: Change your screen display to Night Shift, under Settings, so the glow will give off an orange tint instead of blue.

Apps such as Iris can be downloaded for computers that do not have this setting.

Ingredients including zinc oxide, red-algae extract and lutein protect against blue light too. And sunscreens, at least 30SPF, are often good shields for your face.

Try Supergoop, £15, cult beauty.co.uk.

Redness from over snacking

Dr Perry says: “Cortisol, which is the hormone released when we are stressed, can also increase our cravings and a tendency to reach for snacks, which can leave our skin looking red and puffy — particularly for those who have naturally red skin or rosacea.

“It floods your body with fatty acids and saturated fats, excess sodium and sugars and refined carbohydrates, impacting your mood, energy and eventually your skin.”

SOLUTION: Look for healthy foods that are high on protein and fibre.

The protein in foods such as eggs and nuts will keep you feeling fuller for longer, while high-fibre foods like beans and spinach slow your digestion, keeping you full and preventing spikes or dips in blood sugar.

'Drinkles' and dullness from alcohol

Jennifer says: “Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it can dehydrate us. You may notice you look duller after drinking? We call it ‘drinkles’.

“The diuretic effect of alcohol also means you lose vitamins and nutrients faster, so your skin doesn’t get the nourishment to glow.

“Regularly drinking too much can also lead to puffiness around your cheeks and jawline.”

SOLUTION: The number of “high-risk” drinkers has almost doubled during lockdown, to 8.4million, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Drink in moderation and also have plenty of water.

Take time to massage in skincare products. This will help drain toxins and ease puffiness. Rest ice-cold spoons over puffy eyes.

'Tech neck' from hunching over a laptop

Dr Perry says: “Hunching over your laptop or phone can lead to ‘tech neck’ — a stiff, painful feeling — and occasional headaches.

“Tech neck is caused by craning your head down and forward.

“Over long, extended periods, this can cause problems to the spine and visible lines or sagging skin.

“So it’s important to regularly check your posture and change position frequently.”

SOLUTION: Posture-improving exercises several times a day will certainly help. While some simple stretches will help loosen muscles that may have cramped up.

Before starting work, roll back your shoulders to check you are seated correctly, with feet flat on the floor and your laptop or computer screen stacked on books to reach eye level.

Holly, 39: Breakout and red patches

BRIGHTON musician Holly Sale has seen her skin flare up into sore, red rashes.

She says: “Staying in with the central heating always on has dried my skin out.

“It was fine during previous lockdowns, as the weather was warmer and I was outside exercising more. But this time, my skin has become sensitive and reactive.

“It is normally clear, smooth, bright and only occasionally gets dry.

"But the lack of fresh air and sunlight, always having the radiators on and Covid stresses have taken their toll.

“I’ve tried to soothe the redness but over-moisturising just led to further breakouts on my nose and chin.”

Itzel, 34: Dry lips and eye bags

ITZEL RODRIGUEZ, a activities co-ordinator and student from Bristol, is suffering with cracked lips, dry skin and visible bags under her eyes.

She says: “During the summer, I enjoyed exercising outside and my skin looked much better. But this third lockdown has had a much bigger impact on my skin.

“Coming in from the cold with the heating on has caused my lips to become dry and cracked, while sitting in front of a screen all day has made me mentally tired.

"This shows under my eyes, as my bags have become darker and more obvious.

“I’ve never suffered with skin conditions before and often people tell me I look a lot younger than my age. But this lockdown has aged me.”

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