Tips And Tricks To Maintain Skin Health Indoors With Dr. Lin

Eric Shiah, B.A., contributed to this article.

SkincarePhoto Credit: ShutterstockDr. Samuel Lin is a double board-certified Plastic Surgeon and Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School who practices in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Lin is an active Board Member of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Bright Pink Foundations. Dr. Lin is active in both basic science and clinical research with a focus on face/neck/nose surgery (rhinoplasty), breast surgery (reduction, lift, and reconstruction), and body contouring. He collaborates with engineers, scientists, and other plastic surgeons at other institutions within the New England area, nationally, and internationally. He is the editor of several medical textbooks including Aesthetic Atlas of the Head and Neck, Atlas of Body Contouring, and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Pearls of Wisdom and Pearls of Wisdom Second and Third Editions. Haute Beauty Expert Dr. Samuel Lin discusses suitable skincare routines to help maintain your skin while being indoors for long periods of time.

For many of us, spending a lot more time indoors especially during the winter months has become the new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many elements of our previous lives have undergone significant changes. Although some good things have come with the change, such as working from home in comfortable pajamas, staying indoors for months has taken a toll for many, both psychologically and physically.

A change in our skin health and condition is one common effect of spending too much time indoors. Have you been experiencing more breakouts despite keeping up with your skincare routine? Or perhaps you are struggling with unpredictable skin? What’s going on?

Fortunately, the best time to optimize and commit to an effective skincare routine is when you have plenty of time indoors.

Dryness, Air Conditioning, and Heat

Although you may not notice it, the air in our homes tends to be dry. This is further compounded with the use of air conditioning or heating. Dry indoor air can strip the skin of its natural moisture, leading to alterations in the skin pH balance, decreased skin elasticity, and increased roughness. More severe or prolonged cases of dry skin can result in cracked skin, itchiness, and increased sensitivity to irritants.

As there are times during the year where air conditioning and heating are absolutely necessary, there are a few home remedies that can help combat dry skin. Steamy, hot showers may feel great, but they can also dry out the natural oils in our skin. Taking quick showers with warm or cool water can leave your skin feeling more refreshed. In addition, the best time to apply lotion to your skin is right after you get out of the shower. A rich cream lotion can seal the moisture in your skin and help create an effective skin barrier. Furthermore, using a humidifier can restore some moisture into the air in your room or home.

Keeping skin hydrated from the ‘inside out’ is important too. Since our skin, the barrier between our body and the environment, drinking at least 2 liters of water a day can keep the skin healthy and hydrated.

Dr. LinPhoto Credit: ShutterstockStress-induced breakouts? You are not alone.

Prolonged self-isolation can be stressful. Studies have shown that social isolation significantly affects mental and physical health. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol, which causes the body to overproduce oil and lead to breakouts. Although you may not notice this type of stress the same way you do with, for example, meeting a project deadline, it can be a sign that your body is stressed out.

If you find your typical skincare routine insufficient in controlling your breakouts, there are a few options you can try to reduce your overall stress levels. Finding some time every day to get some sun exposure can enhance your mood and improve sleep. It can be as simple as opening your window or standing on your balcony for 15 to 20 minutes. When increasing your sunlight exposure, don’t forget to apply sunscreen! Harmful radiation can still reach you indoors, especially if you work near a window. Applying sunscreen will allow you to receive the sunlight you need while staying protected from harmful UV radiation. Indoor meditation and exercises are also great ways to relax and refocus.

While these precautionary methods can be very effective, sometimes additional help is needed to keep our skin healthy. Exfoliation can be done at home or at an office. Your plastic surgeon or dermatologist can also offer supplemental skincare routine options such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion to restore skin complexion and glow.