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Older lady looking in a mirror while putting cream on her face

Lockdown skin care

Between spending more time indoors, mask-wearing and central heating, this year the winter months have been especially unkind to our skin. Here beauty expert Jocelyn Bailey shares her top tips and Healthspan products to help.

Central heating

Heating sucks water from the skin, causing dry-out and itchy, flaky patches. Compensate with mild facial cleansers and follow with a rich moisturiser. If it's your body that feels itchy and dry, avoid long, hot baths and showers and invest in a humidifier.

Advice: Slather on Replenish Body Butter, which has intense hydrating benefits and sinks in effortlessly. Don't forget the often-neglected areas, either; heating can be especially drying for our hands and feet. Try the Soothing Foot & Heel Balm containing luxurious avocado oil, shea butter and almond oil to soften rough, dry soles.

Indoor pollution

The list of contributors here ranges from bacteria, dead skin cells and dust, to mildew and mould, all of which contribute to irritation, dehydration, infection and inflammation.

In addition, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which are chemicals from candles, cleaning products, laundry detergent, house paint, furniture polish, aerosol deodorants, air fresheners and hairspray, contribute to dermatitis, eczema, pigmentation and signs of ageing.

Worse still is cigarette smoke, which is absorbed directly through the skin membrane, leading to lines, wrinkles and sensitivity.

Advice: Vacuum regularly, stop smoking and cleanse your face twice daily with  Replenish Cream Cleanser. Complete the process with Replenish Gentle Toner, which works like a final rinse. Both contain conditioning agents and phytoestrogens to lock in moisture and improve firmness and radiance.

Happy lady cleaning her face with a cotton padCleaning your face twice a day will help protect it against indoor pollution

Lack of vitamin D

We may have found ourselves spending more time indoors lately, and this can have an impact on our levels of vitamin D, given the primary source of vitamin D is sunlight.

Dr Nisa Aslam from the Health & Food Supplements Information Service says, "the skin not only creates vitamin D from sunshine, but also responds to it using special vitamin D receptors. Vitamin D helps produce and maintain skin cells for healthy barrier function, while insufficient levels are linked to inflammation, poor skin health and dryness, as well as a range of skin conditions including acne, rosacea and psoriasis.

Advice: Make sure you're getting your quota for both skin health and general health. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) advises that all adults living in the UK should take a daily supplement containing 10mcg of Vitamin D throughout the year, including in the winter months.

Avoiding maskne

Maskne is the pithy term for breakouts that can result from wearing face masks and shields. Besides twice-daily cleansing, use a regular exfoliator to keep skin free of pore-clogging particles. Try the Skin Brightening Facial Exfoliator, which uses rice starch, grape seed and papaya to brighten and renew. Massage gently into damp skin and rinse off.

Advice: Remember to clean everything that touches your skin, including pillowcases, make-up brushes, sponges, flannels and even your phone. Do it regularly.

Anti-bacterial gels

These gels are meant for your hands, but studies show that we touch our faces more than 20 times an hour. The anti-bacterial properties of such gels can affect the normal flora of your face, while the high alcohol content is drying – another reason to wash your hands instead of 'gelling' whenever possible.

Advice: Always wash your hands with warm water not hot, then towel dry with a gentle blotting action – that goes for your face, too.

Stress

Stress produces cortisol, a hormone necessary for fight-or-flight. It works by raising blood pressure, heart rate and metabolism for energy readiness, but it also increases oil production, which is what contributes to breakouts and spots. Avoid harsh, stripping cleansers and stick to mild skin care formulations (like Replenish Cream Cleanser) instead.

Advice: Be gentle with your entire being. The better you look after yourself, body and soul, the better your general health and immunity should be, and the calmer your skin should be, too.

Jocelyn Bailey has been a health and beauty journalist for over 30 years, including 10 as beauty editor of Woman magazine. She is an expert in top-to-toe beauty, with a particular interest in ingredients.

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