Skincare tips during the Covid-19 pandemic

Dr Shristi Shah

  • Read Time 6 min.

Many of us may have adopted a more easy-going attitude towards beauty and skincare amid a global pandemic and an indefinite period of lockdown. But instead, with all the time you have in your hands, you should make the most of this opportunity to unwind, relax and give your skin all the care that it needs. A simple morning and evening skincare ritual and a few healthy habits will not only structure your day, but will also have a huge positive impact on your physical and mental well-being.

Skin is the largest organ of our body, and it reflects our overall well-being. Having a consistent skincare regimen is the key to healthy, beautiful, and glowing skin. From following a healthy diet to exercising regularly to being conscious about the products you use, you need to take time for yourself to keep your skin at its best.

Knowing your skin

Skincare needs to be individualized. Getting familiar with our own skin’s unique fluctuations and changes is the key to customize a skincare routine rather than being overwhelmingly influenced by the influx of information and product. Our skin is often influenced by various factors. Age, hormones, diet, weather, environment, cosmetics, and stress can all, directly or indirectly, affect how our skin looks and feels.


Adequate hydration is essential to maintain good skin and complexion. Hydrating your body is the key to replenishing water in the cells to lock in moisture, boosting that soft, plump, and glowing feel. You should drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. If you’re not consuming an ample amount of water, your skin may appear dull, lose its elasticity, and may have blemishes. Drinking water can also fend off pimple breakouts. So, if you want that glow, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!


It is also essential to understand which foods and drinks are beneficial for the skin. Nutrition directly correlates with various skin conditions such as acne, premature aging, and other inflammatory skin conditions. Therefore, it’s best to choose your food and drinks wisely.

Skin cells and the process of cellular turnover are reliant upon vitamins and nutrients from foods, so eating a healthy variety of vegetables, fruits, and low-fat, high protein meals can help keep your skin and body healthier. Fruit and vegetables contain powerful antioxidants that help to protect your skin from the cellular damage caused by free radicals.  

Adding a colorful assortment of dark greens and bright berries to your diet can help give you the vitamins and antioxidants you need. Similarly, Vitamin C is a super antioxidant. It is needed to support the immune system, promote radiant skin and help clear blemishes. The best sources are blackcurrants, broccoli, guava, kiwi, oranges, papaya, strawberries, and sweet potatoes.

The ‘fab four’ fruits, namely blackberry, blueberry, strawberry and plum have the highest ‘total antioxidant content’ of any food, according to studies. Also, foods high in Vitamin E, like almonds and avocados, can protect skin from oxidative damage and support healthy skin growth. Similarly, Omega-3 Fatty Acids found in fish like salmon and many types of nuts can help with cell turnover, mitigate dry skin, and reduce inflammation.  

From following a healthy diet to exercising regularly to being conscious about the products you use, you need to take time for yourself to keep your skin at its best.

Likewise, foods high in trans-fat act against hydration and increase inflammation. So, its best to avoid margarine, deep fried foods and junk food to maintain a healthy skin. Also, limit foods and drinks high in sugar and fructose such as energy drinks, soda, sugary and alcoholic drinks as they may damage the essential fibers of the skin like collagen and elastin, which are needed for a good skin health. It is advisable that people with oily skin should eat less of white bread, potatoes, and macaroni made of soft wheat. These food substances have a high glycemic index that increases the productivity of the sebaceous glands and as a result, they produce more skin oil. Most importantly, avoid triggers. Even if there’s no scientific explanation for it, trust your skin. If you notice yourself having more breakouts or flareups after eating certain foods, avoid it.

Cleansing and Moisturizing

Good skincare also requires regular cleansing and moisturizing. Cleansing is essential to remove dirt and dead skin cells. It also helps to prevent acne. While cleansing, use warm (not steamy hot) water on your skin. Cleansing, however, can dry out the skin by removing the oil on the skin, which retains moisture. So, it’s best to use a gentle face wash followed by a moisturizer to keep your skin from over-drying.

For normal skin types, it is good practice to wash your face twice daily. For more sensitive skin, you may wash twice daily with a gentle cream cleanser. Avoid using strong antibacterial cleansers or cleansers containing fragrances. For dry skin, creamy cleansers are recommended that are more moisturizing than foaming cleansers, which are rather more suitable for oily skin.

For your body, you probably don’t need as much soap as you think! Use your cleanser/soap to lather up only the parts of your skin that are soiled or have body odor glands. This includes your armpits, groin, buttocks, and feet. If you have oily skin, you also need to use a cleanser on the oily areas of your back, neck, and chest.

Also, exfoliation can brighten up the skin, reduce dullness, remove dead skin cells that clog pores, and help your skin absorb the skincare products that you apply. However, you need to keep in mind that over-exfoliating can cause irritation and inflammation, which can lead to acne, dryness, and premature aging. It’s best to exfoliate once or twice a week.

Similarly, the type of moisturizer you use is equally important. A heavier moisturizer should be used at night, while a thinner, lighter moisturizer is recommended for daytime use. Oily skin generally needs a lighter moisturizer such as a gel or lotion to prevent clogging of pores and acne, while sensitive or easily irritated skin may need cream or ointment. If you have dry skin, opt for something thicker.

Considering that we are in the midst of a pandemic and are required to have our masks on most occasions, we need to take extra care of our skin during this time. Masks can trap sweat and irritate your skin, causing breakouts. One of the key steps in preventing this acne is washing your face and your mask regularly and using an oil-free moisturizer and as little makeup as possible. 


Sunscreen is one of the single most important things you can do for your skin. Sunscreen is essential during the daytime, whether you are indoors or outdoors and whether you have your masks on or not. When applied correctly, sunscreen protects your skin against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, which cause sunburn, skin cancer, and premature skin aging, like wrinkles and age spots.

For the best protection, apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30 or higher to all skin not covered by clothing, and reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating. You can also consider using a moisturizer that also contains sunscreen. Keep in mind that no sunscreen can block 100% of the sun’s UV rays. Therefore, it’s also important to seek shade and wear sun-protective clothing when outdoors. For more effective sun protection, select clothing and umbrellas with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) label.


Additionally, exercising regularly can also promote skin health. By increasing blood flow, exercise helps nourish skin cells and keep them vital. However, several skin conditions can be exacerbated by physical activity, including rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. But, that’s no reason not to exercise. The benefits of exercise definitely outweigh any temporary disadvantages it can cause.

It would be best if you simplify your skincare routine as much as possible. Less is more when it comes to skincare. Using too many products can irritate your skin. Instead, know your skin type and focus on the basics, such as a gentle cleanser, sunscreen, and moisturizer. Establish morning and nighttime skincare routines that work well for your skin, and stick to them.

Stay hydrated, exercise regularly, eat healthily, and cut down your alcohol intake.   Also, when in doubt, have a baseline skin assessment, and if you have any underlying problems, your skin specialist can guide you in the right direction.

Dr Shristi Shah is a Consultant Dermatologist.