How our personal care routines have changed with confinement

Since confinement began, we have been gradually changing our daily routines. As our time at home has lengthened, our personal care preferences and needs have changed.

Here, we detail some of the changes  in personal care routine and a future perspective for post-confinement routines.

1. From sun protection to blue light

We have changed from being concerned about the effects of solar radiation on our skin, to being at home all day moving from the computer screen to the smartphone, television or tablet.

Much of our leisure comes now from a screen; with video calls, series or e-books. However, the fact that we are not so exposed to solar radiation does not prevent our skin from being exposed to a type of radiation that damages it. This radiation is called blue light, which is emitted by screens.

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Blue light is a type of radiation between ultraviolet and infrared that is also emitted by the sun and, like solar radiation, generates oxidative stress on skin cells, producing free radicals that accelerate aging (1). In addition, blue light can cause the appearance of spots on the skin. This is because melanocytes have a type of receptor called opsins, which detect this type of radiation (2). Specifically, opsin type 3 regulates the formation of melanin and pigmentation in melanocytes, so that when it is activated, the formation of spots occurs in turn the production of melanin (3).

To reduce the effects of blue radiation, it is advisable to use products with sun protection factor, even when you are at home. In addition, to reduce the effects of oxidative stress on the skin, it is recommended to use products with antioxidant agents that reduce the formation of free radicals.

2. Pollution is not only present in the city

Inside the house we can find elements that pollute the air and that, in case of excessive concentration, can harm our health.These types of compounds are called volatile compounds and come from the combustion in fires (such as tobacco or chimney smoke) and the use of certain cleaning products.

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The skin protects us against these chemical compounds, however, prolonged and repetitive exposure of high levels of these volatile compounds produces negative effects on it. Like solar radiation and blue light, pollution induces oxidative stress and, therefore, promotes aging. Furthermore, pollution induces inflammation and worsens skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis or acne (4). In relation to the volatile compounds that we can find at home, it has recently been observed that indoor pollution induces cell death (apoptosis) of keratinocytes, which reduces the structure of the skin and its protective capacity (5).

To protect the skin from volatile compounds that can damage it, it is advisable to perform skin cleaning routines with mild cleansing products, followed by products that hydrate and contain antioxidant ingredients that reduce damage by oxidative stress, as well as ingredients that improve barrier function of the skin.

3. Stress and well-being

Being at home is not always synonymous of relaxation. Confinement makes us to be worried, tired and stressed, what can be reflected on your skin.Stress damages the skin inducing its inflammation, it activates the immune and endocrine systems resulting in redness, production of psoriatic plaques and increased production of sebum, that results in more acne and worsening of seborrheic dermatitis (6).

Therefore, if our skin becomes more oily with stress, the ideal is to follow a cleansing routine that removes excess of oil, and then to hydrate the skin. In cases of skin with problems such as psoriasis or dermatitis, it is best to consult a dermatologist.

Not only the skin suffers from stress, so the ideal is to try to reduce stress in general. The World Health Organization recommends continuing to exercise during confinement; fitness, yoga or meditation are activities recommended by the WHO to reduce stress at home, since they do not require large spaces or special equipment (7).

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What will happen next?

Our personal care and purchase habits after confinement are unknown, we have never seen ourselves in such a situation, so many are looking for predictions and studies that could give us the clues about the future behavior of the skin care market.

Online shopping: Consulting firm PFS says that confinement will have a lasting effect on consumer behavior. According to this study, consumers, in this case from the United Kingdom, will continue to buy online even after the end of confinement, seeing its advantages (8).

Well-being: Although it is still early to talk about the end of quarantine, several studies indicate that self-care routines acquired during this period, such as yoga or skin care routines, will continue after the end of confinement. We will seek wellness and health from all angles, acquiring more healthy habits (9).

Science becomes more important: More and more cosmetic consumers purchase based on the scientific results of the products. According to Sofía Chalmers of the consulting firm Mintel; Ingredient-based products with relevant scientific results add value to the cosmetic product, which is increasingly demanded by consumers.

Although the trend of consumers for cosmetic products with natural ingredients will continue to grow, at the same time the consumption of science-based skin care products that mimic the results of dermatological treatments, the so-called cosmeceuticals, has increased. Thus, it can be concluded that skin care, as a general category, would continue to boom worldwide throughout the year 2020 (10).

  1. Arjmandi, N., Mortazavi, G., Zarei, S., Faraz, M., & Mortazavi, S. (2018). Can Light Emitted from Smartphone Screens and Taking Selfies Cause Premature Aging and Wrinkles?. Journal of biomedical physics & engineering, 8(4), 447–452.
  2. Haltaufderhyde, K., Ozdeslik, R. N., Wicks, N. L., Najera, J. A., & Oancea, E. (2015). Opsin expression in human epidermal skin. Photochemistry and photobiology, 91(1), 117–123.
  3. Ozdeslik, R. N., Olinski, L. E., Trieu, M. M., Oprian, D. D., & Oancea, E. (2019). Human nonvisual opsin 3 regulates pigmentation of epidermal melanocytes through functional interaction with melanocortin 1 receptor. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(23), 11508–11517.
  4. Drakaki, E., Dessinioti, C., Antoniou, C.V. (2014) Air pollution and the skin. Environ. Sci., 2 (11).
  5. Shaorui Ke, Qi Liu, Mengsi Deng, Xinlian Zhang, Yuhan Yao, Ming Shan, Xudong Yang, Guodong Sui. Cytotoxicity analysis of indoor air pollution from biomass combustion in human keratinocytes on a multilayered dynamic cell culture platform (2018) Chemosphere, 208: 1008-1017.
  6. Cheng, Y., Lyga J. Brain-skin Connection: Stress, Inflammation and Skin Aging. (2014). Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets, 13(3): 177-190.

Cover image by Renate Köppel from Pixabay