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Skincare during the pandemic: essential tips to prevent dry and flaking skin


Washing hands and wearing face-masks are key steps to preventing COVID-19 – but they can also dry out your skin and cause various skin rashes.

With winter fast approaching, it’s important to consider your skincare routine to ensure your skin is protected during the colder months, when skin can get dry and itchy.

Dr Thivi Maruthappu, Consultant Dermatologist at Highgate Private Hospital, explains:

Moisturising is key

  • When cleansing, think about switching to a moisturising or oil-based cleanser, as these successfully remove dirt, make-up and pollution without drying your skin.

Knowing what soap goes on your skin is important

  • Avoid using soaps which strip the natural oils – these oils form part of our skin ‘barrier’ and work to prevent further moisture loss. As a rule of thumb, it is usually best to ditch the traditional bar soap, particularly if you have dry or sensitive skin.

A special effort is required during these unprecedented times

  • I’m seeing more patients with dry, cracked hands from handwashing and alcohol gel in light of Covid-19. Regular application of rich moisturisers containing barrier-boosting niacinamide and shea butter can help to leave skin smooth and supple.

Locking in moisture will be even more effective

  • You might benefit from a richer moisturiser when it’s particularly cold. Look for a combination of effective moisturising ingredients such as Hyaluronic acid, glycerin and dimethicone which attract and lock-in moisture without blocking pores, so they are perfect for use under masks and avoiding “Maskne”.

Frequent application goes a long way

  • Apply your creams after washing and reapply frequently throughout the day. Some of my patients benefit from slathering on a thick layer of moisturiser under cotton gloves at night, as this helps creams penetrate deeper.

See a specialist

  • Inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and rosacea can flare up with seasonal changes. Seeing a consultant dermatologist can help find the solution and discover what works best for you. At Highgate Hospital our team is highly experienced and we provide personalised advice tailored to the needs and lifestyles of our patients.

About Thivi Maruthappu

Dr Thivi Maruthappu is a Consultant Dermatologist who has clinics at Highgate Hospital on Wednesdays.

To book an appointment email or call 020 8108 7031.

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