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Lockdown skin: Managing the effect of stress on your skin

Has your skin got worse during lockdown? Here’s how to manage signs of stress on the complexion.

Lockdown has been an extremely challenging time for both our minds and bodies, and the skin is one area where you may have noticed stress reveal itself pretty quickly. From spending more time indoors, to comfort eating and rising cortisol levels, it’s no surprise that acne breakouts, eczema and dryness have risen.

So, to help restore your complexion to pre-lockdown standards, we look at the different factors that may have affected your skin and our top tips on managing them.

The effects of stress on the skin


There’s no getting way from the stress of a global pandemic so this is one major factor that may be responsible for your skin breaking out. When we feel stressed, the body releases a hormone called cortisol which tells our bodies to prepare for danger. Not only does this increase the heart rate and blood pressure, but it increases sebum production too – which may explain why you’ve experienced more breakouts and oiliness during lockdown.


If stress has become a factor that affects your everyday life, you should take active steps to manage it. Try to introduce daily guided meditations using apps such as Calm and Headspace and make sure you’re taking regular exercise and going for a walk each day. You can also help to take control of breakouts with La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Purifying Cleansing Gel - a fresh, foaming, gel facial wash specially formulated for oily, blemish-prone skin. This can be followed with Effaclar Duo+, an anti-blemish moisturiser hydrates the skin, leaving it looking noticeably clearer in just four weeks.

Comfort eating

You may have found yourself reaching for the biscuits and chocolate more than often during lockdown. But consuming too much food and drink with a high sugar content can cause inflammation in the skin due to its high glycaemic index. This inflammation can create a number of skin concerns such as eczema and premature ageing.


If your skin has become more problematic, it may be time to take a break from the snack tin. Start swapping your morning coffee and biscuits for plenty of water, fresh fruit and vegetables, and if you’ve also been enjoying a glass or two of wine each night, don’t forget that alcohol also contains lots of sugar and can have a detrimental impact on your skin. You can also help to restore moisture levels in the skin with La Roche-Posay’s Lipikar AP+M. This hydrating and soothing balm is suitable for use on dry skin that feels itchy, including eczema prone skin.

Too much time indoors

Lockdown restrictions have meant that we’ve all had to spend a lot more time indoors than usual so your skin may be lacking in vitamin D that comes from sunlight. Vitamin D is important to skin health as it can help prevent skin ageing, boost the mood and immunity and help the body fight infection. It’s important to remember, however, that you only need around 15 minutes of sunshine each day to top up your vitamin D levels and leaving the skin exposed to UV rays (without broad-spectrum sunscreen) and pollution can cause structural damage and impact your overall health.


Now that lockdown restrictions have been relaxed to a certain extent, it’s important that you spend more time outdoors – not only to benefit your vitamin D levels but your overall wellbeing too. But while enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, it’s vital that you protect your skin from pollution and UV rays as both can damage the skin, depleting it of collagen, elasticity and hydration.

La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios range has sunscreens for adults and children with formulations suitable for oily, sensitive and dry skin types. Anthelios Ultra-Light Invisible Fluid SPF 50+ is a lightweight sunscreen for the face that sits perfectly beneath makeup, making it a great option for those daily walks. A serum such as La Roche-Posay’s Pure Vitamin C10 serum also makes the perfect partner to sunscreen as it helps the skin defend itself from free-radical damage in the environment. Formulated with 10% vitamin C, salicylic acid and neurosensine, it will help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and ageing signs, improve radiance and leave the skin more hydrated.

Change in hygiene levels

When there was nowhere to go and no one to see, many of us saw little point in sticking to our usual standards of cleanliness. You may have washed your hair less and taken fewer showers, and spent more time wearing pyjamas and loungewear than you ever normally would. And while this is totally understandable, it may have left your skin a little neglected. The result? Congestion, breakouts, dullness and more pronounced ageing signs.


You can help to restore radiance and clarity in your skin by reintroducing a good daily skincare routine in the morning and before bed. Cleanse your skin with a gentle cleanser such as Effaclar H Cleansing Cream and help to brighten and protect the complexion with La Roche-Posay’s Pure Vitamin C10 serum. In the evening, you can also help to address concerns such as dehydration, uneven skin tone, and lines and wrinkles with Retinol B3 Serum. Suitable for sensitive skin, it has a unique formulation that is clinically proven to firm, fill and smooth – ideal for when your skin needs some extra TLC.

Learn more about stress and acne

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