How All Remote Everything Impacts Your Skin

No one ever anticipated how much time we’d be spending looking at our own faces in the year 2020. All of our social interactions with friends and family, important meetings with colleagues, and even big events are now happening inside our screens, with little squares of our faces staring back at us during every interaction.

And with all this time on Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts and more, it’s taken a serious toll on our self-perception and confidence. “Staring at our faces, often at unflattering angles and with suboptimal lighting, is not helpful for our self esteem,” explains Dr. Hadley King, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City.

Similar to the way in which being on TV can “add ten pounds” — or so the saying went — Zoom calls can really alter our reality of what we may actually look like to others were we face-to-face. Because we’re spending so much time looking at ourselves regularly through the screen, you might be noticing the wrinkles, sagging, dullness, or acne on your face, more so than if you were having in-person interactions.

Truly, the easiest remedy is to just adjust the settings on your video calls, so you aren’t seeing your face in every meeting. But if that isn’t an option, consider the below ingredients to tackle any of the skin concerns you’ve been noticing more this year. 

If you’re noticing wrinkles, crow’s feet and fine lines, try retinol

Nothing targets wrinkles and fine lines quite like retinol, which speeds cell turnover and promotes collagen production in order to smooth and firm skin. To get those perks, try the Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask, which contains moisturizing avocado, exfoliating polyhydroxy acid (PHA), and encapsulated retinol to exfoliate, renew and replenish skin overnight.

What’s the best time to start using retinol? We break down the how and when here.

“The great thing about this mask is that it’s very lightweight, leaving no greasy residue behind,” explains Michele Green, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “You will achieve a healthier, more youthful appearance that comes with diminished visible lines and wrinkles, repaired skin elasticity and improved skin texture. This product can be used two to three times per week at bedtime right after cleansing the face.” If the crow’s feet around your eyes seem more pronounced, however, consider trying the Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask, which delivers similar benefits to the delicate eye area.

If you’re noticing dull skin, try highlighting serum

On screen, skin can look two-dimensional — not to mention dull, especially if you don’t have a ring light on hand. No worries: A highlighting serum can both brighten skin long-term and offer an immediate, light-catching gleam on skin. A skincare-makeup hybrid, such as  Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops, can help give skin a dewy glow (so much so, your coworkers may even comment on it during your next touchbase).

In addition to niacinamide, an antioxidant beloved for its brightening abilities, “it’s formulated with pure watermelon, which contains antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin A,” says Dr. Green. “These active ingredients all work synergistically to improve the skin’s texture and moisture level, leaving the skin dewy and rejuvenated.”  

If you’re noticing breakouts, try exfoliating acids 

Depending on the angle and your lighting, acne might look even more bumpy or inflamed on-screen. The good news? Incorporating gentle acids, such as PHA, alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), and beta hydroxy acid (BHA), into your skincare routine can help exfoliate dead skin cells and prevent breakouts from popping up.

“These dissolve the bonds that hold dull, dead skin cells on the surface of the skin so the skin will gently shed, revealing smoother, brighter skin underneath,” explains Dr. King. “The difference is that while AHAs are water soluble and work on the surface of the skin, BHAs are oil-soluble — so they can penetrate into pores, and are able to work on the surface of the skin as well as inside the pore.”

There’s a right way to wash your skin to keep it healthy and smooth. Here’s how to do it properly.

BHAs are therefore ideal for anyone dealing with clogged pores (the primary cause of acne). “BHAs can help reduce blackheads, whiteheads, pimples and milia,” says Dr. King. “They also have anti-inflammatory, skin-calming properties, so they are gentle enough even for sensitive skin prone to redness or rosacea.” If that sounds familiar, try Watermelon Glow PHA + BHA Pore Tight Toner, which features BHAs and PHAs, watermelon, cactus water, and hyaluronic acid minimize the appearance of pores and slough away dead skin cells, too. 

Another cause for concern? Blue light!

With so much screen time comes way too much blue light exposure. While blue light definitely isn’t as harmful as UV sunlight might be on the skin, it’s still something you can and should try to treat and prevent. Recent studies have shown that long-term blue light exposure can cause skin damage, including color changes, inflammation, and weakening of the skin’s surface.

“Niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3, can be used to fade age spots as well as lighten discoloration of the skin,” says Dr. Green. Niacinamide, the star ingredient found in the Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops, is effective with hyperpigmentation because it decreases the number of melanin transferred to pigment producing cells (melanocytes) to cells in the epidermis (keratinocyte) by more than half, according to Dr. Green. “It doesn’t stop the production of melanin, but it does reduce the amount that is transferred to skin—it’s also extremely stable and is not affected by heat or light.” So, while Dew Drops is an effective liquid highlighter, consider this a reason to use it as an allover serum or primer, too.

Bottom line: Don’t sweat the small stuff

Let’s face it: being on camera all day can be tough on your self-esteem. While there are ingredients out there that can help reduce the appearance of whichever skin concern might be more noticeable on camera, it’s important to remember that what you might notice more about yourself, others probably don’t notice at all. Plus, think about all the time you spend looking at yourself on these video calls…you really think the person you’re Zooming with isn’t doing the same to their own face, throughout your conversation? Think again!

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