While 2020 may have felt like the longest year, unfortunately, there is one aspect of the pandemic that may have been accelerated — aging skin.
According to board-certified dermatologist Rajani Katta, MD, FAAD, clinical assistant professor at the Baylor College of Medicine, a combination of factors brought on by the pandemic are contributing to growing complaints of accelerated skin aging.
“Some of this has to do with perception and what I call ‘Zoom face’. Between the poor lighting, harsh shadows and strange angles in which we’re seeing ourselves on camera, it’s the equivalent of looking at our face for hours in an unflattering mirror,” said Dr. Katta. “In addition to more video calls, the pandemic has ushered in many sleepless nights and increased stress levels, which we know can contribute to premature skin aging.”
Dr. Katta is also seeing more patients who are experimenting with at-home treatments like peels and masks that can cause redness, irritation and flaking skin, which can make your skin appear older. Some patients who are experiencing skin irritation from wearing a face mask have had to stop using effective anti-aging products altogether during the pandemic. Finally, lifestyle changes that include less exercise and more unhealthy eating have contributed to accelerated skin aging.
Dr. Katta is available to discuss additional insights on how the pandemic is impacting people’s skin and offers these tips to her patients.
Five tips for combating aging skin during the pandemic:
- Adopt healthy coping strategies: These have been challenging times, and healthy coping strategies can help stabilize cortisol levels and improve sleep patterns, which is good for your skin and your overall health.
- Make prevention a priority: It’s important to continue prioritizing healthy skin care habits that can help prevent premature skin aging, like protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation outdoors, using effective skin care products, and avoiding smoking.
- Eat foods that are good for your skin: Research shows that foods rich in antioxidants can help boost our skin’s repair and regeneration processes.
- Choose the right skin care products: Select products that will work best for your skin type. If you’re experiencing skin redness or flaking, you may need to limit ingredients or products that can cause irritation, such as retinoids found in some anti-aging products.
- See a board-certified dermatologist: If you’re concerned about aging skin, see a board-certified dermatologist, who can help identify products and treatments — including non-invasive procedures — to help smooth wrinkles, tighten skin and improve your complexion.