With the colder months often comes, well, an actual cold. Chances are your sniffles and scratchy throat may turn into a full-blown flu. But you know the drill—drink plenty of fluids and broth-y chicken soup, lean on nourishing fruits and veggies, add ginger to the menu if nausea strikes, and get lots of rest. Just like you choose the right foods while fighting an illness, you need to proceed with caution when picking your skincare routine. There are some otherwise healthy ingredients with a reputation for exacerbating dehydration and inflammation. Which skincare components are the biggest offenders and what should you rely on instead? Read on to check out our symptom-by-symptom guide to the skincare products that will soothe your symptoms. But be mindful of one caveat: Everyone reacts to different ingredients differently, even when sick.
To give your face a jolt of refreshment
When you’re sick, prying out of bed to cleanse your face may seem too cumbersome. Why not keep hydrating facial wipes handy to soak up fever-induced sweat? We suggest a pack infused with soothing ingredients like neem oil, calendula and aloe vera. A cool, comforting face mist can also be refreshing breath of fresh air. Choose a product with natural actives, hydrants, smells incredible and balances skin PH levels. A floral distillation can do the job and you can apply it as frequently as you like.
Try: MyGlamm Cleansing Towels; Kama Ayurveda Pure Lavender Water; Dr Sheth’s Indoor Protection Mist
To alleviate a headache
A mask to cool and calm down? If it has comforting elements like cucumber, papaya, lemon, orange and chamomile, why not. Headaches, or worse migraines, are among the worst symptoms of being sick. An overnight salve or even a sheet mask will be your best friend.
Try: Peter Thomas Cucumber Face Mask; Innisfree My Real Squeeze Sheet Mask
To help redness on the skin
Rosy cheeks may generally be an indication of good health, but flare-ups when you’re sick is debilitating. Illness and winter weather has a tendency to take a toll on the skin. If you have a sensitive skin, this means redness. Thankfully, there are a slew of calming components that are just the antidote for inflammation. Antioxidant-rich plant extracts, antioxidants like Vitamin E, comforting oils and probiotics have been known to really pass the redness-reducing test. Be watchful about overzealous exfoliation and triggers like isopropyl alcohol, strong fragrance and AHAs.
Try: Boscia Cool Blue Calming Mask; Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Relief Cream; Avene Antirougeurs Day Moisturizing Protecting Emulsion
To ease a runny nose
If tissues have become your go-to, your nose is probably paying the price. This will lead to redness as well as dry flaky skin. As a first step, you need a mild exfoliant with natural ingredients like sugar, walnuts or strawberry seeds that can lightly slough off rough patches. Then, slather a nourishing moisturiser that’s infused with ceramides and lipid-rich oils such as borage oil, jojoba oil, sesame seed oil, linolenic acid and shea butter that anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. A small dollop of petroleum jelly inside your nostrils will instantly calm and repair more cracked skin.
Try: Fresh Sugar Face Polish Exfoliator; Forest Essentials Revitalising Kashmiri Walnut Gel Scrub; L’Occitane Pure Shea Butter; Glamglow Glowstarter Mega Illuminating Moisturizer
To feel completely invigorated
Sick or not, hopping into a hot shower with a refreshing body wash is a good way to appease achy muscles and clear congestion. Switch your everyday wash with one boosted with natural peppermint, essential oils or eucalyptus leaves to clear a stuffy head, open up the nasal passages and stimulate circulation to give your skin a much needed glow.
Try: Bath & Body Works Tuberose Ylang Ylang Body Wash And Foam Bath; The Seaweed Bath Co Seaweed Body Wash With Eucalyptus & Peppermint
To heal chapped lips
From the many inconveniences of moisture-sapped weather and being sick, chapped lips is one of the worst. The first step to healing peeled lips is, however, not a thick balm. But a gentle scrub or mask with ingredients like berry extracts rich in Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid that’ll allow the moisturiser to penetrate. Top it off with a salve that contains honey, aloe vera, shea and cocoa butter or Vitamin E that act like humectants. Products that list menthol, camphor and phenol can be potentially irritating.
Try: Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask; Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Smoothing Sugar Scrub; Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1; Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Lip Balm SPF 15
To regenerate parched skin
You already know this, but it bears repeating that drinking lots of liquids is nonnegotiable when you’ve a cold or flu. The same way rehydrating your skin is just as imperative. A mild formula with electrolytes, fatty acids like ceramides, humectants like hyaluronic acid, honey, aloe vera or glycerin is best to restore a compromised skin barrier. Leave it on all night for super-soft, plump skin in the morning. It is advisable to keep potent ingredients like retinols at bay until you recover. Avoid dipping your fingers into the pot as a precaution to minimise the risk of re-infecting yourself with germs later. Cotton swabs will surely come in handy at this time.
Try: Chanel Hydra Beauty Camellia Water Cream; Kiko Milano Smart Hydrashot Stick; Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Nourishing Milk; Neutrogena Hydro Boost Whipped Body Balm
To deflate puffy eyes
At the tail end of a cold or flu is sleepless nights. Due to erratic sleep patterns, fluids get collected below the lower eyelid area which leads to under-eye bags. Instead of overburdening the area with heavy eye creams, settle for a breathable mask that packs a host of de-puffing, fine-line plumping actives such as seaweed extracts, minerals, amino acids, plant-based facial oils, caffeine and proteins. To help shrink dilated blood vessels, you can also use ice globes or cryo balls.
Try: Shangpree Gold Black Pearl Hydrogel Eye Mask; Innisfree Green Tea Seed Eye Cream-30 Ml; House Of Beauty Ice Globe; Avya Eye Bright Cream With Caffeine
To sleep better
Want to create a calm environment before you hit the sack? Spritzing a pillow mist that blends floral waters, herbal ingredients or essential oils is sure to help you unwind. Lavender and chamomile, in particular, are known to promote shuteye.
Try: Bath & Body Works Tuberose Ylang Ylang Pillow Mist; This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray