First of all, I’d like to send out positive thoughts to everyone out there who is being affected by coronavirus. Even for those of us who are not sick, our routines have been seriously disrupted and many people feel out of balance. It is so important for all of us to restore balance and keep our physical health up during this time. Rosie had the chance to sit down with Harvard-trained Dermatologist and Owner of Austin Skin, Dr. Kristina Collins.
Dr. Collins recommends that everyone start by going back to the basics— drink lots of water and eat a balanced diet as much as possible. Make sure that when you are working from home you get up to move around and take several deep breaths at least every hour. This virus attacks the lungs and you want to keep your heart and lungs as healthy and active as possible. Also, put on sunblock and take a nice long walk around the neighborhood to connect with nature and get some much needed fresh air.
What kinds of skin issues are people having during this difficult time?
“We are seeing a big increase in hand dermatitis from extra hand washing as we all do our best to prevent the spread of the virus. You may notice the the skin on your hands is dry, cracked, red, or peeling. I recommend that you use a mild type of soap (like dove soap) and moisturize your hands after every wash— one moisturizer to try is cerave therapeutic hand cream. You can also apply aquaphor ointment or natural oils you have at home like hemp or coconut oil to your hands and cover with cotton gloves or wrap with saran wrap at bedtime to lock in moisture for more intensive recovery of your skin. When more severe, hand dermatitis can cause fissures which look like cuts in the skin. For these painful cracks in the skin surface dig through that junk drawer and find your superglue. Apply the glue to the crack to help prevent movement of the skin edges and relieve pain.
One other problem is causing dermatology conditions to flare and that is stress. We are all experiencing heightened levels of stress due to the outbreak of coronavirus and there is a complex relationship between our emotional wellbeing and our skin health. Acne, cold sores, shingles, eczema, psoriasis, and autoimmune conditions are all known to worsen during times of increased cortisol levels and high stress. So, it’s so important to take care of your emotional wellbeing and be gentle with yourself right now.
One really healthy way to relax is to indulge in a little extra self care by doing an at-home mask or skin treatment. Even if you don’t have a fancy mask you can make your own with simple ingredients— one I love is mashing up one half of an avocado with a tablespoon of honey and a handful of oats and letting the mixture sit on the skin for 15 minutes. This really helps lock in moisture that can get depleted during long hours indoors.”
What is a good at home skin care routine while we have this extra time? “Keep cleaning very gentle right now to avoid irritation. I think it is great to incorporate a product with glycolic acid a few times a week to keep that glow. I would make sure to use a serum or moisturizer every day with hyaluronic acid to moisturize and a retinol to prevent damage. Try to let your skin rest by minimizing use of makeup while working from home and of course, when outside keep using sunblock on your face.”
Austin Skin, just launched their teledermatology service to improve access to dermatology care while we all do our best to prevent coronavirus. If you have any skin issues pop up they are happy to help and can see you from the comfort of your couch. You can call (737) 727-7546 or visit their website www.austinskinphysicians.com to get set up.