There’s been a lot of chat about beauty’s role in our lives during a global pandemic, and while DIY facials and initiatives like our very own #FullFaceFridays are providing a welcome distraction and morale boost to the masses, skincare and self-care has an altogether different role in the lives of our NHS workers. With long shifts, stressful conditions, and emotional burdens taking their toll mentally and physically, while ill-fitted surgical masks and drying hand sanitiser contribute to aggravated skin conditions, we spoke to NHS workers to find out how they’re embracing self-care during these times.
“After work I’m really enjoying taking time out to spend on my skincare and in particular using a clay mask. Wearing the surgical masks all day mean I’ve been really prone to breakouts at the minute and not only does my skin feel so much better after it, but it’s tonnes clearer as well. In addition, Dr Pawpaw’s Shea Butter Balm has been keeping my hands and lips moisturised – they were really cracked due to the constant hand washing and use of surgical masks. I’ve also been using the Revolution Skincare Cica Serum twice a day which really soothes and calms down the redness in my face after a long shift!
– Kirsty, Distict Nursing Sister
“With a pretty hectic rota of nights and days, I’ve been trying to make the most of the time I have off. I’ve made it a mission to get out of the house every day, whether it be for a jog or a walk along the local canal to clear my head. Picking up my old neglected hobby of watercolour painting has also been a good way to refocus my mind, and I’ve found planning and preparing new recipes from scratch to be both fun and meditative. At work, the constant washing with soap and wearing of nitrile gloves has definitely taken its toll on my hands. Aveeno Dermexa Emollient Hand Cream has been a saviour for me, along with a concentrated hand cream at night.”
– Dom, Doctor
“I’ve made an upbeat playlist to listen to in my car to and from work and in between my assessments and visits, and when I’m at home I’m trying to structure my day so I’m not just doing boring tasks. I’m trying to think up imaginative things to do with my son on our one hour out of the house each day. In the evenings once I’ve put him to bed, I’ve been using hair masks while my hair is having a break from the bleach. I’ve also been doing mini facials that I’ve seen on Instagram because wearing surgical face masks for prolonged periods in this heat has caused me to have breakouts the lower half of my face. When I’m in work I’m constantly applying a nice hand cream because my hands have taken a battering with all the alcogel.”
– Eve, Mental Health Nurse
“I’ve been making the most of my time off to exercise and spend time in the fresh air whenever possible. I’m making sure I do the basics to look after myself – eating healthy, showering after every shift, and washing my face twice daily using a hydrating cleanser with a gentle moisturiser on top. I’ve been doing more face masks to keep on top of my skin and using the Alpha-H Vitamin E serum in places where the surgical masks irritate my skin and cause inflammation.”
– Rory, Paramedic
“I suffer from eczema which is flaring up more than ever at the moment from stress and the hot weather. I’m finding putting salts in the bath and having a long soak on my days off is a real godsend for my skin, and really relaxing. I am also trying to wear less makeup to let my skin breathe, especially as I can be wearing a surgical mask for up to 12 hours a day. I find a regular spritz of a good skin tonic really refreshing, and I’m trying to keep myself looking presentable by putting a little brow gel through my brows as it’s quick and easy in the morning and makes me feel good.”
– Katie, Community Nurse
“Self-care is really important for me right now. I’m taking the time twice a day, every day to do my skincare routine. Even if I’m exhausted it makes me feel a million times better as it forces me to slow down and spend time looking after myself. When I have time, I add face masks into the mix – my skin is super dry right now so I’m leaning towards products that provide hydration or acid exfoliation.”
– Ella, Midwife