In early May 2020, while my Queensland salon had been closed due to the Coronavirus I spent time looking into dermalogical studies that examined the effects the coronavirus was having on skin internationally. I was preparing for an increase in contact dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema clients. Even more cases of hives, itchy & scaly skins from the longer use of PPE materials such as gloves & masks. And even though this is what I experienced upon reopening I found much more that was not being discussed. Our skins are being attacked on two fronts.
The first was expected and discussed by skin experts world wide. The continual use of sanitising agents & over skin washing practices was causing an aggressive breakdown of the skins barrier function. I had a front hand experience with this. My nephew has been dealing with an acute dermatitis condition on his hand. After using steroid cream & a high emollient barrier cream, we were able to return the skin to a mild case, but it remains highly susceptible to return if the practice of over use remains. It is looking like the routine of sanitising gels & anti-bacterial hand washes will remain part of our new way of life. This causes long term problems for those with auto immune issues. Issues that might usually flare up at certain times of the year will now become chronic and long term.
The second issue that I had not envisaged was caused from stress. We hear about it all the time what damage stress can have on our skin. How it can give us pimple breakouts, deeper brow furrows, dark eye circles and drier skin. Even my own skin has dermatitis flare ups when I have been dealing with stressful issues.
I had wrongly assumed that as many clients were able to go about their day mostly makeup free, as we simply had nowhere interesting to go, that their skins would not have to deal with as many breakout issues. Boy did I get that wrong. This was not the case.
Put simply we were and remain stressed out & our skins are showing it. We may have little control over the extensive hand washing & the use of sanitising gels, but reducing the amount of stress may assist in gaining a healthier skin barrier. (More next week)
During moments of tension the body produces excess cortisol, often referred to as the “stress hormone”, which wreaks havoc on everything from your immune system to blood pressure. Stress increases cortisol production from the adrenal glands, which in turn increases sebaceous gland activity, to produce more oil/sebum. Here comes the pimples!
This increase in cortisol results in Acne with increased skin sensitivity and severe surface dehydration. Additionally, cortisol weakens the skin’s immune system, leading to oxidative stress which manifests itself as wrinkles, lines and lacklustre skin. So we are left with premature ageing skin concerns. It also increases inflammation on the body and conditions like eczema, rosacea and psoriasis can flare up to levels that are difficult to control.
When Skin Clinics were permitted to reopen in my state and skin treatment recommence, skins I had treated for years had suddenly changed. In just two months, I had seen women in their 50’s now showing signs of significantly deeper wrinkle furrows, deep large pimples (when they had never had even one before), darker under eyes due to thinning skin, some additional hair loss on those already predisposed and of course those whom already suffer from dermatitis etc were now chronic. The only positive was everyone’s hyperpigmentation had lessened dramatically, visible even to the naked eye. That’s a big call in Queensland.
More surprisingly, I found I wasn’t dealing with one additionally skin issue I had multiple skin concerns happening simultaneously. Wow, to say I was shocked was an understatement. So rapid and intense the change, I only hoped the reversal could be the same. Not one of my clients had contracted this disease, yet they all had felt its effects, whether they consciously knew it or not. Their skin told the coronavirus story!
Part Two Next Week