Taking Care of Your Skin While Sick

Flu Season hit us HARD in 2018.

I’ve gone years without the flu and 2018, I tried as hard as I could to avoid it and still got hit last year. Hard. Not only was my entire body suffering from dehydration, my skin was severely dehydrated, too. Moving my cheeks felt like they were going to tear apart any second. My pores were significantly more pronounced. My hyperpigmentation looked worse. My nose was flaking, partially because of the sneezing but also because I had no strength to do any kind of routine for close to a week. 

Now, I have an unpopular opinion that I happened to learn one of my faves does too (hey @hausurban)!

Every month, I’ll have an entire day where I intentionally don’t do anything to my face in any way or form.

Sometimes, it can even be twice a month. The night before my day off, I’ll do a super intensive night routine with tons of hydration and moisture and limit my acid use. I’ll do a mild exfoliant such as mandelic acid or a low percentage lactic acid. The Ordinary carries their 10% mandelic acid and their 5% lactic acid, I’ll typically pick between one of those. I primarily focus on repairing and maintaining my skin’s barrier before it’s day off.

The following day, I’ll completely do nothing to my skin. I won’t wash it, tone, exfoliate, hydrate, moisturize…nothing. Absolutely nothing. I believe my skin needs a reset every few weeks after days on end of acids. This one day will not hurt your skin if you already have a solid routine. If you experience similar results like I did, you’ll never go back to doing your routine every single day of the month. I promise.

Anyway! Sorry for the tangent. I needed to get that off of my chest that I sometimes intentionally don’t do my routine. Now, when I had the flu, the first day happened to be my “off day” with my skin. One off day turned into two which spiraled into an entire week. I had absolutely no energy and was too sore to get out of bed to do my routine.

Getting Back Into A Routine

The first thing I told myself that really helped me get my life and skin together is, “Lily, you have a skin care goal. If you skip your routine for one more night, how much longer will you have to wait to reach your goal?” If you’re like me and you hate waiting, this was enough motivation LOL. Aside from this, may face *literally* was in pain after an entire week of being abandoned, and I simply couldn’t take it anymore. But, the hardest part was actually finding the strength to stand there and do my full routine. So I decided to shorten things up a bit so I can go back to bed quicker and not have my face feeling like it is soon falling off.

My Routine While Sick

My routine, while I was sick, consisted of ELF’s Hydrating Water Essence, the CosRx Snail Mucin Essence, and the Cerave Healing Ointment. My skin’s barrier, after days of not being touched, was severely damaged. Not only could I feel it but I could see it, too. The first night when using this combination of products, my skin instantly felt smoother and less tight. By the next morning, all of the symptoms of dehydration in my skin had gone away. No tightness. No flaking. You would think I had gotten a facial that week with how healthy and plump my skin looked!

ELF Hydrating Water Essence

Formulated with lots of great humectants such as sodium hyaluronate (salt version of hyaluronic acid), sodium PCA, urea, and glycerin. Also has niacinamide to brighten and help with clogged pores. I applied it with a cotton round to remove any dirt on my face. 

CosRx Snail Mucin Essence

Formulated with 96% snail secretion filtrate, this is the answer to all your hydration needs. Research on snail mucin isn’t extensive as of now, but it seems to be quite promising. Here’s some research that addresses snail secretion filtrate and it’s efficacy. For me personally, I don’t ever want to live a life (anymore) that doesn’t include snail mucin. It’s been revolutionary for my skin, and I’ll be dedicating an entire post to it. This also has allantoin, butylene glycol, and sodium hyaluronate which are soothing and hydrating

Cerave Healing Ointment

I’ve raved about this for years and how it will do a complete 180 for your skin overnight. I still stand by that. Everyone (hundreds of my clients) I’ve put on to it can vouch for how amazing it is. The combination of ceramides, cholesterol, hyaluronic acid, and petroleum jelly is what your moisture barrier’s dreams are made of. It has mineral oil and dimethicone for added occlusivity, and tocopherol acetate (vitamin E) for a boost of antioxidant protection. Also, if you have eczema, toss all of your other creams and butters, and get this. You’ll never go back to any of the lessers once you forget what flare ups feel like with this. And no, petroleum jelly or mineral oil are not toxic for your skin and will not worsen or cause acne (barring any allergies or sensitivities). And yes, your skin can still “breathe” with barrier creams on it.

Since then, this has been my combo for nights when I am feeling under the weather or I simply cannot do my routine. If it’s morning, I’ll add a sunscreen in place of the Cerave Healing Ointment. This is also a great routine if you’ve over-exfoliated or sensitized your skin in some way and need quick relief. These products are safe for all skin types and concerns. The fragrance in the ELF may be a concern for those who are sensitive to fragrances in skincare products. Though, with how low it is on the list, the concentration is likely so minimal that it really won’t do much, if any, harm. 

I also like to use a hydrating spray and lately I been gravitating towards the Delish Condish Hydra Mist or the Ayele and Co Mandarin Refresh. Both smell citrusy and make my skin feel super hydrated without feeling sticky! The Ayele Mandarin Refresh also has SPF 15, so it’s great for when you’re indoors and still exposed to sunlight. 

It’s okay if you can’t do your routine.

This post applies to any illness. Whether it’s the flu or chronic depression, if you are unable to do your routine for a few days, it’s not the end of the world. At all. Don’t beat yourself up about skipping a few routines, stress only makes your skin worse. You know you’ll pick right back up once you are physically and mentally capable of doing so.

But, the routine I posted above is enough to keep your skin healthy and happy if you have an ounce of leftover energy when you’re not able to fully attend to it. And, it’s quite affordable which is always a plus.

So, what do you typically do for your skincare routine when you’re under the weather?

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