Your ultimate at-home skincare guide: What to do for every type of skin concern 

Follow our DIY guide to improving your skin at home

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With winter in full swing, lockdown 3.0 has been the toughest one yet, not only emotionally and practically, but aesthetically too. With beauty salons and cosmetic practices closed for at least a few more weeks, it's time to take back control of your skin at home. 

To help you devise a daily routine that works specifically for you, we have pooled our insider experts for the best tips and products for each of the main skin concerns. From puffiness to pigmentation and tired-looking lacklustre skin, this is your ultimate DIY skin guide for lockdown and beyond. 

Pigmentation and sun damage

During the first lockdown back in March our gardens and parks were a place of solace. However, the sun damage caused by last summer's hot weather may be starting to show on your face right about now. If you are noticing pigmenation or your skin appears more lined and dry than usual, Dr Maryam Zamani recommends a liquid exfoliator to gently resurface skin to ensure your complexion looks fresh by spring. 

Zamani suggests to use an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) cleanser or toner. AHAs are much gentler than a harsh face peel – they will prevent that leathery look, while hydrating at the same time,” she says. Add a vitamin C serum to brighten and fade pigmentation and use a face cream with niacinamide (vitamin B3), an anti-inflammatory ingredient that will strengthen the skin barrier.

Keen gardener? Then your hands might be suffering from age spots and wrinkling also. Dr Sarah Tonks says now is the perfect time to apply an anti-ageing hand cream or serum before you go to bed: “Use a retinol serum on hands at night, which will help to fade pigmentation and resurface sun-damaged skin.”

Skin prescription

From left to right: REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic, £27; The Inky List 15% Vitamin C and EGF Serum, £14.99; La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Invisible Fluid SPF50+ Sun Cream, £17.50; La Roche-Posay Retinol 0.3% + Vitamin B3 Serum, £38.

Stress face

From financial anxiety to worrying about the kids’ schooling, stress levels have risen recently, causing inflammation in our skin. Pharmacist Shabir Daya explains: “Just within the top layers of our skin lie cells that produce cortisol in response to environmental factors and internal aggressions. Whether the stress is physical or emotive, these cells produce cortisol, leading to a host of concerns from inflammation, red rashes, reactive skin and acne.”

What should you do about it? Start with your diet, suggests Henrietta Norton from Wild Nutrition. “Eat foods that keep inflammation to a minimum including brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, which have a high antioxidant content, as well as essential fats from oily fish, nuts and seeds to prevent a rise in blood sugar levels.”

To curb anxiety try an Ashwagandha supplement, which has been shown to have a calming effect. Topically, Neurophroline, a patented plant extract, reduces inflammatory cortisol. Alternate with a hyaluronic acid serum to keep skin from drying out.

Skin prescription

From left to right: GOW Neurophroline Serum, £18; Allies of Skin Triple Hyaluronic Antioxidant Hydration Serum, £77; Wild Nutrition Food-Grown KSM-66 Ashwagandha Plus £20.50.

A tired and lucklustre complexion

Lack of sleep is currently one of the biggest complaints. Daya says: “Sleep is absolutely crucial for the way our skin looks and feels, because a lack of sleep affects almost every process from repair through to affecting even the lipids (moisture) within skin.

“Tired skin is hard to cover up because often you end up with dark circles, puffy eyes and a general lacklustre look.”

For eyes, use a caffeine-based eye serum to target both puffiness and dark circles by constricting the blood vessels. While Tina Craig, founder of U Beauty, says: “I swear by a cooling facial roller on damp skin to de-puff.” Or try a hot and cold facial.

“Carefully place your face over a bowl of hot water to open up your pores. Then apply a homemade mask. For dry skin mix two tablespoons of plain yogurt, 1/4 avocado, 1 tablespoon of honey. Apply with a clean make-up brush. Leave it on for 5-10 minutes and rinse with cold water. Next, wrap a thin muslin cloth around an ice cube (made with green tea to calm inflammation) and gently roll all over the face to tighten and close the pores. Finish with an antioxidant-packed serum.”

Skin prescription

From left to right: MZ Skin Tone & Lift Germanium Contouring Facial Roller, £59; U Beauty Resurfacing Compound, £85; GOW Eye Contour Serum, £18.

Puffiness caused by bad diet and alcohol

It’s not surprising that many of us are reaching for a glass of wine (or three) most nights, but increased alcohol consumption is taking its toll on our complexions.

Dr Zamani suggests massaging with the knuckles of two fingers across the border of the brow bone and jawline to reduce puffiness by boosting lymphatic drainage. Then apply a cooling eye mask.

Marianna Hewitt, co-founder of cult skincare line, Summer Fridays, says staying hydrated is key. “Aim to drink a litre of water by lunch time. Plus, eating hydrating foods such as melon, cucumber, fruits and salad helps to keep your skin hydrated from the inside.”

She adds: “Exfoliating regularly revives dull skin and helps the rest of your skincare products penetrate better.” You’ll need to apply a moisturising mask morning and night to get your skin back to its optimum state.

Skin prescription

From left to right: Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask, £22.50; The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA, £5.80); Milk Makeup Cooling Water Undereye Patches, £21.