Nurse Nancy gives us her best skincare tips to use while working from home.

By Elizabeth Rhodes
April 27, 2020
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Credit: Getty Images/Westend61

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly all aspects of life, but did you know that it can affect your skin, too? From stress-induced inflammation to damage caused by increased exposure to blue light from laptops and phones, there are a number of ways that our dramatically changed lifestyle can alter our complexion. However, with the right skincare tips, you can reduce these negative impacts and get your best skin ever while in quarantine.

Related: More beauty tips

For expert advice on how to take care of our skin during the COVID-19 pandemic, Travel + Leisure spoke to Nancy Pellegrino, also known as Nurse Nancy. Nancy has worked as an aesthetic nurse practitioner for over 20 years, formed her own practice, NP Aesthetics, Inc., and co-founded a skincare brand, The Route.

Step one in caring for your skin is evaluation, according to Nurse Nancy. Change in diet, stress, routine, and more can make a difference on your complexion. “Look at what your skin is doing. If you’re having lots of stress, your hormones may be going crazy, causing additional breakouts. Stress can actually cause an inflammatory response… You can get dry [skin].” Once you take note of how your skin is looking and feeling, decide what you want to accomplish during this time.

Use face masks while working from home.

While it might be tempting to try out a new face mask every day while working from home, there are a few things to look out for so that you don’t accidentally damage your skin. Don’t use exfoliating masks or at-home peels every day — this damages your skin's natural barrier and opens the door for further irritation, according to Nurse Nancy. On the days you don’t exfoliate, try a hydrating product rich in hyaluronic acid or ceramides.

To reach the perfect balance, use an exfoliating treatment or mask once a week. Nurse Nancy's own The Party Peel from The Route combines powerful (yet gentle) acids with an oxygen delivery system to deeply exfoliate but prevent visible peeling. It also leaves behind subtle flecks of medical-grade illumination that, when followed by The Girlfriend primer, makes for glowing, healthy skin ready for a night out (or in). Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial is a cult-favorite, with 25 percent AHA to resurface skin and support cell turnover, while The Ordinary’s AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution offers an exfoliating punch for just $8. For an easy at-home peel, Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare’s Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel uses seven acids to reduce the look of acne scars, fine lines, wrinkles, and more.

Be gentle with your skin on days you’re not exfoliating. Indulge in a sheet mask with good-for-skin ingredients, like Dr. Jart’s Dermask Water Jet Vital Hydra Solution or the Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Sheet Mask. Both of these masks will leave your skin feeling soft, moisturized, and refreshed — perfect if stress has left you dry and tight. If sheet masks aren't your thing, try the beloved Jet Lag Mask from Summer Fridays to moisturize dull skin. Keep your skin hydrated throughout the day by using a facial spray — this mist from Youth to the People has peptides and hyaluronic acid with soothing properties. It’s also a perfect pick-me-up during a long day of working from home.

Protect your skin from free radicals and sun exposure.

Nurse Nancy notes that it’s important to continue using an SPF while working from home, even if you’re not spending much time outside. At the same time, it’s crucial to protect your skin from blue light — something we’re all exposed to daily as we work from our computers and check our phones regularly. Blue light has damaging free radicals, and it can even cause hyperpigmentation, so it’s important to protect your skin (and eyes). The Everything Day from The Route helps shield skin from blue light, as does the Peter Thomas Roth Vital-E Microbiome Age Defense Cream.

For a product that packs multiple skin benefits in one, opt for an SPF that includes blue-light protection, like the Full Spectrum 360° Sun Silk Drops or Full Spectrum 360° Refreshing Water Mist from Coola.

Have a DIY spa day.

Looking for a luxurious way to treat yourself while caring for your skin? Take note from the Chuan Spa at The Langham Hotels and Resorts. At Chuan Body + Soul at The Langham, London, guests can get the Chuan Yu facial, which uses gua sha techniques to revitalize the skin. Recreate this luxurious treatment at home by investing in your own gua sha or face roller, applying a serum or oil, and gently massaging the face.

Marieke Van Belzen, Skincare Expert at the La Prairie Spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, has a few more skincare tips. “Continue to follow your normal daily skincare routine. To further your relaxation, dedicate some time during the weekend for some extra pampering and call it a ‘Spaturday.’”

Belzen says your DIY spa day is “a great opportunity to dry brush your body for a light lymphatic detoxification. Then, cleanse and exfoliate your face. Light an aromatherapy candle, put on some relaxing music, and have a nice warm bath. While in the bath, your face gets a steam, which helps with opening the pores. Apply a hydrating face mask, relax, and remove after 15 to 20 minutes. Then, give yourself a face massage using a facial oil. This will decompress your mind and body — it will make you feel good and your skin will glow.”