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Is it just me, or has everyone been struck down recently, even those of us being pretty darn careful...? Anyway, one of the stranger effects I experienced during my COVID illness was inflammation in my skin, to the point where I'd scratch my leg slightly and it would be really sore afterwards! Having a shower and doing my skincare was my basic level of self care, even when I felt awful, so today I'm going to talk through the products that got me through (apologies that these picks all happened to be more high-end, I'm just being honest about what I used and hopefully my pipeline of affordable content will balance things out!)
I kind of did away with my heavy-hitting actives, as my face was just... red. It was very hot too, to be fair! For me, it was all about replenishing and calming my poorly skin, so that's where we're going with this routine. I must admit, I didn't necessarily wear sunscreen daily because I was isolating and I was either lying down in my bedroom with the blinds closed for some cool or sat at my desk facing away from the window. Usually I'd pop it on anyway just in case I nipped down to the shop to get some milk or needed to head out at lunchtime, but I obviously knew there'd be none of that so I didn't tend to bother.
Therefore, my cleanser was the Venn All-in-One Moisture Balance Cleanser* | £55. This is a gentle, non-foaming emulsion cleanser formulated with very gentle hydrating exfoliation in the form of PHAs, niacinamide (great for calming redness and promoting a healthy skin barrier), antioxidants (protecting the skin from free radical damage) and moisturising plant oils. I'd then follow it with the Zelens Microbiota P3 Balancing Mist* | £48 | because mists are just less effort! This is a newer one to me and contains a blend of prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics to balance out the healthy bacteria on the skin's surface so your skin barrier is happy, which means reduced irritation and better water retention in the skin. This was lovely, cooling and calming. Once I've use it for a little longer I'll review it in more depth and compare it to the Vitamin D3 - which is another mist I also really enjoy from Zelens - in my overall brand review.
Let's do serums. I honestly didn't really use an eye cream; I was so hot and bothered that I didn't want potentially puffy eyes. At the same time my dark circles reached new heights (I have a naturally more-pigmented eye area than some people might, but I didn't realise how intense it could get when paired with a lack of sleep!) I decided that my Verso Super Eye Serum with Retinol 8* | £45 | was pretty perfect. This is a really light lotion that's not going to be overly rich or heavy on the skin but it's formulated with Verso's own retinyl retinoate, which is less sensitising to the skin. I am that person who cannot take any kind of retinoid or Vitamin C for the face around my eye area (even a lot of sunscreens cause me bother). This doesn't at all. There are some skin-plumping peptides in here, squalane (a skin-similar plant oil) and hyaluronic acid to draw water into the skin. The only thing to flag is that there's fragrance; it's fine by my skin, but just to warn you because it is an eye product. So far, I'm really enjoying this. It's quite hard to meaningfully shift my kind of dark circles but things are looking smooth and a little more alive! I will be doing a brand review of Verso, so I'll report back once I've finished up the bottle for a final assessment.
I have two facial serums that do have a little in common, so perhaps we could have a 'more-affordable alternative' on our hands... I've been using the Monday Muse the Juice Daily Serum* | £40 | full review | for a while now. It's a lightweight, juicy, hydrating and anti-inflammatory serum with niacinamide, centella asiatica (a soothing botanical), prebiotics, panthenol (helping water retention in the skin) and black cumin seed oil to calm any redness. I also recently got through the Venn Cica Complex Biome Booster* | £153. Obviously, this one is a lot more pricey, though honestly (after having sat in on an event with the brand) having learned about their scientific approach, their ethos, the studies they do and so on. I can't be mad about it. This contains prebiotics and probiotics, niacinamide, peptides and hyaluronic acid and I'm really enjoying this. I just pat it onto my cheeks AM and PM and it really helps take away the angriness and visible redness. It also has skin-firming claims so I'll let you know the long-term changes I see in my skin. Also, please do tell me if you want me to compare these two serums in depth once I've used the Venn for a good amount of time!
My go-to day cream has been the Zelens Emulsion D Fortifying Moisturiser | £60. I love this product because it packs so much goodness into such a lightweight formula. Obviously I wasn't out and about so I wasn't worried about baking in the sun (otherwise even I'd be on the gel moisturiser) but it was still pretty hot and sweaty. If you want something really replenishing that isn't too rich and just melts right into the skin: this is for you. It's formulated with Vitamin D, ceramides, other lipids, cholesterol, Vitamin F, prebiotics, probiotics and Vitamin E, amongst others. It's basically a hit list of all the soothing, calming, replenishing ingredients my face needed. Then in the evening I'd reach for the Skinceuticals Triple Lipid Restore* | £135. This is a patented ratio of cholesterol, ceramides and fatty acids, which are the components of the skin's barrier, so this is super-replenishing. I also really appreciate that this doesn't have a super rich, buttery (if you're oily: read 'greasy') texture, which pleasantly surprised me! With the sort of heat we were dealing with, that just wasn't necessarily what I wanted. I did occasionally pat on no more than a couple of drops of my favourite non-greasy face oil the Monday Muse the Nectar Facial Oil | £48 | full review. This is a non-fragrant cocktail of plant oils (including rosehip oil, black cumin seed oil, prickly pear seed oil and kalahari melon seed oil) that nourishes my skin, gives it glow and takes down any redness.
How does your skin change when you're feeling unwell?