Skincare in Lockdown: Q&A with Habits Skin Lab

Author Team Essentialist

We’re all feeling a little out of sorts these days, adjusting to the new normal still doesn’t feel quite…normal?  We’ve had to learn to live without certain services that we had relied on for self-maintenance in the pre-pandemic world.  Regular facials and professional cosmetic treatments have been put on pause in most places.  Sometimes it takes losing something to really understand how much you had relied on it!  Instead of lamenting on what we’re missing, let's shift focus to how we can help ourselves at home.

At Essentialist we're advocates of professional treatments in support of at home care products. We know a combination of both will yield the best results and keep you looking fresh.  Consider a facial like a deep clean treatment, a chance for your skin to reset, while the products you use regularly at home between treatments support and maintain that healthy skin. 

If you live where service has resumed lucky you, take full advantage!  For those still facing restrictions, here is the first Q&A in our series Skincare in Lockdown.  We had a chat with our friends at Habits Skin Lab in Miami (check out their Instagram @habitskinlab), who were generous enough to share some insights on what we can be doing to get by without those regular trips to the spa.


On top of pandemic stress and lack of access to professional treatments, we’re all wearing masks now which, despite protecting us from illness, are causing breakouts and irritations.  What is your best advice for helping to keep masked skin calm and blemish free?

We have clients that are only breaking out on their chin with “maskne” and our best advice is less is more!  Step up your skincare game and, for those breaking out because of their masks, try using less product.  Focus on a simple skincare routine including a gentle cleanser, moisturizer, or facial oil to keep skin hydrated, and sunscreen of course.  We also recommend avoiding make up, especially on the chin area. 

We want to emphasize on the importance of exfoliating too.  There is a lot of accumulated bacteria on our chin area due to our breath, sweat, and the face mask itself.  Exfoliating is an important step, it should be done once or twice a week. 

Last, but one of the most important things, is to always wash your mask with a fragrance-free hypoallergenic detergent.  You must use a CLEAN mask to avoid contact with breakout causing bacteria. If you are using non-reusable face masks then use a new one every day.  If you exercise or do any activities throughout the day that makes you sweat, then switch to a new mask more than once a day as needed. 


What are the most critical mistakes you see people making between appointments or with at home skincare in general?

Not using sunscreen is the most critical mistake they can make. Facials often include active ingredients that make the skin susceptible to sun sensitivity, especially the first 2–3 days after treatment. We cannot express how important it is for everyone to use SPF every day! It is the one thing that will help protect you against signs of premature aging, pigmentation, dryness, and more. 

Another critical mistake is using the wrong kind of products. Between appointments it is always recommended to have a good skincare routine with quality products if you want to continue seeing improvements.  For example we often see clients with dry skin using cleansers that are causing even more dryness rather than using one that helps hydrate and protect the skin barrier.  The right skincare routine is key to the success of all future treatments.  


If we’re lucky enough to be able to get a treatment between closures and lockdowns, what can we do to extend that post facial glow, or how can we attempt to get it if our spa hasn’t reopened?

Exfoliating the skin regularly should give you a similar sensation to what we call a “mini at home facial” and help extend your post facial glow. Exfoliating the skin helps remove dead skin cells, dry flakes, and prepares the skin to absorb all the good ingredients you decide to apply next.  Right after exfoliating focus on nourishing the skin. We recommend using a facial oil with repairing and nourishing properties. It all depends on your skin type, but all skin types could benefit from using the right facial oil.  You will love the “baby skin” feeling after doing these two things together. 


Home extractions?  Yay, Nay, Maybe?

SUCH A HARD QUESTION! We truly don’t like seeing our clients doing extractions because they often just make a problem worse or leave skin red and irritated.  We understand, however, that it is almost impossible for people to STOP picking. So, if you are going to do it anyway, we recommend using a facial steamer first.  It has become very popular for people to have a mini facial steamer at home. After steaming, grab two cotton swabs and gently press around the area of the pimple.  There is no need to pinch or to press extremely hard, if it does not come out with gentle pressure then it is NOT ready to pop, so it’s best to leave it be. 

Instead of attempting to do extractions yourself, we recommend applying ice to a blemish to reduce any redness or inflammation, and using spot treatments to dry the pimple out. 


When things get back to normal, or if a spa is open, what treatments would you recommend to get skin back into top shape?

Our spa is currently open and we have been loving learning more and more every day from our clients. Dealing with the effects the pandemic has had on our client’s skin has been a huge learning opportunity for both our clients and us as estheticians.  We now better understand how the body reacts to stress and change. 

If it has been a while since the last time you got a facial, we recommend starting with a simple treatment to help detoxify the skin.  Our DETOX facial is perfect for this because it has extractions and uses ingredients aimed to detoxify the skin. Most clients start with this and then work up towards other more in-depth treatments such as our GLOW-IT-ALL facial which includes a gentle peel that will help brighten the skin while targeting pigmentation. A gentle peel is great because it will give you a sense of new and refreshed skin- you'll glow more than ever. 

The key is to start slowly and work your way up to more intense treatments.  With the pandemic everyone’s skin has been dealing with a lot and many people are experiencing changes like acne, dehydration, oiliness, or other skin conditions they didn't have before.  Now more than ever, people should focus on making their skin a priority by learning what their skin needs and then healing it.  The key is healthy skin NOT perfect skin. 

(Photo by Park Street on Unsplash)