July 4, 2022

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Louise McSharry: Do you have post-Covid skin? Here’s what to do…

5 min read

I’m going to start today with an admission.

am someone who has gone through life with ‘good skin privilege’. It’s always been good. Sure, I got a few spots along the way, but that’s about it. It’s not because I’ve always taken good care of it, that’s only a recent thing, it really comes down to genetics. It’s luck. As a result, if my skin does go through a bad patch, I am horrified.

Recently, it’s been bad. Dry and flaky, with red irritated patches, it hasn’t been taking makeup well and has generally been acting up. I turn 40 this year, and last week I found myself peering into the mirror wondering if this was it. Was I simply ageing out of my good skin years? Then I mentioned it to a friend and she said ‘Oh yeah, my skin was fecked after I had Covid’. Turns out it was a recent bout of the dreaded virus that had sent my epidermis into a tailspin.

Once I knew what the culprit was, I went into recovery mode. Recovery mode is a phase of skincare I deploy whenever I feel my skin needs a reset. It may be that I’ve gone through a bad patch of exhaustion or trauma and haven’t been taking care of myself, and my skin is suffering as a result. Maybe I haven’t been flathúlach enough with the SPF and my face has gotten burned. Or maybe I’ve recently had Covid and my skin is in a panic. Recovery mode means one thing, turning to a skincare brand I trust, and using it consistently.

Having spent years sampling products from countless skincare ranges, there are several I trust when it comes to Recovery mode. These are brands from which I feel there are no bad products. They are effective, but don’t irritate, and can always be relied upon. If you are beginning a skincare journey or going through a rough patch I can recommend them without hesitation.

The first of these is Pestle and Mortar, the brand which I have currently engaged for Recovery mode. Founded by Irish woman Sonia Deasy, Pestle and Mortar’s products are focused on simple and effective formulas which work on all skin types. They are beautifully packaged, and honestly I can’t imagine a person who wouldn’t love using them and having them on their dressing table. Currently, I’m obsessed with Pure Hyaluronic Serum  (€43, via millies.ie) which my skin is just drinking up. It sorted out some nasty flaking around my lips in a day.

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Skingredients Skin Shield SPF 50+++, €57 for primary pack, €52 for refill via skingredients.com

Staying in Ireland, Jennifer Rock aka The Skin Nerd’s Skingredients range is another simple and straightforward range of products which works for all skin types. Not fragranced or irritating, they just work. Every product in the range is solid, but at the moment my favourite is Skin Shield SPF 50+++ (€57 for primary pack, €52 for refill via skingredients.com) which offers super protection and is peach coloured which I find evens my skin tone. All of Skingredients’ packaging was recently redesigned to cut down on waste and introduce a refill element, which is great to see.

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La Roche Posay Toleriane Dermallergo Soothing Cream, €19.50 via meagherspharmacy.ie

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French people know how to do chemists, so it’s no surprise that the skincare brands they stock are excellent. Fortunately, we can access them too, and La Roche Rosay is a perennial favourite as it’s just so reliable. There are no weak players in this range, and even the most sensitive face responds well to them. Toleriane Dermallergo Soothing Cream (€19.50 via meagherspharmacy.ie) is a product I consistently turn to if I have a red, sore or flaky patch, and it always works wonders.

Honourable mentions go to Dermalogica and Paula’s Choice, which also don’t put a foot wrong in my eyes. If you’re a beginner, or just going through a rough patch like me, throw yourself into the safe hands of a skincare range that’s consistently good and kind to sensitive skin. You won’t look back!

Lost in translation

When reading about skincare, you may see an ingredient referred to as a humectant. But what does that mean? A humectant ingredient is something which attracts water, either from within the skin or from the air. They are beneficial as they bring moisture to the surface of the skin, making it look plumper and, you guessed it, more youthful! Hyaluronic acid is a classic example of a humectant, and its humectant properties are what make it such a popular skincare ingredient.

Something old…

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Clinique’s High Impact Easy Liquid Liner

Clinique’s High Impact Easy Liquid Liner (€23 via arnotts.ie, and formerly known as Pretty Easy Liquid Liner) is the easiest liquid liner I have ever used. There, I said it. This super thin felt-tip pen makes it easy to be precise about where you want your liner to go, and once it’s applied, it stays there. Before this came into my life, I often agonised about using liner when I wanted definition along the lashline but not the drama of a full-on flick. I always started out well, with a thin line but somehow it expanded, and always dominated the look. With this guy, the liner does exactly what I want it to. Makes my lashes look a little fuller, and sharpens the overall appearance of my eye. I absolutely love it.

… Something new

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Lancôme Lash Idôle Eye Liner

I’m a huge fan of Lancôme’s Lash Idôle mascara, so when an accompanying eye liner came through my letterbox a few weeks ago I was excited to give it a go. Lash Idôle Eye Liner (€23 via brownthomas.com) comes in the form of a super-thin (0.1mm to be precise) felt-tip pen. The formula itself is a lightweight waterproof gel, which is an intense black and applies easily. It doesn’t transfer and has gone directly into my regular use makeup bag. Its thinness means it’s brilliant for applying a subtle line too.