The beauty industry is now worth an estimated $532 billion and counting. And with so many people stuck indoors with more free time than ever, the pandemic may present a good opportunity to really get a handle on your skincare.

Many of us would like nothing more than to get away from it all right now. Studies have revealed that for every 10 hours of vacation taken by employees, their year-end performance ratings improved by 8%. But even if you’re gainfully employed right now, traveling anywhere is out of the question. Staying put is the only way to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Of course, this comes with its share of growing pains. And adjusting to a new routine and dealing with COVID-related stress can also take a toll on your complexion; what worked well for you pre-pandemic may not serve you well during self-isolation. With that in mind, we’re sharing our top tips for upgrading your beauty regimen while you stay at home and flatten the curve.

Prevent Dry and Cracked Skin

All that hand-washing can keep you safe from germs, but it can also do a number on your skin. If you have dry skin already or deal with dermatological issues like eczema, the coronavirus might lead to skin that’s dry and irritated. Some people with eczema might wash their hands with emollient soap substitutes, which are gentler than soap — but the National Eczema Society has reported that these substitutes are actually not suitable for eliminating the coronavirus. Therefore, eczema sufferers should wash with regular soap and water but may wash a second time with an emollient to protect their skin. You can also use an emollient to moisturize your hands throughout the day.

Fortunately, outdoor conditions are more favorable right now than they might otherwise be if this virus had come to the U.S. sooner. Cold weather isn’t good for shaved baseball bats (which shouldn’t be used in temperatures lower than 65 degrees) and it isn’t great for your skin, either. Still, you’ll likely need to do what you can to add extra moisture into the equation and prevent unnecessary irritation.

Whether or not you have eczema, you can take care of your hands by patting them dry (rather than rubbing with a towel) or rehydrating the skin overnight with a moisturizer and cotton gloves. There are also over-the-counter or prescription lotions that can be applied after hand-washing. Make sure to avoid moisturizers with scents. Petroleum jelly products can also be helpful.

Sanitize Brushes and New Products

When was the last time you cleaned your makeup brushes? If you can’t remember, you’re well overdue! As long as you wash your face thoroughly before using your brushes and don’t bring any of your cosmetics out of the house, you can probably continue to sanitize and use these products as normal. It’s a good idea to wash makeup brushes and sponges after each use and to refrain from double-dipping applicators into cosmetic products after they’ve touched your skin. Soap and water are typically fine for cleaning these tools, but there are also sprays specially formulated for brush-cleaning. Just make sure that whatever you use won’t cause any skin issues.

For any new products you bring home, be sure to wipe down the outer packaging with a wipe. If the product inside the packaging might have been contaminated, leave it in a safe spot where it won’t be touched for a week or so. Keep in mind that products with a high alcohol content will make the virus inactive. Be sure to wipe down makeup bags, as well!

Prioritize Nutrition and Hydration

It’s not easy to keep a healthy diet or remember to drink enough water when you’re stressed out about major life changes — but that’s actually the best possible thing you can do. When you’re stuck at home, maintaining that sense of healthy routine can keep your physical and emotional well-being in check. What’s more, it’ll also help your skin. It might be tempting to bake (and eat) several batches of cookies, but try to be as nutritious as possible for the sake of your skin. You might also consider adding some probiotics into your diet, as improving your gut health might be reflected in your clear complexion. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, especially if you’re relying more on caffeine and alcohol to break up your days.

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Follow Different Steps For Mask-Wearing

If you need to wear a mask in public spaces or to work, you’ll want to develop a slightly different approach to your skincare. Since wearing a mask creates a warm and moist environment, this can lead to a build-up of oil and sweat — causing anything from rashes and inflammation to acne.

For best results, don’t wear makeup underneath your mask. You should also make it a point to wash your face before and after wearing a mask, as this will prevent clogged pores and other skin flare-ups. Don’t forget to lightly moisturize, even if your skin tends to be on the oilier side. If you do break out, treat your acne with a lot of TLC and exercise caution if the condition is new. And if you can get your hands on a more breathable cotton mask, your skin will thank you for it.

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Enjoy the Ritual

You might already follow a routine that involves several steps and that’s cut out all products that might harm you or the environment. Since the explosive development of synthetic polymers in the decades following 1940, many beauty products have contained plastic elements (like microbeads and liquid plastics). While it’s a good idea to eliminate those, you don’t have to simplify everything in quarantine.

Having a skincare ritual to follow can be a great way to have some sense of normalcy right now. That means you don’t have to rush the steps or feel pressured to pare down your products. Instead, view your routine as a way you can care for yourself when so much else is outside of your control. While you don’t have to go to extremes and spend an exorbitant amount on new products, you don’t have to view this regimen as frivolous, either. Allow yourself to enjoy the steps and make it a non-negotiable part of your day.

It’s not easy to come to terms with the way our lives have changed so rapidly. But you don’t simply have to accept that your skin won’t look as glowy in quarantine. With these tips in mind, you should be able to take control of your skin and even enjoy the opportunity to stay home for a little self-care.

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