As I am writing this, I am in the grips of a pretty horrendous flu. It’s so bad, in fact, that it is probably a case of ‘man flu’ (if that were a real thing).

*Coughs dramatically*

Most of us succumb to it at least once a year, and it can take a huge toll on you if you fail to look after yourself properly during this fragile time. Something I have noticed during my few days under quarantine is that being sick has made my skin feel terrible. So I’ve been researching and implementing ways to look after the body’s biggest organ so that I have one less thing to feel horrid about. Here are my findings…

1. Showering
Steam is great for clearing congestion, so a hot shower can make you feel a lot better. But this heat can also dry out your skin, so it’s important to moisturise well once you manage to drag your semi-lifeless corpse out of the water. Try to shower no more than once a day, and skip soaps that are designed to strip the skin of oil, making it even drier.

2. Stay hydrated
We should be drinking plenty of water all the time, but when you’re sick, it’s even more crucial that you stay hydrated and flush the toxins out. If the idea of chugging cold water when you are ill leaves you, well, cold, opt for boiled water with a slice of lemon (and maybe even a bit of ginger) to make sure you are getting enough fluids.

3. Be bland
Sometimes when we feel gross, we overcompensate by trying to at least smell better than we feel, and douse ourselves in our favourite perfume. Bad idea. Fragrances can irritate a sensitive nose, so avoid wearing heavy scents until you’ve fully recovered. Also avoid perfumed lotions and face creams, and stick to fragrance-free products instead.

4. No retinoids
Colds and flu have a tendency to leave our skin feeling parched so, while it’s important to moisturise often, lay off the anti-ageing products for a while. These often contain retinoids, which are great for their ability to prevent wrinkles but can be quite drying, which is not what your skin needs at this delicate time.

5. Be nosy
Our noses probably suffer the most when we’re sick – mine has definitely had better days! Something you should have at your disposal, whether you are in bed or out and about, is a rich, scent-free moisturiser to dab on throughout the day. Also opt for tissues that contain lotion, as they’re more gentle on your sensitive nostrils.

Look after yourself, both inside and out.


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