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January 15, 2020

Sick Day Skincare: How to Care for Your Skin While Nursing a Cold

When our head is pounding and the chills have taken over, you don’t exactly feel up to a 10-step — or any step, for that matter — routine. But if you don’t want to skip your skincare entirely, here are three easy sick day skincare tips so you can still care for your skin while you recover.


OH NO. You feel like CRAP. Your nose is simultaneously runny and totally blocked up. Your throat is sore, and the racking coughs aren’t helping. Your body feels run-down, your joints as achy as the joints of an octogenarian field laborer. You’ve called in sick. You’re staying in bed, box of tissues within reach, chugging cold medicine. You are, of course, resting and drinking enough fluids, because you’re going to take care of yourself.


If your particular response to sickness is to skip your skincare for the day, that’s totally fine and understandable. One or two days off isn’t going to hurt. Go back to sleep. But if you still want to get some sick day skincare in (and maybe protect your poor face from the ravages of endlessly blowing your nose), drag your skincare basket to your bedside the next time you get up, and try these tips.



sick day skincare



1. Give your nose some TLC


In my experience, the most common sick day skin complaint is the red, raw, irritated nose that results from having to blow and wipe your nose over and over and over. I’ve suffered from it too, and I’ve never found that the lotion-infused tissues help all that much.


So when you’re sick, pay extra attention to your nose. Moisturize it generously with a fairly heavy cream and reapply the cream often. And if you’re able to go 15 or more minutes without blowing your nose, consider nose masking! If you have any mini sample sheet masks on hand, this is a great use for them.





You can also use hydrogel eye or lip patches on your nose — there’s nothing in particular about those types of products that limits their use to eyes or lips only. A bit of masking will help calm and hydrate this area, alleviating surface irritation.



2. Try a warm sheet mask


You’re mostly lying down or cocooned on the couch anyway at this point, so (again, if you can go 15 or so minutes without blowing your nose) a sheet mask could be just the thing to treat your skin while you rest. But now’s most definitely not the time for a chilled sheet mask, unless you have a fever and you think it might help.


No, during cold months and when sick, I love to do a warm sheet mask. No icy slap to the face upon application, just a warm, soothing blanket of moisture.




You don’t have to warm up a pot of water or anything like that. Just grab the mask you want to use and place it behind your back in bed or on your sofa for a few minutes. The mask will warm up to body temperature, and when you put it on, it will feel lovely.



3. Increase circulation to ward off that consumptive pallor


You might feel like death, but maybe you don’t want to look like death. That’s perfectly natural.


When we’re sick, we tend to develop a distinct sickly hue to our skin that can make us look like the dying heroine of a Victorian novel, and that’s not always a look that we actually want to achieve. In that case, stimulating the circulation in your face can help bring a little life back to your complexion. Also, it’s something to do while you relax and watch your shows on Netflix.


sick day skincare



Doing a massage with a gua sha tool or facial roller can quickly increase the circulation to your skin. It doesn’t matter what kind of fancy rock the gua sha tool or roller is made out of; it’s the physical stimulation that does all the work. I like using these over a sheet mask or over a particularly slippery toner or serum. Facial massage with fingertips works, too — find a nice tutorial on YouTube and follow along. As an added benefit, facial massage can sometimes help drain excess fluids and ease congestion.





For extra glow, look in your beauty stash for products containing ginseng, which can help stimulate circulation under the skin.


And rest! Sick days are for recovery, and your body and skin need plenty of rest to recover properly.


Feel better soon!


What does your sick day skincare look like when you’re under the weather? Let us know in the comments!



Jude writes as Fiddy Snails at the K-beauty and skincare blog Fifty Shades of Snail and can be found on Instagram @fiddysnails. Named the ELLE Malaysia Beauty Blogger of the Month for June/July 2017 and one of ELLE Magazine‘s 10 Cool Beauty Bloggers to Watch in 2018, Jude loves ginseng, snail, honey, propolis, and tuna fish kimbap, though she generally doesn’t put the kimbap on her face.




Sheet masks give me life! Love them warm especially during the cold winter, but using them cold seems to benefit my sometimes sensitive skin most. Great time to focus on masking and skincare, I've been wearing my masks while I'm binge watching "The Tiger King"( by the way Carole most def fed her husband to the tigers!!!)


I love using my sheet masks and jade rollers for everyday self care. We always need to have self care and i love to use sheet masks. I typically use my masks cold but from now on when I’m under the weather i will try using it while warm.


Use a mask sheet from time to time.
To reduce the heat on the face or forehead and soothe the skin around your sensitive nose!


Verified experts are beauty professionals who receive free products for independent reviews without receiving payment.

Yes! This was me last week! Definitely stood with my skincare routine though lol. I agree 100% with a facial massage with focus to the sinuses for nasal congestion relief, paired with your favorite gemstone facial roller to promote circulation and lymphatic drainage to aid in releasing those toxins. Wish I would have read this before I got sick because that warm face mask sounds amazing. 🥰 Helpful article! 👌🏽


love the advice!


Verified experts are beauty professionals who receive free products for independent reviews without receiving payment.

This is perfect for the cold and flu season! I like to focus on eye creams or eye patches for myself in particular because I already have dark circles by genetics and when you're sick the undereye area only gets worse! Love the facial massages too!


I'm never able to get through my eye patches, so that's a great idea. And yeah, a nice, warm sheet mask sounds so good right about now 🤒🤒🤒