2020 has undoubtedly been a difficult year so far, and when it comes to our skin it’s no surprise that it’s been negatively affected too.
As if we needed another thing that could potentially trigger a breakout! But if you’re suffering, it may comfort you to know you are not alone. “I am seeing more and more patients with breakouts during the Covid-19 pandemic,” says Dr Anita Sturnham, dermatologist and founder of Decree Skincare line. Dr Sturnham attributes this new surge in skin issues to a number of factors including increased stress and uncertainty, as well as other factors such as lifestyle changes and, of course, the ever-increasing need to wear a face mask. “The close contact to skin, combined with a warm, moist environment between the surfaces creates an opportunity for the skin to become inflamed and irritated,” she explains. With so many of us experiencing ‘maskne’, here are some of our top tips on how to treat and prevent it...
Start With Good Skincare
Much like our new hand-washing habits, thorough cleansing of the skin is key. Whether you’ve been wearing a mask intermittently or throughout the day, Dr Anita suggests adding a gentle exfoliating cleanser into your evening routine. The Decree’s Deep Cleanse product uses a combination of both lactic and salicylic, as well as detoxifying clays to really reduce any unwanted congestion within the pores. After a good cleanse, it’s also recommended to strip back most of your skincare routine by avoiding any harsh exfoliants, strong peels and ingredients such as retinol, as these can be incredibly drying and cause further irritation. This goes against the usual MO for skin that we hear about, but if you’re suffering then it’s a good idea to instead opt for soothing and hydrating products which will help keep your skin barrier in tact. Moisturiser is key to replenishing your skin, so look for ones which will lock-in moisture and repair rather that sitting on the top of the skin, such as Aurelia’s Cell Revitalise Night Moisturiser. For active breakouts, try targeted treatments just on the affected area. We’ve been reaching for REN’s Clearcalm Non-Drying Spot Treatment which helps to tackle spots head on but without any dryness, thanks to the clever formula of salicylic acid, maritime pine and chlorella.
Inside Out, Outside In
It’s not surprise that we would mention this one! Aside from managing any skin concerns topically, we really believe, and science shows, that one of the best things you can do to improve your skin’s overall health is to support from the inside. This is especially the case given we are all currently feeling the heat, and we all know that stress, anxiety, poor sleep and hectic work schedules can be acne triggers too. Healthier skin with a better microbial balance is likely to mean you're less likely to develop skin issues such as maskne.
Diet is essential here – and you can read more about this here. However suffice to say it, a diet rich in colourful plants, wholegrain carbs, oily fish, good quality meat, nuts, seeds, dark berries, fermented goods (kefir, kimchi and yoghurt) legumes and herbs and spices should be the foundation of what you eat, as well as staying hydrated and reducing alcohol.
Alongside this, a supplement can be a fantastic ally. Our award-winning Beauty Formula supplement welcomes a combination of 48 different vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and probiotics which really help to strengthen, rejuvenate and hydrate your skin from within. This supercharged blend of ingredients such as collagen, super-berries, hyaluronic acid, pine bark, vitamin C and zinc can help to address imbalances, and help to ensure your skin is as strong, healthy and resilient.
Try A Silk Face Mask
From disposable masks to reusable or washable ones, which is really best? It would seem that for many of the skin concerns related to masks, the friction of the mask itself against the skin is a big factor. This can create a humid environment around your nose and mouth and so it’s a good idea to use a breathable, ‘kind-to-skin’ fabric such as silk. We know this will be an investment, but it could be worth it for your skin. We love the ones from Slip, which are not only super comfortable to wear but super stylish. “We designed these silk face coverings to be delicate on the skin,” says Slip’s founder, Fiona Stuart. “They are made from double-sided 100% mulberry silk and laboratory testing showed they created 43% less friction on average when compared to cotton,” she adds. These can also be regularly washed after use. If you are washing your mask, don’t forget to do this properly to help prevent bacteria becoming an issue. Use a high temperature setting if it’s cotton, or add in a gentle antibacterial solution in your wash. Keep in mind that reusable ones are also great from a cleanliness point of view as they won’t collect any skin-clogging bacteria and they can simply be disposed of after use. Sadly they are not so clean for the environment😭
Try This Insider Maskne Hack
Our last word of advice comes from reality TV skincare expert Sandra Lee (AKA Dr Pimple Popper) who went viral with this TikTok hack of spraying the inside of your mask with a salicylic acid spray. We can vouch for this after putting it to the test for the past few weeks. We’ve been applying a few spritz’ of Murad’s Clarifying Body Spray on the inside of our mask and have noticed less breakouts when combined with the above advice too.
Words by Samantha Nice