Is it me or have the past four months felt like four years? What seemed to be a robust year has turned all of us upside down and caused quite the awakening. I do believe however that this unprecedented time will end up as a positive historical and transformational coup for ALL of us.
While I hesitated to write this blog on seemingly trivial matters such as skin problems in the midst of such turmoil; I feel it is my responsibility to address an issue that pops up in my inbox and DM's daily. Maskne: that's right...acne from frequent mask wear. This is a real issue and I have helped numerous men and women overcome what is otherwise known as "acne mechanica" (commonly found on athletes wearing helmets with chin straps).
If you or someone you know are struggling with maskne, please read below for tips on how to prevent it.
1. Think of mask wearing like underwear...choose cotton that breathes and wash or change your mask frequently. Just as you wouldn't put on 2 day old undies, You shouldn't wear a mask with bacteria from dried sweat and oils. Organic cotton is best; and wash it daily with natural detergent that won't off gas harsh chemicals from conventional, scented detergents.
2. Simplify your skin care regime.. It's easy to over complicate your skin care routines with too many products which can irritate the skin. Mask wearing is your new excuse to simplify. Cleanse your face at night with your Cleansing Oil and apply Detox Mask to the maskne area to draw out impurities from sweat or breath condensation. Once the mask dries, rinse and mist your face with the calming Blemish Free Hydrosol and apply either Acne Prevent oil or Regenerative Oil. If your skin is suffering from redness in addition to maskne, I recommend applying the Moisture Mask after cleansing your face and either sleeping in it or leaving it on for an hour or more.
3. Prevention is imperative. Each morning, rinse face with warm wash cloth and mist the Blemish Free Hydrosol and apply Face Balm to the area. Face Balm acts as double duty by providing a barrier from friction and blocks the bacteria from sweat. Bring your Blemish Free hydrosol to work and mist your face throughout the day. If you are able, use a wet paper towel to wipe the mask area a few times per day and rehydrate with your hydrosol and a little Acne Prevent Oil or Face Balm for extra protection. Avoid washing with soap or abrasive conventional face washes as this will cause your skin to freak out and over produce oil. I carry a Travel Set in my car or purse for situations like this.
4. Avoid using products like retinol (especially if you've never used it) or reduce your usage to night time and use less as this product causes irritation and excessive exfoliation, leaving the skin tender and vulnerable to intense delivery of bacteria directly into the pores.
5. Avoid makeup underneath your mask and if you have to wear it for a Zoom call or meeting, I highly recommend you wash it off before wearing your mask for the day. Since your mask covers your beautiful smile, go ahead and highlight your eyes with magnificent mascara and eye makeup!
6. Avoid harsh conventional over the counter acne products. These treatments can be too irritating to inflamed skin and we don't want to stoke the acne fire! If you have dark skin and are experiencing hyperpigmentation, I suggest using Moisture Mask each night to sleep in. This mask has naturally occurring glycolic acid and hyaluaronic acid which help reduce hyperpigmentation. The Face Balm contains Frankincense essential oil which also reduces hyperpigmentation of the skin.
7. If irritation with angry red bumps persists around the mask area after practicing the above measures, you may want to consider 2 other causes of acne: STRESS and DIET! Meditation, exercise, talk therapy, laughter and connecting with friends and loved one that support you can help minimize your stress. Diet can be streamlined by reducing or omitting sugar, alcohol and fried foods and minimizing dairy and wheat products to reduce excessive inflammation and stagnation in the lymphatic system. There is further evidence coming out in JAMA Dermatology JAMA Dermatology Report that dairy and sugar cause adult acne.
I hope you find this post helpful in these trying times. Remember to continue opening your heart, reaching out to those you love and those in need and don't forget to breathe! The world may seem overwhelming right now, but it is in times like these that practicing gratitude will help you find the sun behind the clouds. While finding blessings can sometimes feel challenging on particularly difficult days, consider this: one blessing you have for sure is still having the opportunity to count your blessings!
Stay sane and know that you are loved and appreciated!