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How to Care for Skin Under a Face Covering - 6 Quick Tips

Does your sensitive skin feel hot and humid under your mask?  Perhaps you've noticed more redness, spots and irritation, even maskne or mask acne....yes, it is a thing!  But we love our face masks and need to wear them regardless - they keep us, and others, safe and from today masks are compulsory attire in the U.K. in all shops, takeaways and stations. So, it's time to ditch the wipes and prioritise a good, simple skincare routine to protect your skin while you are protecting others. 

What is Maskne? Maskne or 'mask acne' is spots, redness or inflammation on your mouth, cheeks, and jawline. 

Known as 'acne mechanica' by dermatologists, maskne was well-recognized before COVID as it's seen amongst professionals who wear PPE and athletes wearing helmets and masks for long periods.

According to Elizabeth Mullans, M.D., a Texan dermatologist, maskne occurs when humidity, sweat, skin oils, and bacteria become trapped on the skin beneath your mask. Skin can also become dry and irritated from the material, damaging the skin barrier.  

Dr Stephanie Munn, a dermatologist at Bupa U.K. 'In the early stages, your skin may just feel rough or bumpy,' she explains. 'But as acne mechanica progresses, these tiny breakouts can become irritated and proceed to more visible, inflamed blemishes'.

How do I prevent mask acne and breakouts?

Prevention is always better than cure, so these 6 tips may help you to stop breakouts from forming while you adjust to the new normal.

  1. Wear less (or no) makeup to allow your skin to breathe.  The last thing you want is foundation that melts right off.  If you do need to wear makeup, opt for lightweight powders and sheer, oil-free foundations.

  2. Wash your face consistently and regularly twice a day. Cleansing in the evening is essential to dissolve makeup, dirt and pollutants, dead skin cells as well as excess oil from your skin. Use an oil cleanser such as Reset Cleansing Balm to melt makeup, SPF and grime away. Remove it with a warm, damp Organic Cotton Face Cloth which helps to remove all traces of balm and dead skin cells in one easy step. Made with Geranium and Sacha Inchi oils to balance the skin and Moringa and Castor oils to gently but effectively deep clean your skin. Reset also helps to reduce congestion, soothe irritation while nourishing and helping to maintain the skin barrier and natural pH of your skin (4.5-6). You only need to use a blueberry sized amount, so it lasts for ages. If you do like to double cleanse, chose a gentle, non-foaming face wash for your second cleanse. 

  3. Apply moisturiser to damp skin to help maintain your skin's natural protective barrier. Look out for lightweight yet hydrating face creams like Revive Multi-action Face Cream which contains soothing, hydrating ingredients such as calendula, blackcurrant, hyaluronic acid and science-backed natural actives. The actives, made from sustainable sources, help to combat irritation and provide instant and long-lasting hydration. 

  4. If you suffer from dry, irritated skin, try an evening facial massage with a few drops of Restore Multi-purpose Beauty Oil Essential Oil Free.  This lightweight natural oil helps to restore the skin's protective barrier by preventing dryness and soothing irritation.  Carefully formulated with Squalane, Sacha Inchi and Kahai (Cacay) oils which are non-comedogenic and rich in healthy skin loving omega oils, vitamins and anti-oxidants. 

  5. Invest in a good mask - opt for a washable silk mask (if possible) to reduce rubbing and irritation. Make sure your mask fits comfortably – you want a snug fit across your nose, on the sides, and under your chin if your mask is too tight or slides around, it can irritate your skin. Don't forget to wash your mask after every use to protect yourself and your skin, and use gentle, fragrance-free laundry detergent. 

  6. Be holistic – don't forget to stay hydrated, avoid refined sugar and processed foods.  Find time for things that make you happy, and help you to reduce stress and sleep better, e.g. exercise, meditation or other mindful activities. 

Finally, it's important to continue wearing a mask, even when if it causes skin irritation. If you are experiencing problems or concerned about anything unusual, it's essential to consult with a doctor.  

In short, maskne is a thing, but, if ever there was a time to prioritize a good skincare routine, it's now!

Have you been affected by maskne or noticed any changes in your skin?  

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Lets share on social and help others! 

Sarah x

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