"Maskne" is a phenomenon that so many people are struggling with right now that can be attributed to the hot, humid environment of wearing a mask for personal protection. Since February of this year many of us have added some type of facial covering to our routine as a way to reduce the potential transmission of COVID-19. With this new addition to our daily routine comes the potential to trap debris and create a breeding ground for bacteria on skin which can lead to increased skin congestion or "maskne."
I have been asked numerous times what I recommend to reduce the potential for congestion and here are a few tips that could help:
1. Do not wear foundation or makeup if you are doing so at the moment. Mascara is ALL you need, if that!
2. Refrain from using our Lavender Cold Cream during the day and move it to your evening routine as a skin repairing cream.
3. Reduce your serum use to 1/2 pump on wet skin in the morning and 1 full pump in the evening when your skin is breathing, regenerating and repairing.
4. Add in our Red Clay Facial Mask mid-week twice a month to assist with potential congestion from the humid mask environment. Yes, this means you will exfoliate 2 times a week, twice a month at a maximum. I recommend using our Chamomile & Oats Clay Facial Mask as your weekly exfoliant as it is gentle. With exfoliation it is important to pay attention to your skin, the absorption rate and overall level of dryness. I recommend using our Lavender Cold Cream as your go-to hydrator more times than not after all exfoliation. It is best to schedule this part of your routine for when you are home in the evening and can let all the nutrients absorb into your skin over a period of time.
5. Drink LOTS of water and make sure that you are exercising and really sweating when you do so. This will help with your overall body detoxification process.
6. Lots of fruits, veggies, kombucha and nutrient dense foods. Our bodies and brains are stressed right now so keeping your diet balanced and healthy is key for overall skin health.
7. Take a bath. I know that it is hot out right now but soaking with a magnesium rich salt like our pH balanced Herbal Soaking Salts is important for cellular detoxification which impacts skin health.
8. Spritz our pH balanced toner on skin throughout the day to rehydrate and balance skin.
9. Add in a fruit acid before your weekly Chamomile and Oats Clay Mask ONLY IF you decide to not to do option 4 above.
Fruit acids work like synthetic acids and will remove the gumminess of skin which is cellular debris trapped with sebum or comedones. Personally I would recommend you starting here vs. option 4 as you will see a reduction in congestion quicker without the potential for dermal dehydration.
Back to the basics of an acid, they remove the sticky layers of skin and could cause dermal dehydration, acid mantle breakdown and skin damage if they are used too frequently or if they are too strong. I have talked about acids in the past as most acne cleansers as well as anti-aging treatments are acid based, with salicylic being the normal option for acne & glycolic acid, malic and lactic acid all being anti-aging Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) to assist skin with enhanced cellular turnover and hydration retention.
Many of us have experienced using too strong of an acid or one too often and the repercussion to overall skin health. These can include dry breakouts, oily patches on skin, increased pigmentation and a reduction to the plumpness of skin which is the breakdown of dermal proteins collagen and elastin. We don't want any of this.
In order to safely use a fruit acid, I recommend purchasing some strawberries to eat and saving one for your skin. Keep it at room temperature, cut it lengthwise from stem to tip and blend onto clean skin working in circles. You can do this once a month as a treatment.
The pH of a strawberry is similar to an over the counter glycolic acid and can be used before you exfoliate with our Chamomile & Oats Clay Facial Mask. This raw fruit acid will break surface tension of cellular debris and comedones and allow our mask to better extract and wash away congestion when you rinse. Hydrate as normal with a rich cream. You may have a little pinkness or sensitivity to skin after this combination has removed the protective layers of skin and cellular regeneration is beginning to happen.
It is also vital to remind you all that when you use an acid, you MUST pair it with a daily SPF as your skin is more susceptible to burns. We definitely do not want to undo all the good we just did, use SPF.
Above all remember this too shall pass, so be patient with your skin.