In our ‘new normal’, wearing a face mask has become an essential part of our quotidian routine. If smothering ourselves in this humid climate isn’t exasperating enough, we still have to deal with the side effect that has been becoming another epidemic of its own – Maskne, acne and irritation provoked by wearing a mask. It is the grime, oil, and sweat trapped for prolonged hours underneath, compounded with the heat and friction that triggers something called acne mechanica, making your skin a hotbed for breakouts.
Don’t hold your breath, there’s more to this facer – on top of clogged pores, it also means the attrition of your skin barrier, the microscopic layer of protective oils and fats that keep bacteria at bay and hydration under your dermis on tap. Imagine having the power supply of your skin curtailed and left vulnerable. Yikes.
Do we have a choice? The answer is yes! There are ways to prevent and treat, so keep calm and carry on wearing a mask.
If you care enough to choose what to put on your skin, you should be as prudent with the type of protective mask you wear. In our humid environment, lightweight fabrics such as 100 percent cotton provides the appropriate level of protection and amount of breather for your skin. But don’t get complacent with washing your mask, as you don’t want to transfer any residual dirt and bacteria lingering on the fabric from yesterday onto your face.
Up your skincare game
This is the time to take stock of your skincare routine and ask yourself if you are using the right beauty products. If you are not sure, pare back to the basics:
This is our two-times-two approach for a clean job. Double-cleanse your face twice a day (maximum), especially if you have worn a mask, using a gentle cleanser charged with a subtle amount of salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide to purge all the impurities out of your pores.
The catalyst for an angry, inflamed skin is friction. So it’s important to keep your skin well-hydrated underneath that mask with a non-comedogenic moisturiser with active ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and ceramides for that extra balm of protection.
It’s not hard to (temporarily) break-up with your makeup to prevent a breakout. When half of our face is concealed with a mask, why bother with another layer of concealer and put our skin under toll with the daily cesspool of germs, sweat, and oil. Focus on where it can be seen instead and draw the attention to your eyes with a light touch of mascara and eyeliner.
What you consume on a daily basis does show on your face. Consider drinking teas to supplement your topical efforts. Green teas and matcha are our go-to elixirs for a dose of antioxidants and polyphenols to beat acne to the punch and mitigate sebum production. The latter is also a host for a much more potent antioxidant, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), that temper angry, red inflammation. No medicine tastes as good as that.
Shop our curated selection of green teas here.