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I am seeing many more patients with breakouts during the Covid-19 pandemic. There are many potential reasons for this increase, as spots and congestion can be triggered by stress, diet, hormones and clogging products. During the lockdown period many of us have had our routines turned upside down. Working from home, snacking on processed foods and suffering from the stress of uncertainty over our jobs and families, all of these things can send our skin into breakout mayhem. The other trigger is 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, leading to further breakouts in an atypical mask distribution. A condition which has been given the name 'Maskne'.
Changing your mask regularly, choosing a fabric that has a soft surface against the skin and can be washed regularly and avoiding wearing makeup under the mask, can all help. It is also worth adding in a fruit acid based exfoliating cleanser at night, using ingredients such as Lactic acid, Salicylic acid and detoxifying clays, to clarify and reduce pore congestion.
Another important strategy is to ensure that you avoid products that strip the skin of its important lipid barriers. As these weaken, our skin loses its ability to hold on to moisture and we lose water more readily, through transepidermal moisture loss. This, in turn, can increase sebum production, as the skin attempts to increase its natural hydration levels. You should avoid double cleansing, alcohol based toners and fruit acid serums. Look for products rich in hydrating ingredients such as glycerin, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, squalane and fatty acids.
Once a week, use a detoxifying mask.Fruits acids and enzymes are my preference, rather than beads, scrubs and other mechanical exfoliation. This mask step will provide a deep exfoliation, helping to reduce pore congestion and regulate oil control. Always follow with a hydrating Hyaluronic acid and Ceramide type product to restore skin barriers.
In a clinic setting, a detoxifying Hydrafacial can work wonders for 'Maskne' prone skin. Combining Lymphatic drainage, with superficial and deep cleansing, your skin is then treated to LED therapy and an antioxidant infusion, to rehydrate and brighten skin tone.