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51. Therapist Thursday - How to fight the maskne

Updated: Mar 21

Did you know that the acne caused by wearing masques has been given its own name 'maskne' and is one of the buzzwords for 2020? Face masks are no longer just a twice weekly treatment to restore our skin, they are now part of our daily attire. This years lockdowns have been eased over the summer and we've been allowed to venture out around the country a bit more, but face masks are no longer just a product we put on our skin. They are now a daily necessity for normal life activities. With the humidity, high temperatures and hot breath they also provide the perfect environment for breakouts.

With the right skincare you won't need to hide your face once your masque comes off. Part of treating a skincare concern like Maskne is knowing what causes it. Face masques are being used around the world to help stop the spread of Covid-19. When you wear a mask your breath gets trapped in a small space. Underneath the mask you have skin cells, dead skin cells, makeup, dirt, pollution and a moist environment. This is a cocktail for blocked pores and blackheads that can turn into whiteheads and pimples. Not the glowing skin recipe we‘re all trying to achieve!

Skincare is even more important to help clear bacteria to prevent breakouts and promote clear healthy skin. Follow these six steps for a healthy skin selfie:

1. Face Masque Maintenance

Cotton or silk are the best materials for your skin, your skin is used to them and they are breathable. Make sure your mask is a surgical grade layered fabric as a single layer of cotton or silk will not protect against covid-19.

Each time we wear a mask a little makeup, bacteria and dirt is left behind on the inside, which if used repeatedly can cause breakouts. Masque hygiene is just as important as the type of material used. Try to have several masques available so that they can be washed between each use... my motto is to wash your masque as often as you would your panties (at least!) In the treatment room I wear a different mask with each client, so am changing mine almost every hour.

2. Cleanse and Clear

Double cleansing twice a day ensures that the skin is properly cleaned. For the first cleanse try an oil based cleanser like Precleanse and massage it into the skin for 60 seconds to breakdown the bacteria, makeup, pollution and dirt from the skin. Emulsify with water to help further breakdown the impurities and use a sponge to remove.

The second cleanse should be performed with a cleanser that suits your skin type. For example if you have dry skin - try a cream based cleaner; if your skin is more oily then try a foaming cleanser. Again massage the cleanser into the skin for 60 seconds and then removed thoroughly with a sponge or cloth.

3. Exfoliate and Eliminate

Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells and speed up the skin's renewal process. By using a gentle daily exfoliant such as Daily Superfoliant it helps to protect the skin against pollution and gently sloughs away dead skin cells to keep the skin clear.

Once or twice a week an enzyme peel is recommended to help clear blackheads and breakout causing bacteria. The rapid reveal peel is a professional grade exfoliant that contains Alpha Hydroxy Acids from pumpkin fruit and caviar lime extracts along with lactic acid to accelerate cell turnover helping to heal any breakouts and leave the skin more radiant for moments when you are not donning a masque.

4. Miss the Makeup

Lipstick and foundation rub off on your masque, especially if you're wearing them for longer periods. I would recommend avoiding makeup to help minimise build up in the enclosed area. Instead, focus more on eye makeup, brows and sun protection to enhance the jewels that everyone will be looking at and prevent a masque tan line.

The are some great daily moisturisers that have a high sun protection factor to prevent tan lines and protect the skin plus contain reflective particles to promote natural luminosity. My favourites are Prisma Protect spf30 and Total Eye Care spf15 to brighten, hydrate and protect the skin throughout the day.

5. Healthy Hydration

Did you know that more than 60% of the adult body is water? Staying hydrated on the inside helps with an overall healthy mind and body, whilst hydrating the skin from the outside helps maintain a strong barrier function preventing sensitivity and breakouts.

According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%.

Maintaining internal hydration prevents fine lines around the eye area and along the forehead which are now the main focus point of everyones face when they're wearing a masque. To keep eyes bright and skin radiant between masque use, apply hydrating serums to the skin to help maintain a strong barrier function and reduce inflammation from maskne.

An average healthy adult living in a temperate climate should consume two to three litres of water each day for healthy digestion, clear mind, body function and glowing skin.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is: About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men. About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.

A few of my favourite skin hydrating serums are:

- Calm Water Gel which contains a Dual Hyaluronic Acid technology that penetrates the deeper layers of skin and quenches the thirst of the top layers for longer lasting hydration. Apple Fruit Extract and Glycerin hydrates and softens the skin while Cactus Pear Extract helps soothe sensitivity and maintains moisture balance.

- Skin Hydrating Booster contains hyaluronic acid which holds 1000 times it's weight in water and algae extract which helps to restore the skin's natural moisture balance and plump out fine lines.

- Sound Sleep Cocoon is an overnight treatment that not only helps you achieve a sounder nights sleep, it also helps to restore and hydrate overnight with Tamarind Seed Extract. A few worldly ingredients such as Persian Silk Tree Extract helps to reduce signs of skin fatigue and restores vitality while Australian Wu-Zhu-Yu Extract boosts radiance in this overnight transformative treatment.

6. Masque More

Using a face masque in your weekly skincare regime helps to refine pores, increase hydration, even skin tone, brighten and firm the skin in one treatment. For best results use a masque at least once a week, and if you're a more advanced skincare enthusiast I would recommend up to three times a week. There are three types of masques that I am alternating between to help maintain healthy skin whilst wearing a masque for long periods of time. I use one of the first two in the shower and then follow with Skin Hydrating Masque or Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque as an overnight remedy.

There are clay based masques that help to provide a deeper cleanse and refine pores like the Charcoal Rescue Masque which contains Activated Binchotan Charcoal to adsorb impurities, Sulfur to brighten and refresh, and Niacinamide to reduce congestion and calm the skin.

The new Hydro Masque Exfoliant is a two in one treatment I love to use in the shower! The bamboo beads provide a physical exfoliation, then when left on the skin for 3-5 minutes the snow mushroom hydrates the skin.

Skin Hydrating Masque is a refreshing remedy for dry, stressed skins. It contains a cross-linked hyaluronic acid which holds 5000 times its weight in water giving skin a weeks worth of hydration in one application. It also has tomato seed lipids that help to restore the skin's barrier and improve moisture levels to enhance that healthy glow.

You can maintain a glowing complexion even when you have to wear a masque. It might raise the odds of getting a few breakouts, but prevention is better than cure, so make the time to look after your skin. Wishing you all health, happiness and glowing skin.

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