Dealing With Mask Acne in Covid Times

Mask acne or ‘M-acne’ as I like to call it is affecting many of us. There are many contributing factors so I’ll do a run-down for you.

Those who know me know that I’m a HUGE proponent of self-love and other-love especially in times like these. Not only are these uncertain times affecting us mentally but also physically and economically in a major way. Our skin, the largest organ in the body is a reflection of EVERYTHING!

I want to share some love with everyone who has called me over the past several weeks wondering what is going on with their skin. Many are experiencing acne breakouts as well as rashes, itching, sensitivities, redness and are not sure what to do. Here we go…

Food, exercise and stress…
As we remain “sheltered-in-place” for yet another month, that can mean that we may not be working out as we were just a couple of months ago which definitely affects our mood and stress level. Chronic stress increases levels of stress-related hormones such as cortisol and sends the skin’s sebaceous (oil) glands into overdrive. When mixed with dead skin cells and breakout-causing bacteria = no bueno. Adult skin is also more prone to a buildup of dead skin cells because our natural cell turnover slows over time.

For me personally, my food intake has really been swinging from healthy, mindful eating to going for broke on the carbs and sugar!! Major inflammation that happens when you eat foods with a high glycemic index can definitely worsen acne. White bread, soda, salad dressings, candy, and other baked goods that contain refined and processed sugars and starches cause your insulin to spike stimulating oil and acne production. Stats also show that alcohol consumption is way up. While drinking too much seems relaxing, it can actually induce a stress-related response stimulating acne-causing hormones such as adrenal androgens which stimulate the oil glands in the skin.

So, N-95 masks are meant to provide at least 95% filtration against oil-free particles and when they are worn and fitted correctly they create a pressurized seal so ifs and lessened air-flow coming in and going out. This increases the temperature and humidity around your nose and mouth area. It’s not surprising to see acne in the areas covered by the masks. Wearing surgical masks, while not as occlusive as N-95 masks still wreak havoc on your skin. As for the thick, cloth masks, well you can imagine those may be the worst culprits due to the thickness and non-breathability. Wearing masks over prolonged periods of time creates a humid “tropical” skin microclimate conducive to a flare‐up of acne. Sweating just adds to mix. Flareups could also be a consequence of blockage of the hair follicle (pore) due to pressure on the skin from the close‐fitting masks. Humidity, oil, and pore blockage are a great recipe for those nasty and sometimes painful breakouts.

Here are some of my recommendations for steps you can take to help out your skin while keeping one another safe.

  1. Above all, BE GENTLE with your skin but most of all with yourself and others.
  2. If you can safely do so, take a ‘mask break’ a few times a day to allow the inside of the mask and the covered area to dry out a little and get some fresh air.
  3. First, wash your hands then wash your face during the day with a mild, gentle, PH balanced, non-foaming cleanser. Use cool water to soothe and calm skin then gently pat dry.
  4. Use a natural, healing soothing product on your skin during the day and after removing your mask. Ingredients such as Aloe, Allantoin, Chamomile and Zinc are a few of the non-pore clogging, healing, soothing, and hydrating options.
  5. Use a hydrating, soothing spray toner during the day when you take a break from your mask
  6. Spot treat your acne – not your entire face with a spot treatment.
  7. GENTLY exfoliate your face to remove all the dead skin cells to help prevent buildup and release trapped sebum. If your skin is already sensitized please contact your skincare expert to get a recommendation that will not cause more irritation.
  8. Try a sheet mask, there are many different masks depending on the condition you are trying to treat.
  9. Change your pillow cases 2-3 times a week
  10. Your face towel should be only for your face and that should be washed at least 3 times a week.
  11. Use a High Frequency Device to kill proprioni bacteria that cause acne. Once the electrode touches the skin, the agron gas releases oxygen, thereby killing bacteria and calming inflammation on contact. (Bacteria can’t live in oxygen, which explains that chain reaction.) By destroying the bacteria and regulating the production of sebum, it helps unclog the skin pores, and allow more effective diffusion of oxygen and nutrients.
  12. Disinfect your cell phone through out the day.
  13. Wash/disinfect your mask. Surgical masks are one time use, cloth masks should be washed after each use, for N-95 disinfection follow CDC guidelines.
  14. Last but not least!!! Call your skincare expert for a virtual consult. Yes, call me! I can help!!

Over the next week, I’ll be posting information daily on products you can use to combat your acne and maintain the health of your skin.

Miss you all!!!

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