Well, I have to admit, post-lockdown life has not been all easy-breezy for me. From navigating through life in a new socially distanced culture to the sheer horror that every cough and sneeze could be something more sinister, just like the rest of us I’m trying to adapt to these strange uncertain times.
One particular post-lockdown issue I’ve been faced with as of late, is the dreaded Maskne.
For the past few months throughout lockdown I took the time to really get on top of my skincare regime. I stayed clear of make-up for months and I finally got to a place where my skin was happier, healthier and glowing. But alas, this was not to be.
Since I began to pull my life back together and finally emerged from the shadows, at first, everything seemed fine. I was just happy to be outside and not looking at the same four walls that I had been doing for months. Then the new rules came in. The masks made an appearance – and so did the blemishes.
Now don’t get me wrong I completely understand why we should be wearing masks especially when we are out in public places. For me, it took a bit of getting used to. Even now I still find myself walking back to my car as soon as I get to the front of a store to retrieve my stash of glovebox masks.
My rescued skin after the maskne treatments
The problem I have, and one in which I am sure many of you also face is how restrictive these masks make you feel. Whenever I’m out and about I always have to walk down an empty supermarket aisle just so I can pull back my mask and take a few gulps of fresh, unrestricted air.
As time went on, I started noticing more and more blemishes appearing. They appeared around my jawline and started making their way up my face, destroying all my hard lockdown work.
Well, I’ve decided that I’m making a stand in the hope that not only will it help my skin to clear up, but that it will help our VIVA readers who may be struggling with similar issues too.
I’ve asked some of the UK’s leading skincare experts for their advice and I’m here to give you my lowdown on some of the products I’ve been trying out to combat the dreaded Maskne.
First off, I asked Dr Rita Rakus one of London’s leading cosmetic doctors, what actually causes Maskne? Her response was simple.
“When you wear a face mask, friction is created due to the pressure, stretching and rubbing caused by the material. This friction between the material and the skin can cause irritation, leading to breakouts on the lower part of your face. As skin is blocked and closed off from air, mixed in with our breath and bacteria from our mouth, skin can become inflamed.
In warmer temperatures, our skin tends to sweat when we wear a mask and we can find ourselves adjusting our masks and moving them, which can increase friction being caused against the skin. Those who already suffer from acne and eczema or have hormonal skin may suffer more from wearing face mask as skin becomes even more irritated.”
Well, irritated was a great word to describe exactly how my skin was feeling, and how I was feeling as a result of these breakouts.
I started off by making sure my skin was as clean as possible every morning and evening. I found these incredible eco-friendly face pads from Bambu Babe which I have to say are a game changer. These microfibre pads have been created to thoroughly remove make-up with just water. I was a little dubious at first, however I could not believe the results after the first time I used them. My face felt squeaky clean and I didn’t even use a single product, just a little warm water and a pad. These are great for sensitive skin as they maintain the natural PH of your skin. They last over 200 washes and are only £12 (with free shipping too).
I now use these religiously and the pads have become a staple skincare essential for me.
To tackle my existing blemishes however, I needed something a little stronger. For this I tried the Bye Bye blemish microneedling blemish patches. These patches seem to be relatively new to the market so I figured I would give them a go. The patches are great for stand-alone blemishes, however they won’t be as effective if you have a cluster. I put one on before bed and the next day the inflammation had gone down considerably – so they do work. They come in at £12.95 for 9 patches and contain a mixture of hyaluronic acid and tea tree oil.
To help to combat the clusters that were appearing all around my face I found the PCA blemish bar. What I like about this blemish bar is that it’s contained in a jar. I struggle with a lot of blemish/charcoal bars as they tend to come without any packaging, so they often get soggy and end up staining my bathroom. This one is clean and easy to use and leaves my skin cleansed and clean. You purchase the blemish control bar for £43.
As I began to introduce these new products into my skincare routine, I noticed my skin was starting to dry out as a result of the products. To balance this out I have started using the Weleda almond soothing facial oil. This is a light and gentle oil that does not leave my skin feeling greasy. Coming in at a reasonable £18.95 this oil lasts and lasts.
Not only was it important for me to get on top of my skin, but I felt that it was equally as important to choose a mask that would reduce possibility of flair ups. I found a viscose and eucalyptus fibre mask from Giesswein. I’ve found that this two-toned mask is antibacterial, breathable and very comfortable to wear. Eucalyptus fibers have a cooling effect, which is ideal for wearing in warm temperatures and the fabric’s loose knit allows ideal air circulation keeping the mask protecting your face without overwhelming your skin. This reusable mask comes in at £9.90 with free shipping.
Overall, although my skin is still fighting the effects of maskne, I am seeing an improvement as time goes by. I have added a scarring face cream to my regime to try and reduce the remaining marks which have appeared on both of my cheeks. For this I am using Science of Skin’s Rescue no. One Cream. This contains naturally active green tea extract (EGCG), formulated to help combat the thickening and redness that contribute to the prominence of scars produced by acne, spots and blemishes. This cream is available for £18.99 and has already won a variety of awards.