In my last article submission in March, I stated that I hoped the pandemic would be over by the time the issue was published. So here we are in July and we are still dealing. Some of us have had lots of time to think and do whatever it is that we could never find time for. Mother Earth is really enjoying this break from the daily ravaging demands of her guests. It is simply amazing how so much can change so fast.
Since the last time we connected, a brand new word has been added to our vocabulary — “maskne.” Maskne is defined as a type of breakout that results from wearing a face mask. Maskne is acne formed in areas due to friction, pressure, stretching, rubbing or occlusion. In order to be most effective the mask should be tight fitting, covering the nose mouth and chin. Yes, that is correct, your nose needs to be covered — no low slinging allowed. Fortunately many of us don a mask temporarily to run into a business, restaurant, etc. But so many others have to wear it all day, and that can be a real problem. Irritation, redness, abrasions, cuts and hyperpigmentation are other problems that are caused by wearing a mask. Combine the moisture in your breath with heat, oil and dirt, and that can be an unpalatable recipe for maskne.
Now that we are constantly covering our skin we need to be more diligent than ever about our skin care routine.
• Cleanse morning and night with a mild cleanser. If you are acne prone, use a cleanser with salicylic acid to keep sebum in check.
• Always use a toner to restore natural pH balance to skin. You can carry cotton pads saturated with toner or witch hazel in a ziplock bag to cleanse and freshen the skin at times when you remove the mask. Facial wipes with natural bases work well also.
• I would not advise a face full of makeup if you can get by without it. Eye makeup can be your glam thing. A lip stain works better instead of lipstick because there is little transfer to the mask.
• Use a very light moisturizer or tinted moisturizer during these hot months.
• A DIY mask should be 100% cotton, with no synthetic fibers, as most contain chemicals. Doubling a 600-thread pillow case will provide a decent filter. The more cross hatch you have the better the filter. You can also use 600-thread and line with chiffon or silk also. Of course, only the N95s filter 95% of airborne particles.
• Change and wash cloth masks regularly. I fear we are falling down in this area, as I see masks swinging from rearview mirrors, thrown on car seats, hanging on necks, ears. I really think a lot of people are using the same mask for weeks on end. This will defeat the reason for even wearing a mask since it might be contaminated and you keep wearing it. A dirty, sweaty mask will contribute to maskne. Wash cloth masks after each use, either in a washing machine on the warmest setting appropriate for the fabric or by hand washing following instructions from the CDC. Don’t touch the front of the mask when you remove it, and wash your hands after handling it.
Since we are all wearing a mask to keep us all safe, I highly recommend that you read and understand the CDC’s considerations for wearing a mask. They have DIY mask-making info and answer all of your mask questions. Visit www.cdc.gov.
Now wash your hands, wear your mask and stay beautiful!