SINGAPORE, Skin Care – Many of us never thought there would come a time for us adults to experience a “2nd Puberty”, and the acne outbreaks often associated with it. The greater irony will come from these acne outbreaks being cause by the very thing, that was suppose to protect us from a certain Coronavirus (COVID-19) – The face mask. On the shallower side of things, would you have noticed that there seems to be more beautiful people walking on the streets of Singapore these days?
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What caused Maskne?
We have to be serious about protecting ourselves — and others — from the real dangers of Covid-19, and wearing a mask is essential when heading out. However, this protection is leading to an embarrassing and unpleasant side effect: blemishes, pimples or in more professional term acne. Maskne is not a new phenomenon, as medical professionals who frequently wore masks can attest to this, but the condition has become more widespread amongst the general population.
Acne Mechanica – This is the jargon for what social media coined it as maskne. In layman terms, it is acne often caused by mechanical friction, and this case the face mask we wear almost every day. Just imagine the heat, friction and occlusion on the skin when combined with a moist environment from breathing, talking or perspiration. This is definitely a recipe for any kinds of breakouts on the skin.
Fighting or preventing Maskne
Consider the type of mask to wear – There are many types of cloth mask in the market, and the material blend affects the breathability of it. A good start is 100% cotton, but you should be more familiar with your skin and how it reacts to various fabric the best.
Wash the mask regularly – This is a no brainer, although many of us are probably guilty in dumping the mask around the house or in the car for some “sun-tanning”. Imagine the amount of dirt and dust that accumulates when leaving it lying around, or not washing it after perspiring under the hot humid weather.
Skip the makeup – This may be a tough ask, but having makeup on the skin and under the mask makes it hard for the skin to breathe, and can clog up the pores. If makeup is essential, go for products labeled “non-comedogenic” or “won’t clog pores”. Like I mentioned earlier, everyone already looks better with the mask on, so why bother with the makeup that can aggravate the skin?
Take a mask break – Pretty self explanatory here. If circumstances permits, try to remove the mask for at least 15 mins every couple of hours. Of course, only remove your mask when it’s safe to do so and after washing your hands.
Streamline the skincare – We’re familiar enough with the X-steps skincare regime from Korean that produces astonishing results, but we need not follow it blindly. When it comes to maskne, the conventional wisdom is “less is more”. Simply because wearing the mask will intensify product delivery to the skin, and this may instead cause inflammation. All you need is to wash your face with a gentle non-soap cleanser and a mild, fragrance-free moisturizer.
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Go for the regular maintenance – Visiting the dermatologist is the usual solution to skin problems, but regular maintenance through a visit to the beauty salon can be equally effective. If you book your appointments with ULO Lifestyle with one of our partners, it can yield some significant savings too. Getting a facial session and visiting the dermatologist is akin to visiting the General Practitioner (GP) versus a Traditional Chinese Medical practitioner (TCM). During an outbreak, it may make more sense to first get rid of the surface issues (extraction), before you concurrently try to address the deeper roots of the problem through medication.