Do you have ‘maskne’ and how can you get rid of it?
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Have you got bad skin from sanitiser or spots from your face mask? A Suffolk expert shares how you can soothe and heal both complaints.
Winter is undoubtedly one of the harshest seasons for skin – add constant hand washing and mask wearing into the mix, and it’s no surprise that dermatologists have seen a rise in the number of clients who have been suffering from various skin ailments over the recent months.
Rosy Boulton of Crystal Rose Skin Clinic is an Ipswich-based skincare expert who has a number of tips for helping people combat problematic skin conditions this season – and explains what causes them.
“Some of the most common skincare complaints I’ve noticed in my clinic this year since the weather’s changed has definitely been more rosacea,” she says.
Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that tends to be more prevalent in women than men, and presents itself in the form of visible redness, skin sensitivity and facial thread veins.
“Dry skin is also a frequent complaint, and unsurprisingly, sun-damaged skin after the especially hot summer we had earlier this year. Additionally, since lockdown, clients who’ve tended to wear less make up have noticed more of these issues. Combine that with the increased use of Zoom calls, and their skin’s poor health has certainly been more noticeable.”
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While women have been wearing less makeup this year, acne is still common among many due to the compulsory introduction of face masks.
“Maskne seems to be a ‘new norm’. It is often seen in clinics nowadays as masks not only cause friction and irritation, which leads to sensitivities and redness, but also blocks the skin’s natural moisture barrier. This keeps more sebum in the skin which then becomes the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, eventually leading to acne.”
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Besides regularly washing and changing your masks, Rosy has a handful of suggestions that can help remedy this facial problem.
“I always recommend cleansing, preferably twice a day in the morning and in the evening, to help rid excess build-up of oil and dead skin cells that block follicles on the surface of the skin. Using gentle skincare products that contain active ingredients, these can help tackle excess oil build-up. Beta hydroxy acid is superb at bringing out oil and bacteria deep down in the hair follicles.
“Exfoliating with low pH acids such as alpha hydroxy acid helps speed up the removal of dead cells that build up on the surface of the skin, which if not removed can leave the skin looking lacklustre and uneven in tone and texture. Moisturising maskne-afflicted skin regularly is also important. Using hydrating and calming gentle ingredients such as aloe vera and hyaluronic acid are great - these will go a long way in calming and healing inflamed skin.”
Additionally, chapped lips are another common affliction that can wreak havoc during the winter months, causing great discomfort and even bleeding in some cases. “I’d recommend a more natural, moisturising lip balm, or even a Vaseline-based lip balm. These act as occlusives, and will prevent moisture being lost from the lips. Apply lip balm every night before bed, and you will wake up with plumper, more hydrated lips.”
However, of the most problematic skin conditions exacerbated by the pandemic has to be dry hands. Rosy has noticed a rise in the number of complaints related to dry, cracked and sometimes even bleeding hands, due in part to more frequent hand washing and sanitising,
“I always recommend using a good, emollient-based hand cream after every wash if possible. I keep a tube of hand cream with me everywhere I go – whether that’s in my handbag, my car, my kitchen or my bedside table. Avoid products that are heavily chemically-based, such as alcohol, parabens and even fragrance. These strip away the skin’s natural moisture, causing long-term damage - instead, opt for more natural, moisturising hand creams.”
Even though there is considerably less sunlight during the winter months, sun damage is still a risk at this time of year, and Rosy recommends still wearing facial SPF all year round.
“I can’t say this enough, but a broad-spectrum SPF that offers protection from all of the damaging UV rays must be worn throughout winter, and in fact 365 days a year. Ideally, a minimum of factor 30 should still be worn in the winter. Unfortunately, UVA rays are the ones that cause ageing and 80 - 90% of skin damage, and still have the ability to permeate through clouds and glass, even on the dreariest of days. This causes deep, dermal damage to the skin.”
Finally, Rosy stresses the importance of eating foods rich in antioxidants to help keep your skin healthier and glowing during these duller winter months. “Try to eat more fruits and vegetables such as berries, apples, carrots, beetroots and green leafy vegetables, along with healthy fats from fish, seeds and nuts.
“As well as consuming the right foods, keeping hydrated is equally as important, and I always recommend drinking up to two litres of water a day. Keeping hydrated plays a pivotal role in maintaining the skin’s elasticity and suppleness – it’s the cheapest moisturiser you’ll find.”