First of all, if you’re struggling with mask-wearing-induced acne, congratulations on doing the right thing and keeping our community safer!
Secondly, let’s get down to business on how we minimize and prevent those pesky breakouts.
1. Cleanse morning and night with a cleanser that best suits your skin type (eg. cream cleanser for dry skin, foam cleanser for sensitive, gel for normal to combo, etc.)
2. TONER, TONER, TONER! Toner is such an important second step in a skincare routine. Basically, cleanser work at a certain pH to be able to cleanse the skin well enough but they are generally on the more alkaline side of the scale. Since, the skin has a natural pH of around 4.5-5.5, it’s on the more acidic side and after cleansing, we need to rebalance the pH of the skin to prevent hydration loss, bacteria accumulation, and discomfort; that’s where toner comes in! Toners comes in many formulations and your skin type will influence which works best for you. Alcohol-free toners (like SkinCeuticals’ Equalizing Toner) is a great toner for all skin types. Lightly exfoliating toners (like SkinCeuticals’ LHA Toner), are best for combo-oily and/or acne prone skin. Toners should be applied straight after cleansing, on lightly towel-dried skin. During this mask-wearing time, I would additionally suggest keeping some toner and some cotton pads on you and giving your affected area a wipe every few hours of mask-wearing if possible. This can minimize the amount of oil sitting on the skin, as well as getting some of that bacteria off the skin.
3. Serums/Spot Treatments/At-home peels. Chemical exfoliants will be your best friend when it comes to getting a handle on these breakouts; whether they are papules, pustules (whiteheads), open comedones (blackheads), or closed comedones (small, textured bumps). Chemical exfoliants that exfoliate using either an acid or an enzyme are much preferred over a physical exfoliant like scrubs because they are much more effective in exfoliating the skin, but much less damaging than that abrasive nature of scrubs. In terms of acne, scrubs can scratch and open breakouts; spreading the bacteria and pus over the skin which can cause more breakouts. This abrasion can also aggravate inflammation which has the potential to become more painful and cause darker acne scarring. Lastly, scrubs can cause micro-tears in the skin-the perfect spot for acne bacteria to get into the skin. Chemical exfoliants we love include:
Spot Treatment - SkinCeuticals’ Retinol, Alumier MD Spot Clearing Lotion
At-Home Peels - Alumier Enzyme Peel, Alumier Bright and Clear, Sorella Blackberry Lime Fruitfoliant
3. Moisturize/Hydrate! I know it can be tempting to not put moisturizer on top of oily and/or acne-prone skin, but it is super important to moisturize the skin to ensure that the skin has enough hydration. If the skin lacks hydration (water), the skin will over-produce sebum (oil) to compensate, making oily skin even greasier. If you properly hydrate the skin using an appropriate moisturizer for your skin type, the skin doesn’t have to produce even more oil and the chance of excess oil causing breakouts goes down. Moisturizers for Combo/Oily/Acne-prone skin that we love include:
SkinCeuticals’ Hydrating B5 Gel
Sorella Daily Greens Oil-free
4. Sunscreen to prevent acne scars from healing darker!
5. Wash masks in between each use-if possible
6. Avoid wearing makeup underneath a mask.
7. Come into HeLa for a free skin consultation for more personalized suggestions from our Esthetician, Rebecca.
8. Schedule an Acne Care Facial for a deeper treatment to help clear up some breakouts, dissolve and reduce excess sebum and dead skin, calm inflammation, and receive personalized suggestions for further course of management and treatment.
9. Talk with your Doctor about prescription strength options, if necessary. If you don’t have a family doctor, feel free to come on in and we can see about scheduling an appointment with our Physician to discuss your options.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read, we hope some of these tips and tricks help you out!