Under your mask the skin can be quite damp and warm, which are ideal conditions for bacteria which can contribute to blemishes
For some countries face masks in public places have been the norm since the beginning of lockdown. In other countries (like the UK), they have only just been made compulsory in shops and confined spaces (although many wore them anyway). It can be a shock to the senses to put one on the for first time but it can also be a shock to your skin. With breakouts and increased sensitivity on the rise as a result, we ask the experts for their tips on sub mask skincare.
You will notice that when you remove a mask, that the skin underneath is quite damp, warm and pink, which, according to skincare expert and facialist Sarah Chapman makes for ideal conditions for bacteria which can contribute to blemishes. Not only that, but “Your mask might also rub against your face and irritate the skin, which can lead to soreness and breakouts” she says.
We spoke to Sarah as well as leading global facialist Anastastia Achilleos, both of whom tend to the skin of many a celebrity on a regular basis. Anastasia has in fact worn a mask as a therapist for the past 25 years. Why? “Firstly you never know what lurgy people come in with. Secondly, “When you are so close to someone’s face as a facialist you tend to turn your head to one side or hold your breathe to avoid taking in others’ breath,” she says.” This in turn makes us become shallow breathers, which can affect our wellbeing.”
Here are their insider tricks to keeping your skin spotless sub face mask…
To avoid your skin becoming greasier under your mask, both Sarah and Anastasia suggest swapping out rich moisturising creams for lighter formulations that won’t clog the pores. Sarah’s Intense Hydrating Booster, $105 is great for this as, she says, as it’s ultra-lightweight and oil free. “Hyaluronic acid and moisture magnets will deeply hydrate without feeling heavy, while soothing rose water will help the skin to feel calm and comfortable. The formula also contains Bioecolia® and beta glucan, two advanced ingredients that will help to defend against any bacteria that has become trapped beneath your mask,” she says.
Anastasia brilliantly suggests that we should use the time we are wearing a mask to treat our skin beneath it. For those with more oily or acne prone skin, she suggests trying a more cosmeceutical type product as they won’t contain fragrance or other irritants. One product she highly recommends is Environ’s Retinol Serum, $74.87, which contains Retinol Palmitrate, which she says reaches the lower matrix of our skin and balances and stabilises the cells there, so when those cells reach the surface they are extremely well formed. This product she says, has been part of her beauty arsenal for 15 years and she applies it once a day (note: this can be applied to the cheeks and forehead too.)
Another product type that Anastasia recommends for use under masks, are balms. These, she explains, can both nourish and protect the skin simultaneously. “We’re looking at products that are slightly different to what you normally use,” she says. Anastasia is a fan of lightweight balms which she says men have actually used forever to protect their skin from the aggressors they face daily such as razors and hair growth. Ren’s Evercalm Overnight Recovery Balm $48 can be used in the day and is light and anti-inflammatory. “Even if your skin gets a bit congested, a balm helps to break down the congestion,” she says. Others she recommends are Decleor’s Aromessence Rose D’Orient Soothing Night Balm $29.70 and Darphin’s Essential Oil Elixir Aromatic Purifying Balm which targets skin prone to imperfections whilst also acting as a barrier.
The message from both facialists is to cleanse without stripping your skin of its natural oils – lightly in the morning, then thoroughly at night. “At the end of the day, cleansing the skin well is key for avoiding the build-up of debris,” says Sarah, “A balm formula like my Ultimate Cleanse $99.98 will help to dislodge impurities and prevent the blockages that can cause congestion and breakouts. Oil-based cleansers have a natural affinity with your skin’s sebum, which means they can cleanse effectively whilst respecting the skin’s delicate acid mantle.”
Anastasia is a big fan of facial massage which she suggests doing for at least 60 seconds at night with your cleanser before wiping away with a warm flannel. This, she says, is a way of gently cleaning and lightly exfoliating the skin at the end of the day without leaving it feeling stripped. She says to make sure you use one per use (just throw them in the washing machine daily) to avoid bacteria growing on them.
This depends on your skintype, but Sarah would recommend focusing a lightweight formula for the lower part of the face, and continuing your usual routine above.
If your mask is causing congestion around the lower half of your face she suggests investing in her Pro Pore Refiner for here $205. “This clever, cutting-edge device mimics the extraction techniques we use in the Clinic such as thermo-therapy, ionic cleansing and ultrasonic vibrations deeply purge congested pores, giving you professional-standard extraction at home.”
On the plus side, you can hide a multitude of skin problems under a mask and if you want to put toothpaste on your spots (an Old Wive’s Tale for drying out pimples), at least nobody will see it . However Sarah Chapman has a much better alternative. Her SOS stickers are ultra-hygienic patches infused with pimple-purging scientific actives that are released over time to help calm redness, soothe, decongest and accelerate blemish healing. I designed the patches to be almost invisible, but wearing a mask will provide total camouflage!”
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