Masking It: What Your Skin Needs Right Now

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Go easy on your skin right now; three experts tell us how …

A recent survey found that some 60 per cent of Irish people are now suffering from mask acne, or noticing that regular mask-wearing is affecting the condition of their skin. It’s not just teens struggling with acne around the chin area; a lack of circulation beneath the mask, plus friction on the skin, is causing havoc for many of us.

So what can we do about it? We should know by now the tricks to wearing masks and face-coverings: make sure you double-cleanse your skin twice a day, and wash your face as soon as you can after wearing one. And keep your mask clean – wash with a sensitive detergent.

A softer mask can feel less irritating on your skin, and more comfortable in general (if you are not required to wear specific PPE equipment). Have a look at new brand Masketeers, a range of easy to wear masks in jewel colours and eye-catching designs, all made from vintage archive prints – they are available from www.thegloss.ie/shop, and you won’t find them anywhere else (€25 including postage and packaging).

As for under the mask, use a protective balm or skincare on areas of redness and irritation, but avoid wearing heavy make-up under your mask. New York-based dermatologist Dr Joyce Park advises cleansing as soon as possible after wearing a mask, “with a gentle cleanser that contains ceramides or glycerin.” She recommends bareMinerals Pureness Soothing Gel Cleanser, a particularly good choice for teens as it doesn’t block pores. Recently I’ve been using Elemis Superfood AHA Glow Cleansing Butter (€38 at Arnotts), as it’s a pleasure to apply, with a gorgeous autumnal colour and silky texture – plus you can use it as a daily cleanser, mask or even make-up remover, so you’re getting lots of uses in one pot.

THE SKIN EXPERTS RECOMMEND:

1 Many of us have experienced skin flare-ups during the past few months. Skin expert Nuala Woulfe says: “LED light therapy just makes everything better. A boost of light encourages production of serotonin and melanin. It’s very good at bringing down inflammation and even acne, so it’s ideal for reactive skin.” Try the Antyage LED Light Therapy Facial from €70. www.nualawoulfe.com

2 For a gentle, non-irritating cleanser, skin therapist Eavanna Breen recommends German brand Skinmade, a natural, vegan, oil-based range that inclues four Clean & Care oil cleansers (€39) which can help to protect the skin’s barrier; they don’t contain any surfactants or chemical substances that can dry out the skin, and so easily lift make-up, dirt etc in a gentle way. Available at Akina Beauty & Laser Clinic in Dublin 2, and at www.akina.ie. In the clinic, have a free skin-reading first to ensure you choose the correct cleanser for your skintype.

3 Dr Niki Ralph advises those who are generally breakout-prone to “Think carefully about what you’re using on your skin. Reduce the steps and layers in your daily routine if you’re prone to breakouts, and instead focus more on ingredients and finding a balance that works for your skin – this is why multi-functioning products such as La Roche-Posay Effaclar Ultra Concentrated Serum are great. Salicylic acid is a powerhouse for unclogging pores and preventing breakouts, while niacinamide is great for reducing irritation and brightening dark marks left by previous breakouts.” €32.50, at pharmacies nationwide.

“I’ve been seeing increasing numbers of people, including myself, with tiny spots around the mouth, and across the nose and lower cheeks, likely due to the occlusive effect of wearing a face mask all day,” notes Dr Ralph. “Therefore, I’m now adding a clarifying mask twice weekly to purify and balance my skin. Effaclar Clay Mask from La Roche-Posay is a great pharmacy option and a go-to for sensitive skin. It gently unclogs pores, controls shine and cleanses impurities, without over drying the skin.” She also advises avoiding oil-based make-up, and suggests choosing mattifying zinc-based physical suncreens, since zinc is suitable for acne and rosacea-prone skin. Finally, “adding a weekly face mask, such as Biologique Recherche Masque Vivant, particularly to the T-zone, can rapidly bring a break-out under control.” Biologique Recherche is available at www.instituteofdermatologists.ie.

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