Winter is coming and (for many of us) we're also deep in lockdown 2.0. The perfect time to tackle maskne - the dreaded mask-induced acne and bleary eyes
I’ve been reaching for the brightest most blingy eye palettes to give me a beauty bump and a little colour therapy, as wearing full-on lipstick while on the school run has become more challenging. Mask life and lockdown this time round feels more “normal” and less like we are living in a post apocalyptic movie. However, stress, anxiety, maskne and spots are still issues not going anywhere fast. So why are so many of us suffering from skin breakouts?
According to skincare expert Nichola Joss, (book now for an online skin consultation), the reason we’re all breaking out is because wearing masks, “creates a warm damp atmosphere, which encourages bacteria growth”. She also warns that spots can also occur on the area where the mask is sitting against the side of the face and behind the ears. “Do not squeeze these spots, make sure your skincare includes products that will increase the health of the microbiome and skin barrier by using ingredients such as pre and probiotics,” says Joss. “Also use gentle exfoliating products with AHA/BHA’s & salicylic acid, which is also antibacterial. But make sure you do not over use these products as they have the potential to make skin irritated.”
Deep cleansing the skin is key when tackling maskne. Make sure to double cleanse the skin and include some gentle exfoliation into your skin regime. I love Oskia, Renaissance Cleansing Gel, £15 for 35ml. This cult cleanser helps to brighten, strengthen and revitalise the skin with vitamin C, vitamin E and starflower oil, a rich source of omega 6 to help with inflammation.
When thinking of exfoliation, don’t go OTT and further irritate the skin, instead think consistent and gentle. Alex Steinherr x Primark, Green Tea Konjac Sponge, £1.50, is great at refreshing and refining the skin. Green tea is known for helping to soothe and decongest the skin and is full of antioxidants. Use this great beauty tool when your skin needs a little TLC.
I love to use a balm cleanser at night to take the day off and give my skin a relaxing decongesting facial massage. The Body Shop, Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter, £11, is not only great for removing your make-up, including stubborn mascara, but is also great for sensitive skin. I like to cup my hands over my mouth and do some deep breathing, as camomile has been used for centuries to calm frazzled nerves.
A lack of sleep, stress and dirty masks have led to many of us noticing rogue blemishes for the first time. Oskia founder Georgie Cleeve explains, “stress triggers an enormous amount of chemical processes within the body and directly effects the skin. One key chemical involved is cortisol, which negatively affects skin regeneration. This is why when we are stressed, spots appear, and conditions such as acne and eczema become worse”.
If watching the news on a loop, not sleeping, mask life and getting stressed out is giving you spots, don’t pick, instead reach for an on-the-spot treatment to help. When I have a blemish, I reach for Ren Clean Skincare Clearcalm Non- Drying Spot Treatment 15ml, £17.50, to stop it going nuclear and causing hyper pigmentation, as it contains willow bark, maritime pine and prebiotics to help rebalance the skin’s microbiome.
You can also reach for Breakout Box by Patchology, £18, this multi-tasking breakout kit contains spot-shrinking patches laced with exfoliating salicylic acid, anti-bacterial tea tree and volcanic ash to help reduce inflammation. Why not treat spots by dabbing on ESPA Purifying Tea Tree Gel 50ml, £24, also good for soothing the skin and gently treating blemish flare ups.
Masking and Mist
I love to add a face mask into my skincare regime when it needs a little more support. When it comes to maskne, soothing, hydrating and gently-exfoliating face masks will all help to clear flare ups.
Oats are a great anti-inflammatory ingredient in both your breakfast bowl and on your face too. Slather The Body Shop Mediterranean Almond Milk with Oats Instant Soothing Mask, £18, to help soothe irritated, dry and itchy skin. The mask is based on an ancient Roman recipe, which I love. The creamy mask has a porridge-like texture with Community Fair Trade organic almond milk from Spain, Community Fair Trade organic aloe vera from Mexico and Community Fair Trade shea butter from Ghana.
For a totally decadent skin treat, invest in Face Paints Blue by Dr David Jack, £139. This luxurious treatment and peel is packed full of potent ingredients from the Harley Street renowned aesthetic doctor. His at-home peel isn’t cheap but helps with fine lines, wrinkles, hydrates and gives the skin some gentle exfoliation with hyaluronic acid, azelaic acid, kaolin and vitamin B5.
Keeping a bottle of face mist to hand is another effective way to tackle maskne. Odacite founder Valerie Grandury explains when it comes to maskne it’s about, “calming, hydrating and balancing the skin. Beauty is also about emotions, when you’re happy you feel better”. Spritz your face throughout the day with Rose Neroli Hydra-Vitalizing Treatment Mist by Odacité, £39. Its sebum-balancing rose water, hydrating aloe vera juice and spirit-lifting neroli all help to bring balance to your skin and mood.
All About Eyes: Protect & Soothe
According to reports, there’s been an increased demand for tweakments on our eyes. Thanks to stress, masks, zoom face (constantly seeing yourself in video meetings) our delicate eye area has been hit hard. Dr Sabrina Shah Desai of Perfect Eyes, who I adore and trust with my face agrees. “After the first lockdown I definitely saw an increase in people coming to see me for treatment,” says Shah. “When it comes to dark circles, which is under eye hyper pigmentation, and soft tissue aging changes, you should protect and preserve the under eye area with specially-formulated eye care. Dermal fillers and surgery are also other options.”
The delicate skin around the eye area can take a battering from mask rubbing and worry. I use SkinCeuticals AOX+ Eye Gel, £77. I’m impressed by its light serum texture, as many thicker eye creams make me break out. This vitamin C rich gel is great at helping with under eye bags and puffiness.
Aurelia Brightening Eye Serum, £48, is also another brilliant non-sticky eye serum. This one helps brighten the eye area with skin-plumping hyaluronic acid, arnica extract to help manage dark circles and skin-nourishing shea butter. For a creamy eye treatment, try The Body Shop Vitamin E Eye Cream, £13. This iconic formula uses hyaluronic acid and vitamin E to help refresh and protect.
Colour cosmetics are my happy place. I always find solace and fun when smearing my face in fun uplifting colours. With mask life, it’s all about the eyes. Invest in some great palettes like The Body Shop, Bold As Nature Eyeshadow Palette, £15. These earthy rich, warm tones look fantastic on all skin tones and are perfect for creating smokey eyes. For a calorie-free chocolate overload, Huda Beauty, Naughty Nude Eyeshadow Palette, £58, actually made me gasp when I opened this baby up. It was like breaking open a bar of delicious chocolate with all its different finishes, shimmers, browns and rose golds.
If a palette is too much like hard work, try slicking on some colourful eyeliner to make your eye make-up pop. I love Daniel Sandler (he did my wedding make-up many moons ago and made me look like the best version of myself ) Waterproof Eyeliner in Green Velvet, £9.95. A little touch of green works on all skin tones and is more unexpected than brown or black for a colourful pick me up. Enjoy and this too shall pass.