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Maskne - How Masks Irritate Our Skin and How We Can Prevent it

Image: Woman wearing a white disposable mask to cover her nose and mouth

What Is Maskne?

Sadly wearing masks has now become a normal part of our daily routines. Whilst we all appreciate why they are needed in the fight against COVID-19 masks can unfortunately be uncomfortable for some, and may also cause skin concerns to emerge for others. The combined effects of friction from wearing a mask, together with the warm moist environment they create, can cause redness, sensitivity, and breakouts which are being called Maskne. Those with inflammatory conditions such as Eczema or Rosacea are particularly at risk.

Maske may result from both the physical irritation of using a mask, as well as the increased opportunity for bacteria to collect.

The human mouth is teeming with bacteria. Human bites can be as dangerous as or even more dangerous than animal bites because of the types of bacteria and viruses contained in our mouths. Each time we exhale we omit high levels of these bacteria and viruses, and by wearing a mask we trap them close to the skin. As the bacteria and viruses collect, they thrive and multiply in the warm humid environment. The increase in skin temperature caused by covering the face may also cause more oil to be produced by the sebaceous glands. Excess oil can block pores and hair follicles, trapping the bacteria, and causing breakouts and acne.

Face masks need to fit snugly to be effective, and the pressure and friction caused by face coverings can cause microtears to the epidermis which is thinner on the face than on other parts of the body. These microtears can allow bacteria to more easily penetrate the skin. Different types of masks may cause different issues to emerge. Fabric masks which are often made from cotton may absorb natural oils causing dryness and sensitivity, whilst surgical masks can cause more friction irritation. All masks should only be used once, and not touched during use. When using disposable masks remember to dispose of them responsibly, and use a new one each time required. For reusable masks make sure you carefully consider the detergent used to wash them with. Harsh laundry liquids and fabric conditioners may cause a whole host of other sensitivity issues!

We are afraid there is more bad news. Stress is also a well-known trigger for breakouts and sensitivities. We have all lived through very stressful times associated with the global pandemic and this, combined with the problems associated with wearing protective facial coverings discussed above, means we all need a fastidious skincare regime to combat the adverse effects seen as Maskne.

 What can we do to prevent Maskne?

Here are our top tips to prevent Maskne:

  1. Use a clean mask each time a mask is required. Always dispose of single-use masks as soon as you remove them. Always wash reusable masks after they have been worn. Ensure you use gentle, perfume-free laundry detergent.
  2. Avoid the use of makeup under your mask. This increases the chance for pores and hair follicles to become blocked.
  3. Undertake a fastidious skincare regime to ensure skin is clean and hydrated. Look for FREE FROM products which do not contain known irritants.Ensure your products are rich in antioxidants to fight free radicals.
  4. Do not overstimulate your skin. Use a balancing collection of products to clean and calm. Do not be tempted to use excessive products or switch regularly between treatments. Be consistent with your skincare regime. 

Shop our best picks for Maskne treatment and prevention here

How To Optimise Your Skin Care Routine To Prevent & Treat Maskne

Image: Pile of different coloured reusable cotton face masks

1. Prioritise your cleansing routine

While wearing masks and breathing into them, we create a warm damp area for bacteria to grow, making double cleansing more important than ever to ensure our skin is clean. A first cleanse will help to remove any make-up, dirt and bacteria and the second will clean deeper into the pores, preventing any new blemishes. Opt for a high-quality cleanser with gentle ingredients that will clean the skin thoroughly without causing irritation. 

2. Remember your weekly treatments

Another way to prevent Maskne is by giving your skin a treat with a gentle exfoliator to scrub away dead skin and excess oil. This can help reveal a clearer complexion and avoid pores from becoming blocked. 

3. Choose a serum to treat your skin concerns

If you already have Maskne which needs treating, you may find a serum will give you the additional help you need to clear it up. Add a few drops of your serum of choice to specific problem areas, or simply mix in with your moisturiser before applying.

4. Be consistent with your routine 

Make sure to stay consistent with your products and routine to keep your skin balanced. Remember that less is more and a short yet simple routine will be easier to make a habit and keep up with. Choose products wisely by opting for natural ingredients you can trust will nourish your skin. 

With all these tips in mind, here are ARK Skincare's top picks to help you prevent and treat Maskne.  

ARK Skincare's Top Products To Help You Tackle Maskne

Skin Essential Pre-Cleanse & Make-Up Remover

Image: ARK Skincare's Pre-Cleanser and Make-Up Remover

You might be asking yourself if you really need to cleanse twice and now more than ever, the answer is yes! Whether you wear make-up or not, a double cleanse is essential for healthy skin. The first cleanse will remove any traces of dirt, pollution and airborne bacteria from the surface of your skin and the second cleanse will clean deeper into your pores.

Our popular Pre-Cleanse and Make-up remover is described as a spa treatment in a bottle. It's great for removing the first level of grime while active ingredients such as Grapeseed, Avocado and Kiwi Oil deeply nourish skin and protect against dryness. Another key ingredient, Margosa Leaf Extract, destroys bacteria and inhibits its growth on the skin.

How to use: Apply onto dry skin before cleansing with dry hands. Massage in gently all over the face before adding water to form a thin liquid emulsion. Continue massaging then rinse off with warm water. Follow with your Age Intelligent Cleanser.

Age Intelligent Cleansers

After your first pre-cleanse, follow up with the second. ARK Skincare offers three age intelligent cleansers, with nourishing active ingredients specifically for each age group. 

Specifically designed for your teens & 20's

Image: ARK Skincare's Protect Cleanser for teens and twenties

Banishes spots & excess sebum

The best cleanser for your teens and 20s. Our soap-free facial cleanser has been designed especially with younger skin in mind. It cleverly balances oily and dry areas to leave skin clear and comfortable. Natural ingredients ensure skin is treated gently while spots and excess sebum are banished. Your new best friend.

AgeDefend Conditioning Cleanser 

Specifically designed for your 30's & 40's 

Image: ARK Skincare's AgeDefend Cleanser for 30's and 40's

Gentle formula, perfect for sensitive skin

The best cleanser for your 30s and 40s. This ultra-nourishing cleanser helps with skin’s natural exfoliation for a clear, radiant complexion. Effectively removes make-up & excess sebum leaving skin clean, plump and supple. Perfect for sensitivities as the natural ingredients soothe redness and inflammation too. 

AgeDefy Brightening Cleanser

Specifically designed for your 50's onwards

Image: ARK Skincare's Age Defy Brightening Cleanser for 50's onwards

Reduces pigmentation, softens lines

The best cleanser for your 50s onwards. This rich creamy cleanser is the perfect choice for more mature skin. It effectively removes debris and impurities while treating the skin to a combination of vitamins, antioxidants and lipids. Skin becomes brighter and softer while lines and wrinkles are plumped. 

How to use: Apply to damp skin and massage in gently for 60 seconds before gently rinsing off with water. 

Skin Perfector Serums

If you’re looking to tackle specific skin concerns caused by Maskne, our hard-working skin-perfecting serums will make the perfect addition to your skin-care routine to help you battle them. 

Clearing Serum

Banishes bacteria, tightens pores

Image: ARK Skincare's Clearing Serum

For a solution to spots and blemishes, our clearing serum is the one for you. Filled with anti-bacterial properties, it’s the perfect remedy for acne and can even help prevent it by regulating sebum production and reducing excess oil and shine.

Destress Serum

Diminishes look of fatigue

Image: ARK Skincare's De-stress Serum

If you’re suffering tired or irritated skin, try our De-stress serum.  This highly protective serum acts as a second skin and helps to reduce the signs of fatigue caused by environmental and lifestyle stresses. Chamomile provides soothing relief for irritation and Vitamin E and Grapeseed Oil boost moisture levels, leaving skin feeling silky and supple.

How to use: Apply one or two drops directly to problem areas or mix in with your daily moisturiser and apply all over the face.

Triple Action Exfoliator

Evens tone, diminishes fine lines & scars

Image: ARK Skincare's Triple Action Exfoliator

Our three in one exfoliating treatment with physical, fruit acid and enzymatic action has everything you need to give your skin a generous treat.

Bamboo particles help to gently scrub away dead skin, dirt and debris from the surface, creating a flawless, polished texture while Alpha Hydroxyl Acids (AHAs) from Bilberry, Sugar Cane, Sugar Maple, Orange and Lemon increase the range of cell renewal, helping to diminish acne scars and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. The Skin Regenerating Enzyme dissolves desmosomes to release dead skin cells, fade pigmentation and improve nutrient absorption.

How to use: Use once or twice per week. Apply to dampened face and neck. Wet hands and massage lightly into skin using circular movements, avoiding the delicate eye area.

Leave on as stated below, depending on your skin’s age-related needs:

Teens and twenties: Wash off after massaging in.

Thirties and forties: Leave on for approximately 2 minutes.

Fifties and onwards: Leave on for approximately 5 minutes.

Remove with a cloth soaked in hand-hot water. (Please note this product will not simply rinse off, it does need to be removed with a warm cloth. Using a cloth should make removal easy) Pat dry. 

Hydration Injection Masque

Rejuvenating treatment, restores vibrancy

Image: ARK Skincare's Hydration Injection Masque

Or rejuvenating treatment masque is the ideal weekly pick me up for skin which looks tired, stressed or lacking in radiance.

The masque instantly cools and calms and can bring instant relief to irritation and redness while Hyaluronic Acid drenches skin with moisture, optimizing the circulation of water through all skin layers and providing 24-hour protection against water loss - perfect for dry skin. It also includes a blend of hard-working vitamins to regulate collagen synthesis and protect against UV damage.

To view all of these products in full detail you can head over to the ARK Skincare website by clicking here.

If you need any help or product advice, please do get in touch via office@arkskincare.com or call the office on 0203 7403303 - we'd love to help!

In the meantime, keep remembering to wash your mask in-between uses to keep your skin as clean as you can!

As we all work together in the battle against Coronavirus be kind to your skin.

Take care & stay safe, 

 

Image: ARK Skincare logo

 

References:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-the-Epidermis.aspx

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/events-as-they-happen

https://www.verywellhealth.com/sebaceous-glands-1069374

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/beauty/skin/face-masks-become-mandatory-prevent-maskne/

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/body/cope-maskne-mask-related-acne/

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-8374545/How-magic-away-Maskne-Thats-curse-spots-caused-Covid-mask.html

5 Top Tips To Get Your Summer Glow

Image: Woman sat on the side of a pool dipping her feet into the water

Ever feel like your skin needs a bit of oomph? Many things can affect your skin - your diet, environment, the weather, or perhaps not cleansing as often as you should. But don’t worry,  we’re here to help! In this post, we focus on our top tips to help you achieve a natural glow this summer. 

1. Start With a High-Quality Cleanser 

ARK Skincare's Age Intelligent Cleansers

ARK Skincare is passionate about cleansing. We strongly believe that it is one of the most important things you can do for your skin. Always make sure to double cleanse to ensure you remove any airborne bacteria, pollution or dirt that is attracted to your face. It will also help the skin care products you apply to work their magic properly!

Tip: Start with ARK Skincare’s Pre-Cleanser and follow up with your Age Intelligent Cleanser

2. Exfoliate Once Or Twice a Week

Image: ARK Skincare's Triple Action Exfoliator on a white background

Another important step to a good skincare routine is exfoliating. This helps to buff away any dead layers of skin and reveal a bright, healthy complexion. ARK Skincare’s Triple Action Exfoliator includes Bamboo Particles which gently remove any grime from the surface while fruit acids and enzymatic action create exceptionally smooth skin.

3. Add a Serum

Image: ARK Skincare's Radiance Serum

Choose a serum to help give your skin a boost with nourishing active ingredients. ARK Skincare offers a range of six, each specifically designed to tackle each specific skin concern. For our glow seeker’s, we recommend our Radiance Serum - it’s rich in vitamin C which brightens dull skin for a glowing, energised complexion. 

4. Eat Well 

Image: Colourful plate of vegetables, fruits and nuts


We all know "healthy-looking skin comes from within". So make sure to choose foods which your body will thank you for. Experts suggest to “eat the rainbow” and pack as many colours as possible onto your plate to get all the vitamins and minerals you need for a healthy diet, (while remembering treats now and again, of course!) 

5. Stay Hydrated

Image: water being poured into a pink glass with ice and lemon.

As we all know, drinking water is crucial. Not just for our skin, but our entire body. So make sure you’re drinking plenty throughout the day - especially in the summer months!

Give your skin an extra boost by using hydrating products. Take a look at our popular Hydrating Serum - the perfect cocktail for thirsty skin, or our Hydrating Beauty Mist for a spritz during the day.

To view our full range of products, visit the ARK Skincare website. Should you ever need any help or product advice, please email office@arkskincare.com or call us on 0203 740 3303. We'd love to hear from you! 

Product Focus: ARK Skincare's Reverse Gravity Eye Cream

Feeling fed up with dark under-eye circles? ARK Skincare has got you covered. Our Reverse Gravity Eye Cream is the perfect product to tighten your eye area and keep it hydrated. In this post, we focus on the powerhouse ingredients that make this product so special and how they work to fade dark circles and diminish puffiness. 

Product Image: ARK Skincare's Reverse Gravity Eye Cream
ARK Skincare's Reverse Gravity Eye Cream

Do I need an eye cream?

The skin around your eyes is more fragile, more prone to dryness and quicker to show age and fatigue. Squinting and constant movement of the eyes can increase the appearance of lines, wrinkles and fluids collecting under the eyes which can cause dark circles, so It's important to remember to give your eye area a pamper every so often too.

Our instant-effect eye cream does it all: reduces the appearance of wrinkles, fades dark circles, soothes dry skin and minimizes puffiness.

Ingredients

Beautifeye™

Image: Product Ingredient: BeautifEye from the persian silk tree

Beautifeye™ is an extract from the Persian Silk Tree which is proven to tighten and lift the crease of the eyelid and lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes. It also helps to reduce pigmentation and reduce any puffiness. 

Grapeseed Oil 

Image: product ingredient, grapeseed oil

Grapeseed oil is rich in linoleic acid (also known as Omega 6),  an essential building block for ceramides - one of skin’s main moisturising elements that help to keep skin supple and healthy. 

Grapeseed Oil also contains Vitamin E which fantastic for skin; it protects against environmental pollution and UV radiation, quenches skin with moisture and helps to soothe irritation. 

Aloe Vera 

Image: Aloe Vera Plant against a white background

This powerful ingredient is used intensively in cosmetics due to its well-known healing and rejuvenating properties. It contains antioxidants, enzymes, multiple vitamins and is also used as an anti-inflammatory. The perfect ingredient to hydrate and soothe your eyes.

 Allantoin 

Image: product ingredient: Allantoin

This ingredient acts as an emollient that keeps your skin full of moisture and prevents dryness and irritation. Allantoin has a calming effect on the skin and is full of antioxidants to keep skin youthful, vibrant, and healthy. The presence of antioxidants in your skincare routine will always show in your skin.

How to Use

For the best results, use in the mornings and evenings. Gently warm a small amount of product between ring fingers and pat lightly around the eye area. Then massage in using the metallic ball. In the summer, keep your eye cream stored in the fridge for a refreshing treat on a hot day. 

Reviews

Take a look at what our customers had to say! 

2020 - "I really love the design of ARK Skincare Reverse Gravity Eye Cream. It’s basically a wand with a rollerball-tip." - Beautiful With Brains - Skincare Blogger

2020 - "Another award-winning product I have been enjoying using is the ARK Skincare Gravity Defying Eye Treatment. This product is amazing at reducing the appearance of wrinkles and help to fade dark circles and diminishes puffiness."  Juelook, Beauty & Lifestyle Blogger

2020 - Finalist at Beauty Shortlist Awards "Best Eye Product" 

"This cream is lightweight and soothing. Formulated to be used by those with even super sensitive skin, it also scores points for being vegan, cruelty-free and made in Britain...we especially loved the cooling metal ball on the end of the tube which can be used to massage the cream into the skin." - The Independent 

Resources: 

Herbal Dynamics Beauty - What is Allantoin & Its Role In Anti-Aging?

Healthline - Grapeseed Oil For Skin: Benefits and Uses

Living with Atopic Eczema: Our 10 Top Tips

Image: Girl wearing a white tank top scratching her sore red arm

What is Eczema?

Atopic eczema (atopic dermatitis) is the most common form of eczema, a condition that causes the skin to become itchy, dry and cracked. It can affect any part of the body but is most common on hands, the insides of elbows and the back of knees.

  Some may have small patches of dry skin and others may have larger areas of inflammation. People who suffer from eczema usually experience periods when symptoms are less noticeable, as well as periods when symptoms become more severe. These are called flare-ups.

Causes of Eczema

No one is entirely sure what exactly causes eczema but The National Eczema Association believes a combination of genes and triggers are involved. Those with eczema tend to have an overactive immune system and when triggered by a substance inside or outside the body, it responds by producing inflammation. This is what causes the red, itchy and painful skin symptoms associated with eczema. 

Unfortunately, there isn’t one specific cure for eczema. Treatment for the condition aims to heal the affected skin and prevent flare-ups of symptoms.

Here are our top tips for managing symptoms and keeping them under control.

1. Don’t scratch
Although it can be tempting, when you scratch or even rub, you can make the itch and your eczema worse. Some people scratch so much they bleed, and that's a setup for infection. Instead, try using a cold compress to cool the skin and apply moisturiser to avoid it from drying out. 
2. Keep a food diary
People with eczema can experience inflammation from eating certain foods. Common triggers are citrus fruits, dairy and gluten/wheat but each person will have unique triggers they should avoid. Keep a note of what you are eating and be mindful of how/if your skin reacts. This can help to illuminate what causes your flare-ups and which foods you should try to avoid. 
3. Choose Skincare Products Carefully: 
Choose products that are advertised as “safe for sensitive skin” that won't include irritants that may affect your eczema. Stay away from products that are highly scented as fragrance can be a number one cause for irritation. People with particularly sensitive skin should always introduce new products slowly over a matter of days. It may also be a good idea to perform a patch test on the neck or inside of your arm to ensure your skin reacts well before applying to a large area. If you wash your hair while standing in the shower, using a gentle shampoo and conditioner is worth considering too.
4. Choose soft fabrics.
Material that is rough, too tight, or itchy can trigger eczema. Allowing yourself to get too warm can make you sweat and cause a flare-up as well. Synthetic materials such as nylon, rayon, and polyester tend to be warmer which can cause itchiness and prolong the effects of eczema so are best avoided. Opt for soft clothes that are gentle on your skin and keep it cool.
5. Learn your allergens
Eczema may flare up when you’re around things that may cause an allergic reaction. These can be different for each person, so it’s important to be mindful of things that may cause you to react. Some of the most common allergens are: seasonal pollen, dust mites, fine fur from cats and dogs, mold and dandruff. Taking note of the appearance of your skin each day can help to identify things you should avoid.
6. Manage stress.
Stress is known to exaggerate skin concerns. Use stress management strategies and take care of yourself. Sleep, eat well, exercise, and consider including meditation or breathing exercises in your daily routine.
7. Choose the right form of exercise
Exercising can lower stress, boost the immune system and help to keep you healthy. However, the downside is that sweat can also trigger eczema to flare-up. As sweat evaporates, the skin dries and is left with a salty residue that can irritate eczema and encourage you to itch. If you are suffering from a flare-up,  try low-impact exercises like walking, yoga or pilates. These can be helpful to relieve stress and give your skin a break.
8. Be aware of your environment
Many people with eczema become itchy if they get too hot. This can happen if you get too sweaty or layer up too many clothes. During the cold winter months, it’s important not to allow your skin to dry out from harsh winds, so always make sure to keep skin hydrated with gentle moisturising creams.
9. Avoid Hot Water
When your skin is irritated, a hot shower can often feel like a great way to temporarily relieve itching. However, dermatologists warn that this can actually make eczema worse. Hot water dries out the skin and causes it to crack and become sore. Turn the heat down and soak in luke-warm water instead as this will absorb into the skin. Moisturise straight after bathing to lock in hydration.
10.  Look after your hands
It is important that we wash our hands throughout the day to get rid of any nasty germs and bugs. With the current pandemic, we are all being encouraged to do this as often as possible to reduce the risk of infection. However, it’s important to take care of our skin too. Make sure to pat your hands dry as opposed to rubbing them as this can make them sore. Always follow up with hand creamYou can read more about how to treat sore hands here.

All of ARK Skincare’s products contain a high percentage of natural ingredients and are made without any known irritants, made with sensitive skin in mind. Find out more about our products on our website

References: