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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

The ARK Skincare guide to living with Rosacea

Do you suffer from redness and facial flushing? Does it get you down, make you feel less confident, or even make you hide away? Do you find you feel like you need to use lots of make up to disguise it?

We are often asked how to help irritated skin, and to treat conditions such as Rosacea. Rosacea is a topic we have addressed in newsletters and blogs before, but since it is such a common concern,  with millions of people suffering from it, we have decided to put together a guide. We hope this guide will help to explain the symptoms, and causes of Rosacea, and suggest tips which could reduce it. You may also wish to to view our full collection of skincare products design to soothe red skin by clicking here.

What is Rosacea?

Rosacea often begins with a tendency to blush or flush more easily than other people. The redness can slowly spread beyond the nose and cheeks to the forehead and chin. Even the ears, chest, and back can be red all the time. But Rosacea can cause more than redness with many other associated signs and symptoms such as broken capillaries, acne, thickening of the skin, burning or stinging, and even eye irritations. You can read more about the different classifications of Rosacea here. Symptoms can be triggered by many things and, unfortunately, can vary so considerably between individuals that it can be very difficult to identify the exact cause. 

Main causes of Rosacea

Environmental Factors - Hot weather, humidity, extreme cold or harsh winds can exaggerate the condition.

Dietary Causes

Alcohol - A recent study showed alcohol consumption increases  the chance of developing Rosacea 

Certain foods - Spicy food, dairy, or even citrus may also make things worse

Food additives - MSG, Sulphites, and preservatives may exaggerate symptoms

StressStress can be a major factor in a number of skin conditions and is considered a major cause of Rosacea. Anything which places undue pressure on you can be considered stress, and may impact your skin. 

Sun Exposure - Skin prone to Rosacea is not happy in the sun. Sun, and exposure to UVA and UVB rays can make the condition far worse. 

Fragrances and perfumes - Scent can increase redness and irritation. Artificial scent is a prime cause but some natural scents and essential oils can be a causal factor too. 

Physical exercise - Extreme physical exercise can exaggerate and prolongue symptoms of Rosacea. 

What can we suggest to help relieve the symptoms, and hopefully make you stop feeling like you have to hide away? Here are our top ten tips: 

    1. Protect your skin from damaging UV rays. UV rays are the number one cause of Rosacea flare ups. Use a broad spectrum good quality facial SPF (have you tried ours) all year round. In high summer use a hat and stay out of direct sunlight.
    2. Keep a food diary. Diet can have a huge impact on Rosacea. Whilst it is not the only cause, controlling the intake of the foods which are thought to lead to flare ups can help keep redness under control. Common triggers are spicy food, alcohol, and caffeine but each person will have unique triggers they should avoid. Keep a food diary and note the appearance of your skin each day, or consider intolerance testing, which may identify foods you should avoid.
    3. Consider the environment around you. Extremes of temperature and pollution can aggravate Rosacea. Hot weather, cold winds, high humidity, and urban pollution can all be problematic. Keep cool, avoid steam, wrap up against cold winds, and protect from pollution.
    4. Manage stress levels. Stress is known to exaggerate skin concerns. Use stress management strategies and take care of your whole self. Sleep, eat well, exercise, and consider including meditation or breathing exercises in your daily routine. All will help.
    5. Keep well. Being unwell can show on your skin. Fever, coughs and colds, high blood pressure, and serious illness can cause Rosacea flare ups. Occasionally long term medication can affect the sensitivity of your skin. If you take medication and suffer from redness discuss it with your GP and explore alternatives. Consider taking multivitamins to keep well especially those with vitamin C and Zinc.
    6. Wash your make up brushes. In an independent survey of 1000 people 44% said they had never cleaned their make up brushes! Several studies have shown that make up brushes can be contaminated with dangerously high levels of bacteria, and in some cases carried more bacteria than was found on a loo brush! Clean those brushes to prevent skin irritations and redness flare ups.
    7. Go make up free. Consider having a break from make up and see if your redness comes down. Some ingredients in cosmetics can cause irritation. If you have a break from make up and your skin improves reintroduce your products one by one to see which ones cause a flare up. You may be able to identify key ingredients to avoid.
    8. Avoid scent. Scent can be a major cause of skin irritation. Stop using perfumes and avoid facial, body, and bath products that are highly scented. Even some essential oils can be irritating to the skin.
    9. Alter your exercise routine. Exercise is reported by many Rosacea sufferers as a cause of flare ups. But don’t stop exercising! It is essential to your stress management and overall wellbeing. Instead alter the way you exercise. Consider short blasts of high intensity work outs rather than prolonged sessions. Avoid working out in a stuffy hot room, but instead make sure the gym is well ventilated and ideally air conditioned. Try using a beauty mist to keep cool during classes. Try swimming. AND always keep hydrated. It is essential to keep your water consumption up.
    10. SkincareProducts can help, but choose carefully. Use products which are free from known irritants. Avoid highly scented products and make sure you select those suited to sensitive skins. Keep your routine simple – “less is more” – and do not chop and change your products or over stimulate your skin. When applying products be gentle. Do not rub your face, or use harsh exfoliators or scrubs, and when cleansing with water avoid extremes of temperature - use hand warm water and a soft cloth. Resist the temptation to wash you face when in a power shower. The strong jets can cause sensitivity and redness to flare. Seek advice as to the best products for you. Our soothing Anti-Redness Serum contains a botanical complex clinically proven to calm and protect sensitive, and regularly receives 5 star reviews, you can find our more about it on our website and shop all products to help with redness here.

Controlling Rosacea involves looking at all aspects of your lifestyle. Follow these tips to help keep your skin calm. Don’t be disheartened or allow it to upset you. You are not alone. In fact, you are in good company with film stars, princes, and presidents reportedly suffering too. Friend of the ARK brand Lisa Faulkner recently discussed her battles with the condition and luckily had some success with the ARK Anti redness serum which you can see more about here.

Shop products to soothe redness now

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References:

American academy of dermatology 

National Rosacea Society 

Study to investigate the effect of alcohol on Rosacea 

The A list guide to living with Rosacea 

MedicineNet

BMJ Learning 

ARK Skincare Blog