Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, face masks have now been made mandatory in Singapore as with many other countries around the world. Not only do we have to put on our masks outdoors, but we’re also encouraged to leave them on indoors to curb the spread of the virus. With this new ruling, it’s no surprise that mask-wearing has shaken up many aspects of our daily lives, right down to our beauty regimes.
From makeup to your skin-care routine, not to mention wrinkle-eliminating and acne-zapping treatments and products, we’ve seeked out advice —from Dr Larry Wu, Principal Physician at iCare Medical and Wellness Clinic Singapore —of the steps you could adopt to ensure you maintain your natural glowing skin, despite having your mask on.
Dealing with breakouts due to wearing face masks? Or have you gone makeup free?
You’ve probably already heard of "mascne" or "mask-ne"—acne from wearing face masks—which has become an issue faced by both men and women since mask-wearing was made mandatory. These blemishes, and facial acne, are caused by the rubbing of the mask and the elastic straps on your skin. Besides that, wearing a face mask for most of the day prevents the skin from breathing, which means your pores can get suffocated and clogged up even more.
It's a problem that can affect anyone, at any age, says Dr Wu—even if people with blemish-prone skin are more susceptible to the problem—and may require a few extra tweaks to beauty regimes. He advises that before reaching for any kind of product to treat mask-ne, start by setting—and sticking to—a few day-to-day facial routine ground rules. For example, you should opt for a fabric mask, which is more breathable than surgical varieties, and change your mask several times a day after use.
When it comes to daily beauty routines, Dr Wu strongly urges that the usual techniques should be reinforced; “Removing your makeup and cleansing your skin thoroughly are now non-negotiable at the end of a day, when wearing a mask. Also, you should treat your skin with a suitable skincare product, and hydrate your face every morning before putting the mask back on,” he adds.
“It's a good idea to use more lightweight textures than usual and to look for non-comedogenic products to reduce the risk of spots, redness and other blemishes. Note that foundation can contribute to preventing the skin breathing too, so it’s better to reduce the use of this product if you don't want to end up dealing with acne.”
What other steps can you take to retain your upper face beauty with the mask on?
Besides washing your face and applying your toner and moisturiser faithfully every day, there are several steps and treatments that Dr Wu recommends you consider to ensure that you look your best, even if you decide to completely go makeup free with your mask on.
1. Apply hydrating eye cream
It is inevitable that the eyes get all the attention on your face when wearing a face mask. Apply a layer of eye cream underneath your moisturiser to ensure that the skin around your jewels are thoroughly hydrated throughout the day. Avoid using heavy hydrating cream at nights to avoid fluid retention and extra puffy eyes in the morning when you’re ready to leave the house for work with your mask on.
2. Use acne-fighting spot treatment
It’s a good idea to use acne spot treatment creams at night, when your body is in repair mode and you don’t have your mask on. Be wary of layering acne-fighting ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acids with retinol, which can cause irritation. Instead, make sure you’re doing the most to keep your skin calm and hydrated.
3. Use patented facial technology to cleanse and extract acne causing comedones
When your acne fighting spot treatment fails, there is our patented hydrojet based technology with proprietary comedone blasting solution to help you placate inflamed acne. The last step of the treatment saturates the skin’s surface with antioxidants and peptides to maximise your glow.
4. Slather on moisturising sunscreen
It may be the last step of your facial routine, but nearly any aesthetic physician will tell you that sun protection is the most important part of any skin-care regimen. Protecting your skin from UV rays can prevent skin cancer and signs of aging. Look for broad-spectrum SPF, meaning that your sunscreen protects from both UVA and UVB radiation as well as one that is moisturising to your skin.
5. Try a collagen stimulating filler
This is a non-invasive treatment that injects special formulated molecules into the skin to lift, sculpt and restore lost volume associated with skin aging. Its principle component is Poly-Caprolactone (PCL) microspheres – a bio-resorbable soft medical polymer. Basically, it works by stimulating your body to produce collagen and the results can last up to 2-4 years. Besides treating the cheeks, chin and jawline areas (that will be covered by your mask), this is a good treatment to consider if you wish to get rid of those telling wrinkle lines around your eyes and on your forehead.
6. Rejuvenate the skin with laser treatment
If you need a quick solution for your acne, and pigmentation (e.g. melasma) on your upper facial area, this may also be a treatment to try. This procedure gently destroys acne bacteria in your sebaceous glands, and then shrinks them to prevent excess sebum production. It also stimulates collagen regeneration to help keep your skin stay supple and bright.
With all focus on the upper half of the face these days, Dr Wu encourages every woman to take extra care of the facial skin and ensure that it is shielded with the right protection every day. It’s also a good time to keep your face hydrated with soothing cold facial masks after you have removed your covid-masks for the day.
Plus, seeing that masks don’t allow for proper airflow, it is advisable that you change your makeup routine and go for the bare minimum to adapt to this new way of life. Get expressive with your eyes and splash on makeup on your upper face where it’s not covered by your mask, but give your lower face room to breathe!
If you’re still facing mask-ne or other facial skin issues and unsure of what to do, pay Dr Wu a visit at iCare Wellness and Medical Clinic for more expert advice. Or you can read more about the services offered at the Clinic, to get a better idea of what may work best for you.
Have you heard of mask-ne? Is it something you are dealing with now because you constantly have your mask on? Head on to iCare Well and Medical Clinic’s official website to learn more about other non-invasive treatment options that could help you deal with your acne woes.