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As if 2020 wasn't difficult enough, we have a new skin issue to possibly contend with: "maskne."
A combination of masks and acne, some are finding themselves dealing with breakouts caused by wearing face masks and protective coverings when they go out in public spaces amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to protect themselves and others. And if you have to travel, you could be covering your face for hours at a time, which yes, can totally wreak havoc on your skin.
To help better understand what is causing these new breakouts, and, more importantly, how to treat and prevent them, we spoke to Olga Lorencin, a celebrity esthetician who counts Halle Berry, Zoe Kravitz, Emily Blunt and Eva Mendes among her star clients, about "maskne."
The good news? Breakouts caused by the masks are no different than any other flare-ups you may experience, with Lorencin assuring us, "A breakout is a breakout! I don't think they are particularly different than any other breakout one would have."
Still, there are measures one can take to avoid dealing with any skin issues caused by facial coverings.
"If possible, try not wearing foundation underneath your mask," Lorencin advises, also adding to bring toner or a stringent with you "so that you can wipe underneath your mask anytime you feel like you're sweating" or if you will be wearing a mask for a long period of time.
"The less product you wear underneath your mask, the better it is," Lorencin continues. "Of course you should still stick with your regimen of using a serum/moisturizer. Just make sure that it's lighter than usual."
But the most important tips the skin care expert offered were to avoid touching your mask at all and making sure to wash them regularly. Basically, think of them like underwear and wash after every use.
"There is obvious reasons for that, if you're putting your fingers on it, your mask just became that much more dangerous," explains Lorencin. "Second of all, a dirty mask will definitely cause a breakout. If you're wearing a fabric mask make sure you wash it and change it daily (no exceptions). If you did forget to wash it spray your mask with alcohol and leave it out in the sun for 30 minutes."
If you are already dealing with breakouts related to your mask, Lorencin advises using products containing salicylic acid as an ingredient, as well as sunscreens that have zinc in them as it's "great when it comes to eliminating skin congestion."
Of course, you may want to see your dermatologist about the breakouts should they continue, but if you are nervous about visiting a doctor's office, Lorencin says, "Try using professional grade products such as my deep detox facial in a box once per week or Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta pads at least twice per week at night."
Olga Lorencin Skin Care Deep Detox Facial in a Box
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Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel Packettes (30 count)
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When it comes to what type of mask to wear to avoid skin issues, Lorencin admits, "Whatever is good for your skin doesn't necessarily mean that it's protecting you from the virus," with N95 masks offering the "best protection virus but it could possibly break you out especially if you're already prone to breakouts."
The best option for your skin that will still offer protection from the virus "would be a thinner type of mask that is most likely made out of cotton," Lorencin says. Just make sure you can't blow out a candle through it.