Updated: Jan 17


Without a doubt, face masks have become our everyday reality. The whole point of using them is to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19 because a droplet transmission is the most common way for viruses to get from one body to another. However, wearing protective masks has its downsides, also when it comes to your skin. In this article, I will take those problems under a microscope.

Even though we had long months to get used to masks, many of you are still reluctant to wear them. And I don’t blame you. Having a piece of material on your face is a nuisance. Masks make breathing difficult, especially for people who have asthma.


But even if you’re healthy, you can feel irritated or strongly opposed to this duty. Nevertheless, masks will stay with us for a long while, and you need to learn how to live with that.


Apart from the annoying necessity of wearing them, there is a significant disadvantage – skin problems.

What happens with your skin under a face mask?

The mask adheres tightly to the lower parts of the face while filtering out the air you breathe. But what you need to remember is that you breathe out carbon dioxide and steam – and this is where the problems with skin come out.

Everything you breathe out under a mask forms a microclimate. A research carried out in New Zealand on twelve workers in various professions has proved that wearing masks has increased the skin temperature under the mask in the range of 1.2C to 4.8C.

It’s a significant jump in temperature!

How does it affect your skin?

Those factors loosen the epidermis around the mouth, unseal the epidermis's protective barrier, which dries, flakes, redness, and sometimes even cracks the epidermis.

Moreover, humidity is an environment that accelerates the development of microorganisms. Therefore, your skin is much more likely to be attacked by a higher number of bacteria, also those pathogenic ones, that can cause inflammation or acne.

Unfortunately, the list goes on. Humidity combined with increased warmth creates ideal conditions for the development of yeasts. Those can harm your skin but also disrupt your natural microbiome.

What is microbiome?


It would be best to think of your microbiome as a protective barrier to your skin’s function. Your microbiome’s overall condition is strongly linked with potential skin diseases, pathogenic changes, and in general – your skin’s well-being.

The microbiome is created by bacteria, fungi, mites, and viruses, and their species and abundance differentiate according to their area of residence on the body.

Water is an essential factor influencing the composition of a microbiome. When you breathe under your mask, the material gets more humid, which leads to further development of the microbiome. And that causes skin disorders, eczemas, or redness.

On the other hand, when a microbiome is not disturbed, the pathogenic microorganisms do not damage your skin.


Other skin problems

When your mask material gets humid, it increases the odds of getting skin burns/chafing. It can also harm sebum production and lead to a higher number of clogged pores.

If that wasn’t enough, wearing masks can also increase your capability of getting:

• Herpes

• bacterial infections in the mouth area

• chapped and cracked lips

• acne around the mouth, chin, mandible area (more often in teenagers with oily and acne-prone skin and adult women with acne tarda)

• worsening of symptoms of rosacea

• seborrheic dermatitis and atopic dermatitis

What can you do to take care of your skin

Hydrate

First off, it’s crucial to maintain your skin hydration at a constant level. It’s wise to choose non-comedogenic products, which will not clog your pores. It would be best if you also kept an eye out for hyaluronic acid. It’s a specimen with powerful moisturizing capabilities and will protect your skin from losing water. Additionally, this acid helps to rebuild and regenerate your epidermis.


Be gentle

Secondly, when you wear masks, your skincare shouldn’t be too intensive. On the contrary, it’s better to reduce the number of aspects that can irritate your skin. That said, you should quit excessive cleansing of the skin (for example, with facial cleansing brushes). Forget about the too frequent use of strong scrubs, which can overstretch the irritated hydrolipidic barrier of the skin (this can also contribute to the weakening of the natural ability to protect the skin against microorganisms), and consequently the formation of inflammatory states.


On the other hand, it’s a good idea to enhance your daily skincare with preparations containing antibacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredients.


Protect from sun and radiation

It would help if you also remembered that wearing masks does not mean that you can stop applying sun protection and UV filter creams to your face.

Moreover, switching to a 100% remote work model and spending most of the time in front of a computer exposes you more to the impact of blue light emitted by screens. That said, it is worthwhile to consider cosmetics that protect against harmful radiation and photoaging.

Reduce your make-up

Face masks and make-ups are not best friends. In fact, it’s best if you stop using make-up at all, but if you can’t entirely quit it, try to reduce the number of applied cosmetics.


What’s more, when you get back home, get rid of your make-up straight away, and then – use the subsequent steps of your daily skincare to start regenerating your skin at once.


Why is it so important? Because masks rub your skin all the time, which means they rub the make-up cosmetics and dirt deeper inside your skin.

What to do with masks

If you wear disposable masks, please remember to throw them away as soon as you stop wearing them. Even if you took it off for a couple of minutes, for example, to eat your lunch, it should mean a farewell to that mask and start wearing a new one.


However, if you choose material masks, you should change them every four hours and wash them every day in antibacterial preparations.

SOS for your skin

In this section, I will outline some golden rules for the health of your skin during the pandemic:

Proper hygiene

Make sure your face masks are clean and changed during your day. Wash your hands frequently, especially before touching your face skin. Remember to limit touching of your face.

Delicate skincare

As I highlighted before, it’s best if you choose non-aggressive care and gentle supporting your skin by using:

• mild preparations for washing the skin

• tonics to restore the skin to a proper pH

• serum

• nutritious, soothing, and moisturizing preparations (containing ceramides, antioxidants, i.e., vitamins E, C, panthenol, lactobionic acid, aloe vera, coenzyme Q10, sea algae, evening primrose oil, or raspberry seed oil, etc.)


All those aspects will help you look after your skin’s comfort and keep it in good and healthy condition.


If some scars or abrasions occurred on your skin, you should quit using preparations with acids and retinol until your skin heals. If you want to boost the healing process, look for preparations containing zinc, panthenol, micronized silver, ceramides.

Responsible make-up

It’s not the best time to put on make-up like there’s no tomorrow. If you can, try to quit using make-up for a while. However, if you really have to, make it light. Luckily, I have some tips and tricks for you here:

• What other people can see if you wear a mask? Exactly! Your eyes! Focus on their beauty and play around with eyeshadows, brows, mascara.

• Use moisturizing and protective lipstick instead of a colouring one because, under a mask, your lips dry up quickly

• Remember to wash and disinfect your brushes and sponges frequently.

Final words


In those crazy times we’re living in, remember to protect yourself completely. Always look after your hands; may washing them will be an essential part of your daily hygiene. Now, more than ever, your hands are exposed to drying and irritation.


If you wear disposable gloves for a couple of hours a day, you experience extensive sweating and losing essential protective elements of your epidermis. Moreover, antibacterial preparations can cause irritation, allergic reactions, or even cracking of your skin. That’s why it’s vital to have (and use often) protective and caring hand creams.


Finally, find time and commitment to reinforce your immune system thanks to implementing a balanced diet and physical activity.


Remember that if wearing masks cause some skin changes, you cannot underestimate them because they can leave you an unpleasant souvenir – a discoloration or a scar. And that – you wouldn’t like to have once the masks vanish from our lives.

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  • Ewa Doszczak

Updated: Jan 31

2020 will be taught on history lessons, that’s for sure. But now – it’s about to come to an end. I remember how I welcomed 2020 at the new year’s eve party at my friends, and how outstanding it was. It seems very distant now, but I can recall so many resolutions and plans and scheduling my yearly calendar. The most crucial milestone I haven’t planned before was moving my beauty salon to a new place. It involved a lot of stress, but damn it – it was worth it. This is how I entered 2020, full of hope and thoughts that it will be a magic year.



But the reality turned out to be completely different. Nobody saw that coming. We couldn’t predict the virus outbreak that will literally stop the world. It’s so hard to think of how many lives the COVID-19 has taken away, how many job losses, or wiped out businesses.


Coping with the pandemic wasn’t easy for anyone. Right now, I can say that I managed to survive. And that I did this, thanks to you – my dear customers. From the bottom of my heart, I’d like to thank you – for your support, for your kind words, for being with me. Thank you for your trust, because of which I can still look after your skin and take care of your problems. My work means a lot to me, and I’m grateful I can perform it.


The first lockdown


We survived two pandemic lockdowns. The first one was an earthquake. All of a sudden, we couldn’t go to work, do what we used to do after work, meet with our friends, and so on. We had to adapt at speed to wearing face masks, gloves, and using disinfectants.


The first lockdown was incredibly long – for me, it lasted over three months. But hey – we must admit – we’ve had lovely weather in Galway back then, and that helped us a lot to get through this turbulent time.


It was striking that the world suddenly slowed down. I can recall appreciating the blue sky and news from all over the globe, that wild animals appeared in places they hadn’t been seen before, including large cities.


Even the satellites have registered a significant decrease in air pollution in China. It was a moment to think about how badly civilization affects the natural environment. Obviously, diseases and viruses are not a way to go, but this pandemic exposed how much stopping factories, calling off flights and reducing traffic can make a difference for our planet.


What’s more, I noticed that people started to look after themselves more. With the gyms and fitness clubs shut down, they began to be super active in sports performed outside. People who were used to being physically active beforehand and those who have been taking little or no exercise switched to be working out frequently.


Moreover, the slower pace of life and more spare time we’ve gained due to the pandemic helped us know our bodies better and learn how to take care of them. Personally, I ruled gluten out of my diet because I’ve learned to read the signals my body has been sending me. Signals I couldn’t or refused to recognize before.


The second lockdown


The second lockdown was more severe because it hit us during wintertime. Shorter days, stronger winds, rains, and storms – that’s not an excellent background to remain optimistic. Many of you have acknowledged that it was way more challenging to handle staying at home when it’s dark and grim outside most of the time.


It was tough for me, considering that a new real estate is being built right across the street, and every day I had to deal with the noise caused by heavy machinery.


On top of that, there’s this uncertainty issue. We all feel clueless about a pandemic situation and where it will take us from here, concerning both our professional and private lives.


How did I manage to keep a positive vibe?


Keeping in mind that I had to close my premises for five long months during this year, online training sessions and professional courses have given me that power. So far, I have completed over 100 of those, and I’m still hungry for more!


What is so great about those online training sessions is that I can do them with my trade colleagues from all over Ireland, UK, or Poland. And what’s mainly drives me to excel is that we can share and confront our thoughts, ideas during and after those online get-togethers.


It’s fantastic that the cosmetics industry came out with this substantial educational online offer. Thanks to learning new skills from home, I met a few important people who share their knowledge with me in a wonderful way. Online education gives me new ideas to develop my beauty salon to launch new products and services. And so you know – the changes are already in play 


What can I share with you?


The most exciting part of acquiring new knowledge is to make you benefit from it. I will make the most of it for you to know how crucial is your skin – what you can do to help it, and how to prevent possible damages.


If you treat your skin with respect and the love it deserves, it will undoubtedly pay you back with a healthy look and beauty.


A healthy diet paired with proper and regular care can do miracles. It would help if you didn’t treat it with new preparations on and on, because they will only irritate it.


Time to stop and think


When it comes to learning some lessons from lockdowns, each of us can identify both positive and negative outcomes of the pandemic. There is no point in pretending that there are no downsides. All those things taken away from us cause stress, sadness, a feeling of isolation, or even depression. Not to mention being scared of getting infected, informational chaos in media, or being concerned about the elders and the vulnerable ones.


And now – we have Christmas just about to start. Malls and stores are open again, ready to welcome crowds. We can see people who got used to living in the pandemic times, respecting procedures. On the other hand – it’s easy to notice how many people are tired of the situation and being careful all the time.


It seems like the crazy consumption is back with all the traffic, queues, full shopping trolleys, and all that rush – to be right on time with everything and to make this Christmas so perfect and glamorous like Instagram lifestyle photos. The question is – is it really worth it to stress ourselves even more during a year so filled with stress?


Not everything has to be perfect


Does everything really have to shine like a diamond? I don’t think so. We don’t have to buy new Christmas decorations when those we purchased last year still look just fine  We don’t have to buy preposterous amounts of food, since shops will be open again in only a few days.


Let’s slow down. Enjoy the moment. Let’s cherish the idea that Christmas is coming. It’s not going to be the same as a year or two ago. But still – it’s Christmas. Perhaps we will not meet with all our family, but we can always meet them online. Let’s try to make this time special. Time to celebrate, unwind, and regenerate.


It’s also this time of the year when it’s worth to think about – not only about the relatives – but also people we know from our neighborhood, who might be lonely or need our help because they’re too old to support themselves.


2021 – how is it going to be?


2021 is just around the corner. Even though the government just announced a third lockdown, and most likely, the upcoming months are not going to be easy, I believe it will be a better year.


To start it well, let’s make the most of this Christmas and end-of-year time to fully recover, blow up stress, leave the anger and frustrations behind. Let’s recharge our batteries with positive energy.


Try to get back to do some things that you couldn’t find time for so far. If you were planning to read some books that have been waiting on the shelves – do it. If you wanted to watch a movie with your closest – do it. If you find pleasure in cooking or housekeeping – go ahead! If you miss dancing, dance – even at home! Let’s find this type of activity that will help you to rejuvenate.

What can do the trick? Going for a walk, trying out meditation, or yoga.

Final words

It’s entirely up to us how we survive the pandemic. If we stay in good physical and psychological shape, lead an active and balanced lifestyle, maintain a healthy diet (which can be difficult during Christmas, but we can try!), we will be already ahead to come out of the pandemic victoriously. We need to take care of ourselves because no one else is going to do that for us.

Most people have some New Year’s resolutions, no matter the scale. I know mine  What are yours? Please share them with me in the comments!

All in – I wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – may it be a better one!

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Updated: Jan 17

The Covid-19 pandemic explosion has a negative impact on various aspects of our lives. Although wearing a face mask has become a new normal (which doesn’t mean it’s not a nuisance), it’s proved that it’s the reason for a new skin issues – called Maskne. In this article, I’m going to take this problem under a microscope.




It was a matter of time that wearing masks every day will be generating some problems. The issue came out shortly after the outbreak and became a hot topic in media, especially in May and June 2020.


But to beat the enemy, we need to first – know the enemy.


So…


What is Maskne?


Maskne is a combination of two words – mask and acne. Maskne is nothing more than acne caused or aggravated by long-term wearing of protective masks.


Since wearing face masks became obligatory, we can observe an increasing number of people with severe acne symptoms (including acne rosacea) discovered in face areas covered with a mask.


What’s causing Maskne?


Imagine a combination of a mechanical rubbing, no access to fresh air, increased humidity and warmth caused by breathing and speaking under a mask. All those aspects create a vicious circle responsible for the multiplication of microorganisms and skin pollution.


The microclimate created under a mask forms an ideal condition for generating skin loosening, sebaceous gland dilatation, the formation of more blackheads, inflammation, and bad-looking open pores.


What’s more, the fact that we wear masks regularly causes skin irritation, redness, or even itching.


What can we do to solve this problem?


How to wash?


If you need to deal with Maskne, you have to choose your face coverings carefully. It would be best if your face mask is produced from a natural material, like cotton or silk.


My advice is to wash your mask in water with a little amount of washing powder. To avoid a situation when detergents irritate your skin, even more, make sure to rinse it properly.


How to wear?


Remember not to touch the mask material with your hands. When you put it on or take it off, put your fingers on the elastic bands, not the material itself.


If you use cotton or silk masks, don’t forget to replace them with fresh ones every four hours at most. However, if you prefer to wear disposable masks, you should do it more often. In fact, every time you take one off, you have to get a new one.


What about descaling agents?


If you overuse descaling agents (containing preservatives), you have to be aware of causing acne in the form of pimples and eczemas. It can result in inflammation and irritation, which can lead to acne rosacea.


It comes down to the fact that people who use descaling agents too much are much more exposed to having skin issues.


What’s the solution then? When you wash your hands, use more water and a gentle cleanser (preservatives can stay on your skin for months!)


The power of skincare


If you suffer from Maskne, the best thing you can do to take care of is to ask for personalized advice about home skincare, which is a crucial aspect of recovering your skin's right balance.


When should you perform your home skincare routine? Every single morning and evening. Plus – it's essential to have it appropriately tailored to the needs and problems of your skin. I


t's best to put your trust in certified skincare experts. If you want to prevent Maskne, you can go for protective and strengthening treatments in cosmetic salons – it's another critically important element of this struggle.


Final tips


Do not do anything on your own because the effect may be different from the intended one. Don't dry out, degrease your skin, try not to use comedogenic cosmetics, which are those that additionally clog pores.


When choosing your creams, please pay attention to their ingredients and their purpose. Do everything you can not to select skincare cosmetics according to their packaging appearance, fragrance, or enticing ads because it's just marketing.


Bear in mind that hygiene and proper skincare is paramount.


The best thing you can do is trust your professional and certified skin expert and schedule your consultation today. Don't wait up for Maskne to develop on your face for good.


One day, masks will go away. On the contrary, your skin issues can stay for longer and can leave a permanent mark, such as skin discoloration or scars. Luckily, you can prevent it now.

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