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Seasonal skincare: Avoiding mask acne this winter

Winter is hard on the skin even without the prospect of mask acne: the harsh wind, cold temperatures, inactivity and lack of vitamin D all take their toll. The result can be dry, dull, and even irritated skin. Add a face mask to the mix, and you might be dealing with some unwanted acne breakouts, too.  Even if most of us don’t have anywhere particularly special to go these days, those breakouts are still annoying and even painful. Plus, depending on the type of acne and your skin type, they can leave hyperpigmentation that sticks around months after the acne itself is gone. So, what can you do to prevent the dreaded maskne for the remaining winter months? A few changes to your routine can make a big difference. You may already be doing some of the things listed here, so see if implementing one or two new techniques does the trick. 

Choose the right face mask

When choosing a mask, natural options like cotton and silk provide better breathability than something synthetic. Look for one that has a space to insert an extra filter if you’d like. A synthetic material like polyester will keep damp condensation against your skin without it being able to evaporate. Unfortunately, acne bacteria love this. Cotton will keep the part of your face covered by the mask more dry, which can help keep the mask acne at bay. 

Wash your face mask

You don’t have to put it through a whole spin cycle every night, but hand washing your mask with a light, bleach-free and non irritating detergent will remove all of the dirt and face oil that it has accumulated throughout the day. If you’re dealing with mask acne, the bacteria that can survive on the mask likely won’t help the situation.

Protect your moisture barrier

Your moisture barrier is the outer layer of your skin, also called the stratum corneum or acid mantle. It’s made mainly of lipids and keratin, and it plays a huge role in maintaining healthy skin. It keeps out bacteria, environmental debris, and other harmful elements, while keeping good things like natural hydrating factors in.  A damaged moisture barrier leads to all kinds of skin issues, and it’s super common. The most common culprit is over-exfoliating and over use of harsher ingredients, like acids.  These heavy duty ingredients have their place and can provide amazing results when used correctly, but many people overuse them as they’ve become more common and accessible. So, how can you rebuild a damaged moisture barrier? It takes a little time and patience, but it can absolutely be done.  Less is more, so if you’re dealing with mask acne, stay away from the exfoliators and instead work on introducing more hydration and giving your skin a chance to heal. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid and cassia seed polysaccharide, both present in our Hydra Power Serum and Hyaluronic mist. These molecules draw moisture to the skin and swell up with water, plumping dry, parched complexions. Providing a barrier in the form of a good moisturizer will help prevent water loss, which is a common problem with compromised moisture barriers. Basically, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. 

Avoid makeup under the face mask

Even if you love a full face of makeup, there isn’t much of a point in wearing it if it’s going to be covered up by a mask. Stick to above-the-mask makeup looks to avoid the combination of sweat, makeup, and dirt that can cause or inflame acne. 

Do an occasional mask-acne-fighting deep clean 

A good face mask—not that kind, the other kind, the kind you slather on for some at home TLC—can be a real skin saviour if you need to draw out impurities. Multiclay and Fruit Oil Mask is gentler than other clay masks while still providing a deep clean, because the fruit oils prevent it from getting completely dry and flaky on your face. It also contains zinc, which is a great acne zapper. 

Spot treat when necessary

Inevitably, acne does occasionally rear its head for most of us. When that’s the case, instead of taking drastic steps and stripping your whole face of its protective oils, opt for the spot treatment. Multiclay and Fruit Oil Mask is perfect for the job, since it can be dabbed on for hours or even overnight.  Another great ingredient to look for is salicylic acid. Drugstore versions usually don’t have the right pH to be effective, so do your research and make sure you choose one with 1-2% salicylic acid and a pH between 3 and 4. Otherwise, you won’t be getting much of an acne-clearing punch.  Sure, acne is definitely not the end of the world, but taking some of these steps to prevent mask acne will spare you the annoyance and discomfort.