It’s no surprise that I would write about this. HA!
Not because I love skincare, which I do, but more because I didn’t expect that the pandemic would have a huge impact on my skin and its routine. It is a struggle and I don’t mean it lightly.
And it still continues to this day.
The first struggle that I had (and have) to deal with is the whole “maskne” (mask acne) issue. It’s considered to be a form of acne mechanica – a type of acne that occurs due to friction and pressure on the skin. This type of acne breakout can happen when the skin is rubbed, squeezed, or stretched. – taken from healthline.com. In this case, the friction and pressure come from wearing masks. Then the humidity underneath the mask also becomes a party for the bacteria.
We started to wear masks that are made from fabric and this already caused some issues. And as the situation got worse, we have to wear a more protective type of mask. So many different companies make these. With minor differences, it can either reduce or improve comfort for its wearer. From the material, shape, fit, stitching, elastic bands, quality control, and technology. Hence, finding the right one sure is not an easy feat for us. We finally find the best one so far, for us and it’s by Caremax. It’s very breathable and the best part is that it doesn’t emit mouth odor after wearing it for a day.
That being said, even after finding the perfect mask, I’m still not immune to the maskne. Albeit, not as bad as before, and I’ve gotten smarter in managing it per se. Yeah but, I think at this point, I’ve accepted the reality that as long as we’re still wearing one, we’re going to experience this somehow :’)
My skin had terrible breakouts, mainly in the areas where the mask was. The perimeter, nose, lower cheek area even chin. It was itching a lot and it feels hot. To add to that, at times the skin got so fragile due to the frictions that even cleansing my face induced a few ouches. Redness? Sigh, don’t even ask. There is a delicate balance I need to have in order to manage this.
Some of my must-have products are from Duvaderm, a niche, smart, local skincare brand that I’ve come to love dearly. The MSM (Molecular Shield Mist) is an absolute God-send. Minutes after spritzing, itchiness is reduced. Use it several times a day, some of the acne can deflate. I relied on this heavily during the first year of the pandemic. I’d use it before & after supermarket runs. This is also useful for post-exercise. It’s like keeping the skin “clean” from risky acne-inducing bacteria and tames down inflammation too.
For a more wholesome routine, I use Clarifying Serum which is great for smaller bumps and helps to bash the comedones. It doesn’t make the skin dry, which is why I love it a lot. My husband who has dry skin benefited from this. Our personal favorite, Acne Shot is best to use on larger and cystic acne in a spot-treatment manner. I mean, you know cystic acne could be a b*tch. This product will help to reduce the symptoms (e.g. inflammation, pain, deflation) before eventually banishing it. There are more than a few occasions where I would use Acne Shot on the entire face; I got desperate LOL.
To tackle the sensitivity, I have my LA MER creams. HA! The Moisturizing Cream or the legendary Crème de la Mer is the one I reached out to the most. My skin gets really dry, flaky, and sensitized and this texture is perfect for what I needed. I didn’t expect to use such a heavy cream for nights. Well, the skin called for urgent care. The Moisturizing Soft Cream gets the second spotlight. The texture is lighter, making it more suitable for daytime.
I’ve also been testing The Concentrate for a further booster. Not only it reduces the signs of irritation and discomfort, I like to apply it on the bumpy texture to reduce dryness & roughness. It’s a kind of magic but it’s also veeeery expensive so I use it sparingly.
I know some people are skeptical about LA MER. The whole story about Max Huber and Miracle Broth may sound a bit too much. BUT, it does work charms on me to reduce my skin sensitivity. I’ve been using the products for a few years now on different occasions, including traveling to winter weather and I always notice this particular performance.
For a more affordable option, I discovered LABORÉ, a local brand under Paragon Group that focuses on providing solutions for sensitive (and sensitized) skin. The products are formulated to be suitable for tropical weather. I’d say the direction is to compete with western counterparts such as La Roche-Posay, Bioderma, CeraVe, etc My absolute favorite is the Barrier Revive Cream, a thick cream that is still so rare to be found amongst local products. The formula actually does help to reduce sensitivity to my skin. I seriously think this could help a lot of people out there, who may not have a higher budget. A total gem!
Other options that I’ve tried in the past would be Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream, Mamonde Blue Chamomile Soothing Cream, La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5, and ERHA Skinsitive Skin Barrier Moisturizer. I’d mention TATCHA Indigo Cream but since I haven’t touched it in years I can’t say if there’s any change in the formula, and it seems to have been out of stock for a while too.
All in all, the products mentioned are the ones I reached out to the most during the breakouts and flare-ups. In the next post, I’ll discuss more on the overall routine, certain serums/boosters that I always have in hand, and how to manage the ever-changing skin condition.
One thing is for sure, I am so glad that I have always been an advocate for soothing and calming products. So I always have a few types of products in hand, ready to be used anytime.
I also need to add that the breakouts are also worsened by the fact that I got stressed :’) And as we all know, stress is the cause of all things! It can be like an evil circle. But, we all can try to manage to a certain extent (including expectations), just do the best that we can, and adapt to the new reality.
But, skincare helps! 😀