Our faces have really taken a toll after nearly a year of wearing masks. With changing temperatures and the type of mask worn, our skin is paying the price. A new term, “maskne”, has been coined to represent the facial side-effect of long-term mask wearing during the Covid pandemic.
What are some good mask wearing tips?
Wearing a mask, for many people between 8-12 hours a day has caused breakouts and irritation in previously healthy individuals. Of course, the composition of the masks has a lot to do with the effects, N95 and surgical masks create a seal and therefore enable humidity and moisture to be trapped. This can lead to clogged pores and excess sweating. The tight fit of a mask can cause abrasions, and pressure marks on the face as well.
If you do not need or want to wear the heavy-duty masks, I recommend 100% cotton masks, as they allow for good airflow. These masks can be thin and feel less constrictive, causing less irritation and sweating. With reusable masks its important to maintain good hygiene, washing them daily will prevent bacteria from building up and then getting into your pores.
What can we do at home for our skin?
It is important to realize the skincare is not a one and done process. The skin is the body’s largest organ so continued maintenance is key to keeping it look healthy and glowing.
Skin cell turnover is the process by which new skin cells replace the old ones. The skin cells move from the deepest layer (the subcutaneous layer) up to the dermis and then the most superficial layer called the epidermis. As the skin cells turnover our body removes the dead cells that are at the epidermis, this is called exfoliation.
As we age, the turnover process can slow down or be less efficient. It takes the skin cells on average 40-60 days to turn over. Of course, many factors can affect this turnover rate, including age, hormones, diet, sleep patterns, stress, sun exposure and exposure to daily elements.
The most simple and basic things that I tell my patients about their skin and face is to drink lots of water! Getting at least 64 ounces daily keeps our body hydrated and is the building block for healthy skin. A good diet is also key. Fatty, greasy foods, dairy, and soy can affect our skin. Many breakouts can be diet related. An allergist can help pinpoint if you are sensitive to certain foods or preservatives in foods.
In conjunction with diet and water intake, its imperative to remove makeup before bed! Sleeping with makeup clogs pores, can cause more breakouts and does not allow the skin to breath. Removing makeup with a gentle cleanser is the preferred method as just using a makeup wipe is just a “surface clean.”
I recommend avoiding makeup if wearing a mask for extended periods of time. Makeup can get into pores and cause more breakouts. If you have dry skin, moisturizer prior to wearing the mask will create a barrier between the mask and your skin and prevent it from drying further. If possible, to remove the mask during breaks or eating, I also recommend using makeup blotting papers to remove excess oil and moisture. These can be purchased online or at any makeup store.
Implementing a good morning and nighttime routine can help keep the skin vital. Personally, I use micellar water to start the process and a toner as my second step. A good moisturizer and eye cream are important. The skin around the eyes is very thin and can show signs of aging readily.
Most importantly, a step that I cannot stress enough is sunscreen. If your moisturizer has sunscreen it still is not enough. A separate sunscreen with minimum SPF 30 daily, regardless of visible sun is imperative. At night, after cleansing, a good night cream before bed keeps the skin hydrated.
What can we do at The Youth Fountain for our skin?
For people experiencing acne or maskne we offer a variety of chemical peels. VIPeel is a physician grade chemical peel with a combined anesthetic that has wonderful results. For more aggressive treatments, I recommend a second or third session every 4-6 weeks. For maintenance, a chemical peel every three months is ideal.
Laser therapies are additional treatments for skin improvement. Lasergenesis is an Nd:YAG laser used to boost collagen, reduce redness (rosacea) and to improve skin texture, pore size and fine wrinkles. By gently heating the upper dermis well below your skin’s surface, Laser Genesis triggers the skin’s own regeneration mechanisms, plumping and revitalizing. This is a great procedure for the darkness seen under eyes. Lasergenesis is painless and safe, recommended monthly for best results.
PICO Genesis is another laser that delivers high-energy picosecond pulses to cause pigment breakdown within the dermis. This promotes collagen remodeling and elastin production while leaving the epidermis unharmed. When used for spot treatments the light energy breaks up pigment allowing the body to process it. This is a great laser for pigmentation of the skin, including decolletage, hands, face and neck. We also use PICO Genesis as part of our painless tattoo removal.
For skin tightening, increased collagen stimulation, scar/acne scar treatment and sun damaged skin, we utilize SecretRF. Secret RF stimulates dermal remodeling by applying precisely controlled radiofrequency energy directly into various depths of skin – from 0.5-3.5 mm – with minimally invasive micro-needles to spare the epidermis and reduce patient downtime.
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) combined with micro needling and direct injection is another remarkable skin treatment. PRP allows for tissue redevelopment and restoration, initiation of cell differentiation, extracellular matrix formation, recruitment of other cells to the site of injury (where injected or performed micro needling), and an increase in collagen production. All these processes can increase skin thickness and overall skin health.
The newest addition to our treatment list is PEP factor. This is a fibroblast growth factor that can rejuvenate the face, neck, decolletage and scalp by repairing and remodeling the dermis. PEP factor can be combined with vitamins (vitamin C, glutathione, etc.) or hyaluronic acid via a microneedling system. This treatment is our liquid gold and can be combined with any skin treatment.
Dr. Rada Shakov is a Board-Certified Gastroenterologist who also specializes in weight loss, health maintenance and aesthetic medicine. She is a published author and has won numerous awards for a variety of research topics. She continues her aesthetic training with live webinars, conferences and a variety of educational experiences.
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