In the UK, it’s been compulsory to wear a face covering or mask on public transport since June last year, and in public places where it’s hard to remain socially distanced, since July.
It came as a shock, right?
Who would have thought that carrying a mask would become the new normal? But the once weird notion has proved to be a life-saving measure. And we’re all onboard with that.
But getting us to toe the line hasn’t come cheap for The Powers That Be.
To date, the government has spent more than £100m encouraging us to cover up, as part of a nationwide advertising campaign aimed at reducing the spread of Coronavirus. And most would argue it’s been worth the cost.
Transmission rates fell when mask wearing was made mandatory and Brits were urged to think about ‘hands, face, space’ when out and about. Fines have even been introduced to hammer home the seriousness of the message.
How many times have you forgotten your face covering and been forced to head back home and pick it up? Us too… Annoying, isn’t it?
Grabbing your mask has had to become as much of a habit as checking for your keys and wallet when you’re on your way out.
Which means we’re spending chunks of time with our mouths covered and our skin smothered.
Queue the rise of ‘maskne’ – acne brought about by wearing a mask. Eugh. Breakouts, blemishes and sore skin are also part of our new normal, it seems.
Jess, a ClearO2 customer from Newcastle told us, “My mask needs to be quite tight because of the line of work I’m in, and it gives me spots around my mouth and on my chin. It’s horrible.”
In a recent interview with the Independent, Dr Adil Sheraz, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson said: “Due to the tight-fitting nature of the mask, it can lead to a blockage of the follicular openings (the surface of the epidermis) and cause outbreaks of spots and acne, the increased sweating doesn’t help either.”
Dr Sheraz goes on to explain that moisture from breathing while wearing a face covering, coupled with constant face touching means that a damp, oily, dirty and irritating environment is cultivated underneath your mask. And for some, that results in spots.
It’s no surprise that one of the most googled phrases during recent months has been ‘maskne’.
“I’d been so preoccupied with worry about catching COVID-19 that I hadn’t given a second thought to what the knock-on effects of mask wearing might be. Until I started getting greasy skin and spots on my cheeks.” Said Emma, a ClearO2 customer from Bristol.
So what can you do about it?
First up, if your masks are reusable, be sure to wash them regularly. In an ideal world, you ought to pop your mask in the laundry after every wear, but at the end of each day is fine. If you’re using disposables, they need to go in the bin once you’ve worn them.
A new day requires a new mask.
The next step is committing to a skincare routine to keep your face clean, fresh and hopefully blemish-free.
Cleanse – Do this once each morning when you get up, and twice each evening before you get into bed. Using a balm, milk, lotion or gel is best and washing off with a warm flannel is perfect. But in short, just make sure you do it.
Exfoliate – We’re not talking about a rough scrub that rips your face off. More a gentle toner you can use every day after cleansing. Do you research and find something to suit your skin type.
Moisturise – Every morning. Every evening. Find something that fits your requirements. And use it diligently.
Treat – If all else fails and a pimple appears, invest in a good, targeted spot treatment to speed up the healing process.
Feed – Give your skin some help from within too. Drink plenty of water, feast on fruit and veg, and keep your blood oxygen levels topped up to flush those pesky toxins from your body.
Stay fresh – Hydrating your skin boosts both its function and your mind, giving you two brilliant benefits in one easy step. We cannot recommend this Oxygen Mist Revitalising Facial Spray more highly. Stash one in your bag and leave one in the car to keep your face feeling clean wherever you go.