Once it was everyone’s favorite new thing, but it turns out that washing your face with an oscillating brush is not a good idea.
Do Wear a (Physical) Sunscreen
Dermatologists recommend everyone wear sunscreen every day, but if you’re using a chemical exfoliant, it’s even more important. “You’re leaving your skin a little more exposed, since you are removing those top layers of the epidermis,” says Dr. Marchbein, who recommends a physical (or mineral) formula. “Physical sunscreens protect skin that hyperpigments easily by creating a literal barrier that reflects off the sun, while chemical sunscreen actually absorbs some of the heat, and can worsen pigmentation issues,” she explains.
Don’t Combine Peels with Physical Exfoliators
Going overboard on exfoliation can irritate skin and lead to eczema, redness, dryness, inflammation and acne breakouts. When using a chemical exfoliant like a peel, “Hold off on any scrubs made from granular particles,” says Whitney Bowe, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “I also recommend avoiding loofah or Buf-Pufs, and anything else abrasive on the skin.”
Do Incorporate Days of Repair
“People who exfoliate every day run into issues with their skin barrier, so I recommend spacing out your peels by four nights,” says Dr. Bowe. (If you have very sensitive skin, Dr. Marchbein recommends using a peel only once a week.) On off days, Dr. Bowe advises you use products with ingredients that restore the skin barrier, such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil, sunflower seed oil and squalane.
If you’re serious about protecting yourself — and others — from the very real dangers of Covid-19, you’re wearing a mask when you go out around others.
Dr. Whitney Bowe on how to prevent mask-induced acne
Call it a sign of the times: The Korean skin-care brands Dr. Jart+ and Peach & Lily offer collections of “maskne essentials” on their websites. The patch purveyor Hero Cosmetics recently posted an entry about maskne on its blog. But don’t dismiss maskne — acne and irritation from wearing a mask — as just another portmanteau to market skin-care products.
The term “acid mantle” was coined in 1928 by German physicians researching the effects of bacteria on skin, but it hasn’t entered mainstream conversations about skin health until recently. In fact, this might be the first time you’ve heard about it—but this unsung dermatological attribute could very well be the culprit behind many of your complexion woes. Dry skin? Rosacea? Pimples? They could be appearing because your acid mantle is compromised. But what exactly is the acid mantle, and what are the best ways to keep it robust? Read on for everything you need to know.
What is the skin’s acid mantle and what does it do?
The acid mantle is a thin film on the skin’s surface composed of lipids from the oil glands mixed with amino acids from sweat. Along with the microbiome, it’s part of the delicate matrix that creates a healthy skin barrier. The acid mantle’s main job is to keep the good stuff (like moisture) in, and the bad stuff (like bacteria and pollution) out. Think of it as an essential shield—the invisible face mask you didn’t know you were wearing.
Is it related to skin pH?
Yes. The acid mantle derives its name from the fact that the skin’s ideal pH is slightly acidic, about 5.5, and anything that can skew it too alkaline can disrupt its ability to function optimally. ““When our skin has this slightly acidic pH, the barrier is healthy and intact,” says Whitney Bowe, renowned New York dermatologist and author of Dirty Looks: The Secret to Beautiful Skin. “This acidic pH of the skin protects against overgrowth of pathogens—bad bugs, essentially—that thrive at a higher, more alkaline pH. The acidic pH also protects against aging.”
Dr. Whitney Bowe also shares tips on how to combat “maskne” — breakouts caused by wearing masks and other face coverings.
‘Maskne’ is the new acne, but fear not, Dr. Whitney Bowe has got you covered on how to prevent breakouts from wearing your face mask.
Wearing a mask can get under your skin.
Ever since face coverings became a mandatory part of life, a nasty side effect has broken out in its wake: “Maskne.” The new phrase — which combines the words “mask” and “acne” — has recently sprung up all over social media as people suffering from the new kind of blemish are venting their woes about the skin care snafu.
“Shout-out to my fellow nurses as well as other health-care workers who are back in their teenage years covered with mask acne. I feel you,” writes Kayla Pyrah in a May 6 Instagram post.
Another user laments that “my mask is causing me to break out” and that maskne has become a “problem that I never thought I would have,” in an Instagram post from April 30.
But the problem isn’t just affecting hormonal teens, acne-prone adults or health-care workers wearing heavy duty N95 medical masks for hours at a time. Skin experts are noticing a major zit spike in clients who have never battled pimples in the past.
“The fact that we’re keeping something on such a sensitive area of the face . . . even people who haven’t suffered with a skin situation before are now dealing with the implications of that,” says New York City aesthetician Sofie Pavitt, who has been conducting dozens of remote acne consultations for clients while her Canal Street studio is closed due to the stay-at-home order.
Maskne — which is referred to as acne mechanica by derms — is caused by the combination of rubbing from the mask, which irritates the skin barrier, as well as the hot moisture trapped inside, which dilates the pores and allows bacteria and oil to clog them up. Once the follicles are trapped with gunk, they become inflamed, leading to nasty breakouts.
“We’ve seen it a lot with athletes . . . [like] people wearing a helmet, a baseball cap or even with certain instruments that rest against the chin area,” says Upper East Side dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe. If left untreated, the mask, “which is a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria . . . could lead to infections that then require a prescription medication to clear it up.”
But before you even worry about tackling the bacterial buildup beneath the mask, make sure yours is clean.
“If you’re wearing a cloth mask, you want to wash it frequently . . . especially if you’re exercising,” says Bowe. If you’re using a disposable surgical mask, she suggests letting it dry out for 24 hours before wearing it again.
A diligent skin care regimen will help the skin bounce back from mask-inflicted congestion. Bowe advises you wash your face before and after wearing a mask, and choose a gentle skin cleanser that is free of harsh sulfates which can strip the skin of its protective oils.
“Massage it in with fingertips only — no loofah or abrasive scrubs right now,” says Bowe. “Then you want to pat dry with a clean towel.
Raise your hand if you have aimlessly scrolled through your social media feed just to fall down a rabbit hole that’s left you online for longer than you anticipated? Guilty.
As many of us are practicing social distancing to help stop the spread of COVID-19, it’s no secret that screen time on mobile devices, laptops and iPads has increased.
While this has quickly become the new normal, have you ever stopped to think about how all of the constant exposure to blue light could be affecting your skin?
What’s blue light?
Blue light, also known as high-energy visible light (HEV), is light emitted from all of our screens, and there is still ongoing research about its effects.
Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe told “GMA” that natural light from the sun is one of the strongest sources of blue light. “The sun emits UV rays, infrared rays, visible rays or visible light, and blue light is part of physical light,” she said.