By Shaly Vassigh, Licensed Natural Esthetican & Holistic Health Counselor
During the pandemic, our clients at Back-Health & Inner Radiance Wellness have continued coming in for facials with a variety of concerns. As a holistic esthetician, I attempt to help the whole person, so we often discuss their lifestyle and routines as well as where they are mentally and emotionally to assist them with their wellness, and, ultimately the outer health of their skin.
Maskne–A New Cause to an Old Problem
While acne may not be new to many of us, the problem of acne created by wearing masks (maskne) is. First, it is best to identify if you are having an allergy to a mask. Certain disposable masks contain glues or latex that people may be sensitive to. If you are not required to wear a specific type of mask for work, try some different masks with natural fibers that are breathable but still provide protection. At least two layers is recommended.
Secondly, it is important to maintain good mask hygiene. Whether you use a disposable or reusable mask, be sure to use a clean one every day. Some clients even need to change their mask more than once a day if their skin is very oily or prone to breakouts. If you use cloth masks, keep several on hand. You can wash them with your laundry using a dye and fragrance-free detergent (we recommend All Free & Clear or other natural brands) or by hand using natural hand soap. Let them dry by air and avoid using fabric softeners, which can irritate the skin. In addition to using a clean mask, you can boost your mask hygiene by using an antibacterial spray at the beginning and the middle of the day. Be sure the spray that you use is not irritating for the skin. We recommend avoiding using alcohol products on the face. A witch hazel spray or Eminence Organic’s Lime Refresh Tonique is helpful for keeping germs at bay for your mask to reduce breakouts. Spray it all over your face or on your mask at the beginning and middle of the day. We have had a number of clients that used a spray for their masks and came back reporting that it significantly helped reduce maskne.
Also, not wearing foundation under your mask will help prevent your pores from becoming clogged. If your face is not showing, it also reduces the need for makeup. Many of my clients that stopped wearing foundation saw a decrease in their maskne. I personally only apply concealer around my eyes, some eyeliner, and mascara when I wear a mask. For those that would like a little bit more evening of the skin tone, Eminence’s Sun Defense Minerals with SPF 30 provides some color and glow while still allowing your skin to breathe.
Finally, even after using these preventative measures, you still may need some extra help from good corrective skin care. As an organic spa, we recommend using natural products free of parabens and other chemicals and organic whenever possible. The primary skin care line we use is Eminence Organic Skin Care. In general for acne, you want to cleanse the skin twice a day using an appropriate cleanser such as Charcoal Exfoliating Gel Cleanser or Clear Skin Probiotic Cleanser, followed by a serum for acne, such as the Clear Skin Willow Bark Booster Serum, and then your moisturizer, such as Clear Skin Probiotic Moisturizer. For the daytime, you may want to use a lighter moisturizer or stick with a hyaluronic-based serum, such as Strawberry Rhubarb Hyaluronic Serum, or use a few drops of oil, like the Facial Recovery oil, in lieu of a heavier moisturizer which may block your pores in addition to a mask. Also, be sure you are using a non-comedogenic moisturizer. For nighttime, try a thin layer of Clear Skin Probiotic Masque (be sure to dilute it down with water before applying) for an intensive overnight treatment to help clear your skin. Before you step in your shower, maintain your exfoliation 3 times a week by applying Stone Crop Fizzofoliant with Detoxifying Microgreens to deep cleanse your pores. When you use this in the shower, the steam helps to activate the ingredients, and it is easier to remove without adding any time to your morning routine.
Professional Treatments for Maskne and Acne in General
And, of course, a facial at least once a month is a great way to help your maskne! We use professional products from Eminence Organic Skin Care, such as Blueberry Detox Firming Peel or Turmeric Energizing Treatment with crushed citrine gemstones. For more cystic acne, we have the Acne Advanced Peel with a non-irritating encapsulated salicylic acid. In addition to extractions, we use tools like an ultrasonic skin device and high frequency, to purge and clear the skin.
Chronic Stress, Mindset, Massage, and Self Care
One of the parts that our clients enjoy the most about our facials is all of the massage. We do a hand and arm, neck and shoulder, and facial massage with our full-length facials. This helps to alleviate the other concern that we are seeing with our clients during the pandemic–low-grade (or sometimes high grade), chronic stress. By relaxing the body, we help to alleviate tension and stress, which always makes one feel and look better. When you are receiving a massage, your mind relaxes and you are able to be more present than you normally may be, letting go of usual thoughts and worries. With social distancing, many of us are deprived of touch, which is essential for us as human beings (our therapists wear masks and follow safety precautions). Facial massage with lymphatic drainage and acupressure can help create balance and detoxification for your skin and help you feel better. Chilled jade stone rollers are used after a heat-inducing mask during our Fire & Ice facial to create balance and increase blood flow to help with breakouts. When it is needed, we use a specialized Hungarian technique to lift and firm the skin and smooth lines and wrinkles, along with Rose Quartz Gua Sha to further release tightened areas that create wrinkles.
Try out this old psychology experiment that I learned while studying psychology for my undergrad degree–place a pencil in your mouth for 10 minutes while performing a mundane task. Do you feel any difference in your mood? By holding the pencil in your mouth, you are mimicking the smiling action of your muscles. Because your brain recognizes the facial position as a smile, it can provide reverse feedback to your brain to actually make you feel happier, which it associates with smiling. Pretty neat, huh? So as an esthetician, part of my job is to help relax over tightened muscles in the face to promote relaxation. Many people have a tendency to squint or scowl when they are concentrating on something. This usually shows up as a vertical line between the eyebrows, sometimes called the “11’s.” I often see this with my musician clients, since their work requires a lot of intensity and concentration. I also see it in moms of toddlers (I remember those days! I feel you, my friend.) And in moms that have grown children that they worry about (I have not been there yet, and I totally feel for you too!). It is important to be aware of this and try to soften facial expressions, which may help improve your mood by this feedback process. After all, you wouldn’t want to feel the emotion associated with a scowl all the time, right?
(If you are a nerd like me, you can research more about this Facial Feedback theory of emotion at Smile Your Way Out of Stress? | Psychology Today).
(If you did not feel happier after your pencil experiment, try some affirmations such as “I am at peace.” “I am happy” “I am fulfilled.” We tend to have the same thoughts (many negative) over and over again, so changing them to a positive thought (even if we do not currently feel positive) can also have a similar feedback effect on your outlook and mood. )
If you prefer to stay home and do your own skin and self-care, there are many self-massage techniques that can be quite relaxing and helpful for releasing tension. Jade Stone rollers and gua sha stones are helpful tools for self-massage. Jade rollers can be kept in the freezer and used on the face to help increase circulation, calm redness and breakouts, and help with lymphatic drainage and puffiness. To use the rollers, imagine a line down the center of your face. Roll the jade rollers outwards and/or upwards toward the ears and then down the sides of the neck. For the gua sha (we love Rose Quartz for its loving energy), use the edge of the flat stone to work out tension along the jaw or tight muscles and work back and forth perpendicular to wrinkles to help smooth them. For a great at-home facial massage tutorial, visit How To Do A Facial Massage At Home | Eminence Organic Skin Care. Better yet, do your facial massage WHILE doing affirmations to reset positive thinking! I am a mom of two boys and a dog, so yes, I like to multitask too.
So as you can see, lifestyle, stress, mental, and emotional health go hand-in-hand with skin health. It is an outer reflection of our internal health, and vice versa. Fundamentally, it requires a certain level of self-concern and self-love to create the habits for self-care. That worthiness needs to be found first, however you may need to find it. For more information on this, check out my other current blog– Nurturing Mind, Body & Spirit During Challenging Times. From there, you can focus on the specific care needed for your health and skin in order for it to continue protecting you and representing your appearance for many years to come.
The above Eminence Organic products can be purchased through our Shop Eminence Products link. By using this link, you will receive Free Shipping and are still supporting our spa!
*We are an Authorized Eminence Organic Skin Care Retailer. No compensation was made for any recommendations in this blog post.
For more on on Mental, Emotional and Physical Self-Care during the Pandemic, read my other blog at _________________.The above Eminence Organic products can be purchased through our Shop Eminence Products link. By using this link, you will receive Free Shipping and are still supporting our spa!