Cases of maskne and rosacea have been on the rise for the past few years due to pandemic safety restrictions. STORY Southwell aesthetician, Sophie Matkin explains how to deal with these skin conditions and the treatments that can help.
Why are there currently more cases of acne, maskne and rosacea?
“There have reportedly been more cases of acne, ‘maskne’ and rosacea since the first lockdown. Being indoors more, our skin has not been exposed to natural sunlight so we’re not getting as much vitamin D. We have also been wearing face masks which don’t allow the skin to breathe. This can lead to an increase in blocked pores, dehydration and may weaken the skin barrier, making our skin more sensitive and congested,” explains Sophie.
“Now, as COVID measures are relaxed and people wear face masks less frequently, we should start to see a decrease in these conditions again.”
What is maskne?
“Maskne is an outbreak of acne in the areas of the face typically covered by a face mask. So, the cheeks, chin, jawline, etc. It’s caused by wearing a face covering for prolonged periods, as bacteria can build up. As a result, the skin can become irritated, blotchy and sore,” says Sophie.
Researchers have shown that wearing a face covering, particularly reusable cotton face masks, have limited breathability and create friction on the skin. This leads to a novel skin microenvironment, thanks to the breath from our nose and mouth circulating within the mask. Effects of this can include moisture saturation, a feeling of stickiness and increased skin temperatures. These affect the skin’s microbiome and can trigger or exacerbate existing sweat and heat-related dermatological issues such as acne, perioral dermatitis, rosacea and eczema.
How do you treat maskne?
Sophie has the following advice…
- When wearing a face mask, change it regularly to keep the area clean.
- Avoid or wear minimal makeup in the affected area to prevent congestion.
- Use skincare products that include salicylic acid which will cleanse the area.
Maskne skincare and skin treatment recommendations
Alumier MD Acne Clarifying Cleanser
This hydrating cleanser has a soothing gel formula that deep cleans whilst calming the skin. Salicylic acid and oligopeptide-10 form a powerful partnership to improve the appearance of acne, control blemishes and allow the skin to heal.
Alumier MD Bright and Clear Solution
Apply this clever skin conditioning solution after cleansing and before your serums or moisturiser to refine and brighten your complexion. Its gentle yet effective clinical formulation includes lactic acid and caviar lime. These exfoliate and clear any remaining debris from your pores to give a more even skin texture. Vitamin C-packed kakadu plum extract and soothing arnica also promote healthy looking skin.
Both these products can be purchased in-clinic at STORY locations, or simply contact us and we’ll have them sent out to you. You do not have to be a STORY clinics client to access this service.
We offer a bespoke home skincare and in-clinic treatment acne programme which is tailored to your unique needs at every stage. This makes it perfect for tackling maskne issues as well as regular acne. It involves three treatments and free follow-up consultations to help us monitor your progress and help you to achieve your clear skin goals.
Our STORY Skin Peels Boutique offers a custom superficial Clear Peel to address acne, oily, blemish-prone or congested skin. This efficient peel (pictured) has no downtime and the strength can be varied depending on your needs. For those wanting a more advanced treatment, we can personalise our medical-grade Retinol Peel to target your skin on a deeper level.
What is rosacea?
Sophie explains, “Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition which affects around 1 in every 10 people in the UK. It can start at any time but usually begins when we are middle aged.”
There are four types of rosacea. The one people usually think of when rosacea is mentioned is erythematotelangiectatic rosacea (pictured below). This presents as flushing, redness and visible blood vessels on the skin’s surface. Without treatment, this type of rosacea may get progressively worse.
The three other types are:
- Papulopustular rosacea – this causes whiteheads and inflamed lumpy spots which are frequently mistaken for acne.
- Phymatous rosacea – a much rarer form, this causes the skin to thicken and scar. It usually affects the nose, making it appear enlarged.
- Ocular rosacea – affecting the eyes, this type of rosacea causes bloodshot, watery eyes and may lead to sensitivity, a burning feeling and cysts on the eyelids.
Each can be treated, however, at STORY we offer solutions for the two most common types of rosacea affecting the skin – erythematotelangiectatic and papulopustular rosacea.
How do you treat rosacea?
Knowing your rosacea type is important, however, when dealing with skin redness. However, Sophie’s general advice below is useful to bear in mind…
- Wear sun protection – we recommend wearing SPF 30-50 every day, all year round. This protects your skin barrier from the environment and helps to stop it from flaring up. Stock up on Neostrata Clarify Sheer Hydration SPF 40 or Alumier MD Broad Spectrum Clear Shield SPF 42 next time you’re at a STORY clinic, or contact us to have your SPF sent to you. These advanced formulations support your skin barrier and, as they’re fragrance-free, shouldn’t aggravate sensitive skin.
- Ensure you minimise your lifestyle and dietary triggers. Alcohol, spicy foods and dairy are all known to be problematic for rosacea sufferers.
- Use a skincare routine with products specifically designed to support your skin barrier.
Rosacea skincare and skin treatment recommendations
Alumier MD SensiCalm
A great cleanser with a gentle, hydrating formulation that is packed with calming and hydrating ingredients. These include yucca root extract, niacinamide, ceramides, vitamin E, sunflower seed oil and aloe. Use morning and evening to reduce redness; for any double-cleansers, this would be your second cleanse.
Neostrata Redness Neutralising Serum
This cooling creamy serum is a bestseller at STORY (even our co-founder uses it!) and fuses PHA antioxidants with sugar-derived bionic acids. Use this to calm redness, neutralise the appearance of blotchiness, support your skin barrier and protect against environmental skin stressors. Apply after your Bright and Clear solution, or straight after cleansing if you’re not using a liquid exfoliant.
Your suitability for in-clinic skin treatments will depend on the severity and type of your rosacea. If you’d like to explore this, book a free consultation and we can let you know your options, as well as making personalised skincare product recommendations.
Which face masks are best for people with acne, maskne or rosacea?
“Disposable masks are best for people with acne, maskne or rosacea as they cause less friction and pressure on the skin. Friction and pressure can spark flare ups of these conditions, so it’s important to choose a mask that will minimise these factors,” Sophie recommends.
If you would like expert advice on acne, maskne or rosacea – or any other skin concerns you may have – book a free consultation with one of our aestheticians. These experienced skin practitioners will discuss your concerns in detail and examine your face before providing you with their bespoke recommendations for skincare and skin treatment options.
You will leave your STORY skin consultation feeling listened to, understood and confident that there is help available. We will answer all your questions and give you all the information you need to make an informed decision about how to proceed. Additionally, we will provide you with a personalised treatment plan which you can take away to consider or, in some cases, start straight away!