Wearing a mask for an extended period of time can really take its toll on your skin. Not only is one dealing with friction against the skin, but trapped moisture and bacteria beneath the mask can create the perfect environment for skin problems like acne to begin festering. Do not fear, the human guinea pig is here. Like most in their 20s, I had my fair share of breakouts due to incorrect skincare and eating habits. After a decade of product experimentation, I am proud to say I pretty much have it down when it comes to preventing and getting rid of any nasty skin pop ups.
Day Time Skin Care Regime:
Step 1: Remove, Cleanse and Buff/Exfoliate.
Remove: If you wear make-up, you will find coconut oil to be a miracle worker at removing your makeup, especially waterproof mascara. A bonus is that it’s natural, gentle and won’t cause any reactions. Massage over areas where make-up is applied and use a cotton pad to wipe off.
Cleanse: An unbalanced PH balance of the skin is a big contributing factor to skin ailments. Keep washing your face simple with a Dove Sensitive soap bar, dermatologically tested. Use with warm water and a cotton face cloth to help remove oils and dirt.
Buff: If you feel like your skin is a bit dry and flaky, use a buffer/exfoliation pad with the soap to remove old skin and help unclog pores. Rinse the soap off with warm water and then splash your face with cold water to help close pores. Dry with a clean towel.
Step 2: Tone and Tighten Pores
I prefer a homemade toner, free of any harsh chemicals that can aggravate one’s skin. Try this simple mix.
Steep a green tea bag in 150ml of water, wait until the tea has gone cold and then remove the tea bag. Add 10ml of organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Pour into a cosmetic spray bottle for easy application. Spray generously onto a cotton pad and then apply to your face and neck.
Step 3: Repair, Protect, Moisturize and Treat.
Repair: Aloe Vera has been prized for centuries for its ability to heal and protect the skin. Use a product that is free of fragrance and colorants, the purer the better. Apply to your face and neck.
Protect: An SPF is important to use to prevent UVB and UVA skin damage. Simple skincare range is free of harsh chemicals and does not clog pores.
Moisturize: Apply serum and/or essence, then eye cream and finally moisturizer. I use the Belif Korean Skincare range to keep my skin moisturized all day long without clogging pores.
Treat: Tea tree oil is proven to fight acne and reduce scarring. Apply tea tree gel sparingly to any affected areas.
Night Time Skincare Regime:
Tretinoin cream (the active ingredient in Retin-A) has been proven to fight acne, reduce scarring, tighten pores and even reverse the signs of aging. Tretinoin might cause a bit of redness, and slight skin peeling in the first 2 weeks. If you find this happening, reduce your use to every 3rd or 4th night and avoid using this during the day. Eventually you can slowly increase usage to every second night.
Every Second Night:
Step 1: Follow the same method of washing your face as you did in the morning.
Step 2: Apply toner with a cotton pad.
Step 3: Apply the aloe gel and allow your skin to dry for 20 mins.
Step 4: I usually treat the sensitive area around my eyes with an organic shea butter or eye balm, as I will not be applying tretinoin to this area. A lip balm is also a great before bed treatment. Do not apply anything to the rest of your face before or after applying tretinoin, as it can cause an adverse reaction.
Step 4: Use only a pea sized amount of tretinoin. Spot it equally on your forehead, cheeks, chin and jawline. Spread it as equally as you can. It absorbs very quickly and easily, so do not feel as though you need to put more on, as too much will cause excess redness and peeling the next day.
On the nights you do not use the tretinoin, follow your day time routine without the SPF.
Remember acne can also be cause by an unhealthy or imbalanced diet. An over intake of nuts, peanut butter or even dairy, have been culprits in my diet.
Please note that this routine may not work for everyone. Listen to your body, and consult a professional dermatologist if you have any questions or concerns about your skincare routine.
Guest writer Sarah J. Pretorius is an English teacher in Dalian, China. She is a mother to an inquisitive and energetic 3 year old boy. Writer, photographer and artist. Eccentric, yoga enthusiast, avid reader, lover of art, poetry and music.