Personally, I had an easy time transitioning to staying at home 24/7 due to being an extreme introvert. Plus, I've got the sweetest fur babies that don't mind mommy doting on them all day.
With that, my one constant is taking care of my skin. With nowhere to go, it's been fantastic creating customized facials for my skin week by week and really getting into it. YET, the downfall of it all is the abundance of congestion that has taken over. Week by week, I couldn't figure out why my skin was breaking out even though I've been on my A-game. Then one day, my manager/friend who constantly blows my mind with how smart she is, looked at me and said, "duh girl - it's because of our masks!" At that moment, my head exploded. Like, how could I not put the two and two together? I then did a deep dive and asked the people in my life if they've been experiencing the same thing. Sure enough, they have.
With conflicting opinions being spread like wildfire, it is important that we are all staying diligent in not spreading false information to prevent harm for those that are immunocompromised. Let's quickly go through some popular questions about wearing a mask and how to take care of your skin with it.
1. Wearing a mask causes an influx of carbon dioxide and is dangerous
Breathing in excessive carbon dioxide is dangerous for the body. Some people with preexisting respiratory illnesses may face health issues only with prolonged use of tight-fitting masks, such as respirators.
However, people wearing cloth or surgical masks are in little to no danger of breathing in unhealthy amounts of carbon dioxide." (snopes.com)
2. Wearing a mask doesn't 100% prevent the spread of COVID-19
It is not something to completely rely on, yet it can drastically control the spread of it if everyone complies. This is why the specialists recommend to honor the 6 ft social distancing, wear a mask, stay home when you can, and practice proper sanitation consistently. Also, go online and look up where to take the COVID -19 and antibodies test for free, and to call your doctor if you're showing any symptoms.
3. I think I already got it, that excludes me from having to wear my mask
If you're not sure if you had a really bad flu or COVID-19 or if it was confirmed that you did have it, then you MUST still wear your mask. You can still carry the virus! Don't be selfish and be courteous to others.
4. Maskne (Mask Acne) is real and can cause congestion, blackheads, cystic breakouts
At this point, we all know this to be true, as I had mentioned it earlier. When we are wearing our mask, we are not allowing our skin to breathe which results in makeup being rubbed into our skin, sweat is being produced at a more consistent rate, and saliva being spread due to coughing/sneezing. Also, it is important to wash your hands before and after you touch your mask.
5. Washing your mask is important for your health
Let's face it, at this point in time masks will be a part of our lives moving forward. We now have designers making masks that look fashionable and also comfortable to wear for long periods of time. I have purchased multiple masks from small companies and have enough to last me a week at a time. For me, it's eco-friendly to do it this way while also looking cute!
Yet, even though they may look cute, it still isn't the best way to protect yourself. Since surgical masks like the N95 should be saved for people working on the front lines, a way you can give yourself added protection is by placing a paper towel or coffee filter inside your mask; it must cover your mouth AND nose. By doing this, your protection will increase by 33% and maintain the longevity of your mask. It is important that you keep your masks clean to help prevent the bacteria to spread. Make sure you treat your mask like a bio hazard item. I keep a sealed bag next to my door so that I place them in there as soon as I get home.
Here are the best ways to disinfect your masks:
- Hand washing your mask in soapy water or machine wash
- If you're running out of time, you can purchase CPAP Mask Cleansing Wipes that are non-irritating to the skin
What can be done to help address my skin concerns since we are required to wear masks by law?
Confidently, I can say don't do what I'm doing by extracting the breakouts yourself. Since I am a licensed Aesthetician, I know what my skin can handle and have almost 8 years experience working with tools to safely and correctly decongest my skin.
If you are stubborn and can't resist popping that breakout. PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, wash your hands, then wash your skin, pop it gently by giving it 3 loving attempts and if it doesn't budge then STOP and apply alcohol to prevent the bacteria from spreading. You never want to push because it'll getting worse and most likely leaving a scar.
I'm sure most of you have read my previous blogs about me raving about other various products that have helped me with my acne, but if you haven't, definitely take time to do so because I go into detail about how they've truly changed my life.
I will say that the two products which have been my saving grace during Safe at Home has been using a gentle daily exfoliating cleanser like Skin Medica's AHA/BHA Cleanser. I'm not kidding, as soon as I started being consistent with using it twice a day I've seen a dramatic improvement in less than 2 weeks.
The other is using Skin Medica's Retinol .5 every night. For a Retinol, this is very tolerable on the skin. I'm telling you, I am so sensitive and can't do peels because of the reaction I get, but using this every day has been so rewarding; redness has dramatically gone down, pores are shrinking, scars are lightening, and the congestion is softening/clearing. This is HUGE and so worth the minor flaking you get when you're first adjusting.
Now, of course, all of our skin reacts differently. What may work for me, may not work for you. I understand the struggle you may be going through. Especially since we aren't able to do facials at the moment to help give you that sense of relief. That's why, we are going an extra step forward, and offering virtual consultations. You will have the option to meet with one of our Medical Providers or Medical Aestheticians to give you the proper tools you need to get you right on track! If you'd like to hear more about this, keep a close eye out on our Instagram @bluemedicalspa or you can give us a call directly at our office at 818-783-3600 as we are now open Monday-Friday from 9am-6pm and now offering curbside pick-up!
Remember to minimize exposure by wearing your mask, washing your hands consistently, follow social distancing, reducing gatherings, and take care of your skin. I know we've all heard this and lowkey roll our eyes, but we truly are in this together. Stay safe and sending love your way always.
By Melissa Colon