Masked Beauty: The New Normal

Raise your hand if your beauty routine has been personally victimized by COVID-19.
You are not alone.
A year ago we were restructuring our routines to embrace self-care quarantined in our homes.
Now, those of us integrated back into public have the pleasure of trouble shooting things like the now infamous mask acne, or MASKNE.
Dry lips, dehydration, irritated scalps and cracking hands are also on the list.

It turns out that keeping your face covered inhibits the spread of germs as well as our ability to drink enough water.
Breathing your own breath back in again and again for an entire work day has its way of bestowing upon you what seems like unquenchable thirst.
I often joke with friends that drinking 3 liters of quality water a day will make you feel 27 years old again but some experts say that drinking half
of your weight in water daily is sufficient to keep you properly hydrated. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds, you’d need to drink 75 ounces–a little
over 2 liters–a day. Staying hydrated will conveniently also do a great deal for your skin, helping you stay “maskne” and chapped lip free.

Unfortunately for the lower portion of our faces, the warm and humid environment beneath our masks happens to be an ideal breeding ground for yeast and bacteria. What we’ve coined as “maskne” is likely fungal acne in many cases. Wearing a mask can also exacerbate conditions like rosacea and eczema. Always wearing a clean, dry mask will help ward off bacteria and skin ailments.

I am not a doctor–and one should always be consulted–but I do have a couple of over the counter tricks up my sleeve to share.

Vanicream makes a product called Z-Bar containing the highest OTC amount of Pyrithione Zinc (2%). This is no run of the mill bar of soap, more of a multitasking powerhouse. Pyrithione Zinc can treat fungal acne, eczema, seborrheic dermatitis and the ungodly itching that comes with each of them. It is the active ingredient in many dandruff shampoos. Conveniently, the Z-bar doubles as a shampoo bar. It is free of dyes, fragrances, lanolin, parabens and formaldehyde. Therefore, it is a great option for people with skin conditions such as seborrhoeic dermatitis of the face, ears and neck from recurrent contact and rubbing of the mask on the skin. Always wearing a clean, dry mask will help keep any skin ailments at bay. The plastic free Z-Bar packaging is better for the environment, but Vanicream likewise makes a medicated shampoo with the same concentration of zinc that can be used on the face and body if you prefer a liquid soap.

Keeping your hands clean and off of your face is the key to ceasing the spread of germs. The frequent washing can be extremely drying. My favorite hand cream is O’Keefe’s Working Hands. It is unscented, hypoallergenic and not greasy. Urea softens the rough skin of the hands while glycerine and dimethicone create a protective layer which prevents moisture loss.

I highly recommend giving these products the old college try. Let us know if you’ve found any holy grail products for your new normal beauty routine!
We’re all in this together.

Laura Powers, 2021. Author retains ownership, reprint or reuse by permission only.

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