The COVID-19 pandemic has altered life as we know it in numerous ways. Lockdown measures have changed work habits and significantly affected social interactions, with everything from business meetings to house parties taking place online rather than face-to-face.
The virus has even changed the language we use, with the Oxford English Dictionary adding in several new words or portmanteaus of words to the 2020 edition.
There is also a whole list of words that lexicographers are watching out for, whose use is not quite yet widespread enough to warrant inclusion but which are rapidly becoming part of everyday language and may be included in future editions.
These include ‘maskne’, which is a portmanteau of ‘face mask’ and “acne”, referring to outbreaks of facial acne caused by the enforced wearing of face masks for large parts of the day.
Maskne differs from traditional acne in that it is caused mainly by friction. The full term for this type of acne is acne mechanica, and it is not a new phenomenon. Acne mechanica has long been an issue faced by many people who regularly wear clothing or protective equipment, which can be caused by anything from bras to athletic pads, rucksack straps or protective gear.
In maskne, breakouts are most often observed in the areas where the mask touches and therefore causes friction on the skin, including the bridge of the nose, the cheeks and the chin.
Friction causes micro-tears in the surface of the skin, pushing bacteria and dirt into the deeper levels which causes a breakout of spots. These might take the form of blackheads, whiteheads, or even cysts or small abrasions.
There are several things people can do to help prevent a breakout of maskne, none of which include taking the mask off when guidelines say to wear one.
We are all now used to washing our hands diligently and regularly, or using hand sanitiser when this is not possible, and the guidelines have long stated to avoid touching the face as much as possible. Keeping the face extra-clean using anti-bacterial cleansers is more essential than ever before, not only for hygiene but also in the battle against maskne.
Dermatologists recommend using a good cleanser at least once a day to remove dirt and bacteria from the skin, preventing it from being pushed further in by the mask.
Opatra London has a catalogue of advanced skincare technologies which includes Opatra Cleanse, a naturally foaming formula that gently but stringently cleanses the facial skin of all contaminants while hydrating and moisturising.
The formula has been designed to reduce outbreaks and promote new cell growth, which can help alleviate the appearance of acne scars, age spots and other blemishes, while gently soothing the skin.
Once the skin is clean, applying a gentle moisturiser can help reinforce and strengthen the skin barrier, preventing bacteria and dirt from becoming trapped and calming down any previous irritation or dryness.
The unique qualities of the Opatra Hydrating Moisturising Cream are designed to deliver intense hydration and actively encourage the skin to retain essential moisture, at the same time as firming, softening and boosting radiance. The best results are achieved when used daily after cleansing.
The moisturiser also contains UV protection at SPF-15, which can help protect the rest of the face from UV rays, particularly when avoiding wearing make-up as an extra layer of protection against maskne.
Light therapy has been proven as an effective treatment against all forms of acne, helping to strengthen, lift, plump and brighten the skin with health-giving properties. The Opatra Glow Mask come in a range of light therapy choices, with red light for slowing the ageing process and orange light for boosting vitality.
The blue light masks have proven antibacterial benefits, helping to eliminate the bacteria on the skin that can produce acne. Using a blue light mask for just 10-20 minutes two or three times a week can help target active acne, prevent acne from reoccurring, and create noticeable improvements in both the look and feel of the skin.
Taking care of the skin is no good if masks that are used are then put straight back on. Disposable masks should be single use only, while fabric masks should be washed thoroughly between every use to help reduce the level of bacteria that comes into contact with the skin.
Having several masks in different fabrics for different conditions can be helpful, and it also allows for wearing a mask while one is being washed.