Our resident beauty columnist, Ava Welsing-Kitcher, is ready to answer all your questions
As much as masks help keep us all safe, they’re a dampener beauty-wise. Yes, we’ve had to rule out bold, creamy lipstick, but our consistent gripe? Congestion spots – and it’s become my mission to tackle mine. Initially, whenever I peeled off my mask, I was greeted with a smattering of tiny pimples on my chin and cheeks, where I’d never broken out before. Now, they only pop up when I practise poor mask etiquette: using the same one all day, wearing heavy make-up or not cleansing as soon as I get home. Also, I’m pretty proud of my anti-maskne arsenal – here are my essentials to help you take a firing shot at yours.
The best approach to incorporating actives into your skincare routine is a multistaged one. We’ve washed off our cleanser, so the salicylic acid needs to stay on in serum form to work its oil-busting magic for longer. This powerhouse antiseptic gel is potent – dab the tiniest quarter of a pump on spots to dry them right up in a couple of hours, or spread a little more across oily or problem areas like the T-zone to control shine.
Most spot patches I’ve tried don’t really make a noticeable difference, but these do, with tiny microdarts that gently pierce into the spot, releasing a cocktail of salicylic acid, moisturising hyaluronic acid, calming niacinamide, and sodium hydroxide, to balance pH. Prep the spot first with an accompanying pepperminty salicylic-drenched cleaning wipe. The trick to getting the most out of them? Reserve them for whitehead spots, rather than angry, red hormonal ones. I also love Starface’s cutesy stickers for protecting and preventing any spot from worsening underneath a mask.
I’ve been quizzing dermatologists about the best face mask to reduce the risk of maskne. The most common answer? Disposable ones that can be changed at least twice a day, as the cotton-cloth versions harbour a lot of bacteria. Every disposable version rubs against my sensitive skin, so I opt for this incredibly smooth silk version that also makes breathing a breeze, meaning fewer steamy bacteria-breeding sessions. Pop a disposable mask over the top for full protection that’s kinder to your skin.
This newly launched brand is the first to offer customisable formulas for olive, brown and dark skin (shades 4, 5 and 6 on dermatologist classification charts). Pick your skin shade and concerns, from dark circles to enlarged pores, and even your desired level of fragrance, and they’ll add a cocktail of ingredients into this remarkable serum. It’s rich in brightening vitamins and heavyweight hyperpigmentation-busters, like alpha arbutin and azelaic acid (gentler than glycolic, ideal for deeper skin). Leftover acne marks – be gone!
Dermatologists also cite salicylic acid as the number one tool in beating maskne. This clever active dives deep into pores to unclog dead skin and oil, and it’s the star ingredient in this cult cleanser (which also helps with bumpy chicken skin on legs and arms). It can be a little drying, so only use after you’ve been masking to tackle spots both before and after they sprout up.
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