To protect our most vulnerable populations, most of us are wearing masks right now. While each of us needs to do our part to prevent the spread of COVID, that does not mean that wearing a mask is comfortable.
Mask-generated irritation, redness, and breakouts are a reality for many of us right now. Fortunately, there are ways to care for your skin (and limit discomfort) while staying safe.
Masks Wreak Havoc on Skin
Whether it’s irritation on the top of the nose, dryness along the cheeks, or breakouts on the chin, masks can create skincare difficulties we thought we outgrew years ago. And it’s easy to see why: masks need to be tight-fitting to stay in place and provide optimal protection. The tradeoff, however, is that facial coverings make it difficult to breathe. They also decrease air circulation in the areas where the fabric touches your skin.
Finally, masks put extra pressure under the chin, beneath the eyes, and along the bridge of the nose, creating areas that are particularly susceptible to rubbing and irritation. If you have very sensitive or scar-prone skin, these issues can be even more pronounced.
3 Steps to Caring for Your Skin Under a Mask
If you’re wearing a mask for 8-12 hours a day right now, these tips can help keep your skin healthy despite it all:
1. First things first – focus on fit
To avoid unnecessary irritation, make sure your mask isn’t tighter than it needs to be. It should fit snugly across your face and fully cover your nose and mouth. There should be a minimum of gaps between your skin and the mask. If you want more detail on how to put on, take off, and wear a mask properly, check out the CDC’s guidelines on the topic.
2. Cleanse the skin daily
There’s no pretty way to put this: wearing a mask means we’re breathing our own bacteria all day, so it’s no wonder mask breakouts are a thing. In fact, they’re so common, they’ve even got a nickname: maskne.
Otherwise known as acne mechanica, maskne is a breakout that results from excessive friction and rubbing in a given area. Over time, this friction pushes bacteria into micro-tears in the skin, leading to inflammation that creates acne.
Generally, you’ll notice maskne breakouts in the area where the mask touches your skin – your chin, cheeks, and the bridge of your nose. To limit breakouts and irritation, be sure to cleanse your face each night.
We recommend using a gentle cleanser like this one or this one. Infused with charcoal to draw out oil and impurities, these formulas are effective enough to get rid of pore-clogging gunk without damaging your skin even further. You can also try one of our dew puffs, made from konjac root and designed to exfoliate, balance skin’s pH, and brighten the complexion. If your breakouts are severe, you’ll benefit from a weekly deep cleansing. Patchology’s Smartmud sheet mask is a gentle option. We also love their cult-favorite “Breakout Box.”
3. Protect the area
To help the skin heal, apply a rich facial cream twice daily. This creates a barrier between the mask and your skin and helps prevent ongoing damage. We recommend our Daily Vitamins Cream.
This product contains a cosmetic grade mineral oil, which creates a barrier, locking in moisture. Thanks to its natural antibacterial properties, it also helps minimize bacterial concentration on the face and under the mask, and stop breakouts before they start.
Protecting Your Skin and Your Health
While there may be no end in sight for our mask-wearing days, that doesn’t mean you have to live with irritation, breakouts, and painful sores. Simple things, like making sure your mask fits and adopting a proper cleansing and moisturizing routine, can help protect your skin and make wearing your mask a little less uncomfortable.
Take care of yourself during this unprecedented time! For a limited time, we’re offering free shipping on all orders of $50 or more. Shop our selection of new products now.
Pregnancy: it’s a time to pamper yourself, savor the experience, and relax as much as possible. For many women, though, skincare for pregnancy is tough to stay on top of. After all, pregnancy-related hormonal changes can bring on a host of issues, including breakouts, itching, rashes, pigmentation changes, and stretch marks.
Fortunately, skincare during pregnancy doesn’t have to be difficult. Today, we’ve got a few smart skincare tips that will keep you radiant from your first trimester through those last few days:
Skincare for Pregnancy: 5 Problem-Solving Products
Pregnancy is a magical time, but it can be a bummer for your skin. Up that glow and stay comfortable by adding the following ingredients to your daily skincare routine:
1. For Stretch Marks: Try Vitamin E Oil
Stretch marks are common on the belly and breasts throughout pregnancy. In addition to making some women feel self-conscious, they can also be itchy and uncomfortable. Give your hardworking skin some relief with a super-effective natural moisturizer, like Vitamin E oil.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient that occurs naturally in superfoods like eggs, nuts, and avocados. When Vitamin E is applied topically to the skin, it eases dryness, bolsters the skin’s natural defenses, and boosts collagen production, all of which decrease the likelihood of stretch marks.
For best results, pick a dense Vitamin E product and rub it on each night before bed. We recommend our Elder Flower & Vitamin E Hydrating Lotion, which is packed with Vitamin E and is a favorite among moms-to-be.
2. For Dry, Itchy Skin: Try Coconut or Wheat Germ Oil
Skin stretches rapidly during pregnancy, which can create itching, dryness, and chapping.
Luckily, you can find some relief with easy-to-find, natural remedies like coconut and wheat germ oil. Both are rich sources of fatty acids and essential vitamins, which help moisturize the skin and keep it supple.
To soothe an itchy belly and stop stretch marks before they start, check out our Great Mother’s Belly Butter.
Formulated with skin-soothing cocoa butter, olive oil, coconut oil, wheat germ oil, and comfrey root, this thick, nourishing cream rebuilds skin tissue and delivers intense moisture. It also promotes collagen production and can stop itching.
3. For Pigmentation and Dark Spots: Try Glycolic Acid
Treating pregnancy melasma (dark spots on the cheeks, neck, forehead, or chin) can be a tall order. Because hormonal changes cause melasma, it requires an “inside out” treatment approach.
While there’s no guaranteed way to prevent melasma, you can minimize flare-ups by focusing on sun protection. UV exposure makes melasma patches darker, so be sure to wear sunscreen daily. SPF between 50 and 60 will provide the most production.
In addition to protecting yourself from the sun, plant-based products containing Vitamin C, arbutin, soybean extract, licorice extract, or glycolic acid can be helpful. We recommend our Glycolic Treatment, which is packed with alpha-hydroxy acids that help even skin tone by bringing newer skin cells to the surface.
4. For Rashes and Irritation: Try Oatmeal
If you expected that elusive glow throughout your pregnancy, you might be a little surprised when what you encounter is itchy, rashy skin.
One of the most common conditions women develop during pregnancy is called Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy, or PUPP. PUPP affects about 1 out of every 130 pregnant women, and typically appears on the stomach (frequently near stretch marks). It may also flare up on the arms, legs, and buttocks.
While PUPP isn’t dangerous to your developing baby, it is uncomfortable. To get some relief, try our Oatmeal Complexion Bar, followed by Organic Rose Water as an after-shower treatment, both of which can help calm skin.
5. For Breakouts: Try Hemp Oil
If you thought your days of breaking out ended when you were 17, think again. Many women experience acne flare-ups during pregnancy. While acne is most common during the first and second trimesters, it can occur at any time.
The cause? An increase in hormones known as androgens. These cause the skin to produce more oil, which clogs pores and leads to inflammation and breakouts.
When it comes to treating pregnancy-induced acne, don’t turn to harsh ingredients, as they’ll only dry skin out and make acne worse. Instead, use an ingredient like hemp oil, which moisturizes without clogging pores. We recommend the Gypsy Cream from The Good Stuff Botanicals. It’s great for all sorts of skin ailments and will soothe irritated and acne-prone skin.
Natural Ingredients are Your Best Skincare Weapon
Pregnancy is a dynamic time, and a lot happens to your skin and body in those ten months. Fortunately, skincare for pregnancy doesn’t have to be hard. Today, there are dozens of high-quality, plant-based formulas out there that are both effective and gentle on pregnant skin.
Give the products mentioned in this post a try or shop our extensive selection of natural and organic skincare products to find the formulas that can help you stay comfortable and feel confident throughout all 40 weeks.
Bubble bath has a dirty little secret. Many brands hide irritants, toxins, and harsh chemicals that most of us wouldn’t choose to put on our skin. Unless you’re reading labels closely, it’s easy to miss these nasty additives. To keep your skin happy and make your home a healthier place, avoid these toxic ingredients next time you choose a bubble bath:
What they are: Parabens are preservatives used in the cosmetics industry. Companies add them to their cosmetics to keep products fresh, germ-free, and shelf-stable.
Why avoid them: Parabens are a powerful hormone disruptor known to mimic estrogen in the human body. One 2004 study found high concentrations of parabens in breast cancer tissue taken from adult women. These preservatives are particularly common in the cosmetics and personal care industry, so be sure to check your labels before you invest in a new product.
What it is: Most of us know gluten as the ingredient that makes bread so delicious or puts the “sticky” in sticky rice. Did you know that it’s also a popular ingredient in skincare products like bubble bath and lotion, though? Gluten is a protein that occurs naturally in grains like wheat and rye, so products that contain these ingredients or their byproducts will also contain gluten.
Why avoid it: If you have a known sensitivity to gluten, using a product with gluten or gluten byproducts can cause unpleasant skin reactions, like rashes and irritation. Fortunately, gluten-free skincare products are becoming easier to find.
What it is: Alcohols like ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, alcohol denat, and methanol help creams and solutions feel lighter on the skin. They can also work to help ingredients penetrate the skin or to extend the shelf-life of products. While they sound harmless, these alcohols often cause irritation, dryness, and breakouts.
There are also good alcohols in skincare, though. Benzyl Alcohol, for example, is a little different than other “bad” alcohols. While the EU does list this product as a potential allergen, it’s a critical ingredient in organic and natural skincare products because it prevents bacterial development. Benzyl Alcohol occurs naturally in essential oils like Peru Balsam and is an approved preservative under the COSMOS Organic Certification criteria.
Why avoid it: Today, some skincare products contain such high concentrations of “bad” alcohol that they demolish the skin’s natural protective barrier. This makes it difficult for the skin to retain moisture. The stripping nature of alcohol also stimulates excess oil production, which can lead to breakouts. Bottom line: there’s nothing wrong with putting certain alcohols on your skin. You just have to understand the difference between skin-safe and potentially harmful varieties.
What they are: Phthalates are a group of chemicals used in a variety of manufacturing processes – from plastics to skincare products. In most cases, they’re used to keep materials pliable.
Why avoid them: Studies have shown that Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors, widely associated with adverse birth outcomes in pregnant women and reproductive damage in children and men. While research is ongoing, The National Toxicology Program listed Di(2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate (usually known as DEHP) as “anticipated to be a human carcinogen” in last year’s 13th Report on Carcinogens. The danger of Phthalates is so evident that cosmetics companies like Revlon, Unilever, and Johnson & Jonhson have eliminated these chemicals from their products.
Also Watch out for: Sulfates
What they are: Sodium lauryl sulfates are a lesser variety of additives that some people may want to avoid. Potent cleansing agents designed to remove oil and dirt create a rich lather in products like soaps and shampoos, sulfates are a common ingredient in skincare products.
You might want to avoid them, though, if you color your hair since sulfates can strip the dye from your strands prematurely. Studies have also shown they can be irritating to sensitive skin and eyes, as well. If you decide to use a bath product that contains sulfates, avoid soaking dyed hair in the water.
Today, there are about 100 different kinds of sulfates. Some varieties are synthetic, often derived from sulfur- or petroleum-based products, while others occur naturally in substances like coconut oil.
Finding a Clean Product for Your Next Bath
The cosmetics industry has an issue with toxic ingredients, and it can be tough to find clean alternatives that nurture your skin and provide the relaxing experience you’re looking for. Fortunately, Sage & Cedar carries a wide assortment of skin-safe products to choose from.
Our new bubble bath, specifically, is a totally clean product with no sulfates, parabens, gluten, alcohol, or phthalates. Available in four fragrances: Tobacco Amber, Magnolia Sandalwood, Sea Salt, and Coconut Lemongrass, this is one of our favorite new products for body-safe self-care.