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If you’re like me and summer break was the perfect time to relax, destress, and calm down your stress prone skin, you might still be looking for that clear complexion, but for a whole different reason. It seems the school year takes its toll on every students’ skin with stress pimples and dark bags under our eyes becoming the norm. As summer break rolled around, I reveled in the fact that my skin would finally clear up and the stress pimples would be banished from my skin for a few months, but 2020 had a different plan. Ever since, I’ve been searching for better skincare products and following a better self-care routine to try to eliminate and minimize the number of pimples my sweaty fabric mask is creating. Recently, I finally decided to sit down and do the research to see if my skincare routine matches up.

 

Facial Cleanser + Exfoliant

At this point, you know the drill. Exfoliating dead skin cells and cleansing your face is a must do requirement every adult has to do. Much like how washing your hands helps prevent from contracting COVID-19, having a clean face helps prevent those nasty pimples from multiplying on your face. Plus, if you work in the food industry like me, you know how hot kitchens can get…and you know how hot and sweaty your mask can get after a nine-hour shift. That grimy, sticky feeling on your skin is never fun, especially when it’s your face. According to Clean and Clear, “[Fabric] masks are trapping dirt, oil, sweat, and makeup in your pores.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I can guarantee you my mask is NOT trapping makeup under it…what even is makeup anymore? Does anyone know? Haven’t seen her in a while. Besides the fact, now that more and more states are mandating masks (and we all know New York has been on this trend for a while now), the more dirt and grim we’re trapping in direct contact with our skin, which – as you know – is the root cause of maskne. This is why cleansing your face is important, but don’t over cleanse it! Over-cleansing will strip your skin of its natural oils, which dries out the skin.

Personally, I used Clean and Clear’s Deep Clean Cream Cleanser and their Blackhead Eraser exfoliant, which you can get at Target for $4.99 and $5.99 respectively. Both of these products have Salicylic Acid in it, which helps exfoliate and clear away dead skin cells. My skin has cleared up a lot since using both of these together. Exfoliate, then cleanse. Name a better duo.

If you want to cleanse your face every time you take your mask off, try a gentle cleansing wipe instead of the harsher creams and exfoliants. I recommend using the cleansers twice a day, and wipes every other time, if you need to.

Moisturizer

Seeing a trend here? Caring for maskne is a lot like caring for you skin every other day, but these products do more than what you think they do.

A good moisturizer is something to spend good money on. I’m all for buying inexpensive products (Clean and Clear, as you’ve seen above), but certain steps of your beauty routine should not be what you picked up for $5 at Walmart. Your moisturizers are one of them.

Not only should your moisturizer add back, duh, moisture into your skin after you cleanse the day’s or night’s worth of dirt and oil from your skin, but it also creates a barrier between your skin and your mask. According to Clean and Clear, “[Moisturizer] is basically [your] first line of defense. Moisturizer doesn’t just leave skin feeling smooth and soft, but acts as a [little] barrier between [your] skin and mask too.” Instead of your mask coming in direct contact with your skin, it now has a thin layer of moisturizer (and other products, depending on your routine) between you and it. It has to break down your moisturizer before it can touch your skin.

I personally recommend Origins Ginzing Oil-Free Energy Boosting Gel Moisturizer for $30 on their website. If you’re not James Charles and do not like the dewy look, for a more lightweight all-day use moisturizer, I recommend Bliss Drench & Quench Cream-to-Water Hydrator for $19.99 at Target. It’s cheaper than Origins, and I use this in the morning after washing my face because it’s lightweight and doesn’t cause your skin to look glowy. It’s a cream to water, which leaves your skin feeling super hydrated for the day without the weight of a heavier cream. On the other hand, Origins Ginzing Moisturizer is my ride or die. I like to use this heavier cream at night to feel replenished when I wake up. Plus, since Bliss is cheaper than Origins, you can reapply it throughout the day after wiping your face when you take your mask off and let the Origins do all the heavy lifting while you sleep!

Other good ingredients to look for in your moisturizer are: hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, glycerin, propylene glycol, proteins, urea, lanolin, mineral oil, and petrolatum jelly.

Serums (a.k.a. The Acids)

Does applying acid to your face sound inviting? Probably not, but trust me, it’s good for your skin!

Hyaluronic acid is big this year, and for good reasons! Hyaluronic acid holds in water to keep your skin feeling hydrated and plump. According to Harper’s Bazaar, Hyaluronic acid can hold a thousand times it’s weight in water. This prevents the evaporation of water from our pores, which locks in moisture and blocks out pimples.

Another good acid to add to your skincare routine is Glycolic acid. According to Elle, “Glycolic acid is one of those miracle ingredients for brighter, more radiant complexion.” Who doesn’t want that? It’s a chemical exfoliant that, when used correctly, can be a great gentle exfoliant, despite how potent it is. Dr. Carmen Castilla of Tribeca Skin Center says to avoid the glycolic scrubs and stick to the creams. The scrubs are too abrasive to the skin since glycolic is such a superpower.

Want great day and nighttime serums? My sister swears by this duo made by Bliss: Glow and Hydrate Day Serum (it contains hyaluronic acid), $22, and the Renew and Smooth Night Serum (contains Glycolic acid), $25.

Another serum I swear by is Vitamin C and Collagen. Bliss makes a serum in as part of the Bright Idea Collection. The Bright Idea Serum retails for $27, and it truly changed my life. Vitamin C firms your skin and diminishes dark spots, while collagen helps with elasticity and wrinkles, and can help heal acne and eczema.

Pimple Cream

I’ve been searching for a good pimple cream for a while, and I’ve discovered (although have not tried…next Target run, though) that Benzoyl Peroxide is the king ingredient to help eliminate pimples. According to Clean and Clear, “Benzoyl Peroxide is great for acne…[as it] penetrates deep in your pores to kill acne-causing bacteria.” Teen Vogue further explains, that instead of just slowing the growth, Benzoyl Peroxide kills bacteria, which helps prevent blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples.

Another tried and true for me is Tea Tree Oil. You can get it at The Body Shop for $10, and this oil is used to reduce the size of pimples. I didn’t believe it either until I tried it, but trust me, overnight you’ll see a difference in the size of your pimples!

Despite how annoying maskne can be, let this be a time to truly redefine your skincare routine. For some of us, we might have slacked in our skincare routines due to being busy or stressed, but that’s when it’s the most important to follow. Don’t let maskne get you down, but rather reenergize yourself to kick acne’s butt with a bomb ass skincare routine with your newfound knowledge of all the good shit you should be putting on your face!

Alyssa Guzman is a Senior at Siena College, and is the Editor-in-Chief for Her Campus Siena. She is currently Double Majoring in English and Communications Journalism with a minor in Writing and Communications. She hopes to one day be a New York Times Bestselling Author in Fiction, but plans on starting in the journalism world with dreams of writing for Cosmopolitan or the New York Times. In her free time, she enjoys fashion, writing, and listening to the newest Taylor Swift release. 
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