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How to Save Your Skin During Covid


Article by Lauren Wilson-Policke

Photography by Getty Images

With most of us working and quarantining at home, our morning makeup routine has become, well, pretty much non-existent. You’d think that by taking a much-needed breather, our skin would be *flawless*, so what gives? As if pandemic related stress breakouts weren’t enough, many of us are struggling with ‘maskne’- a term coined for the acne and irritation around the nose and mouth caused by wearing a mask. Now of course, wearing a mask is a non-negotiable so I sat down with Skincare Expert, Lead Esthetician and Owner of La Belle Vie Salon and Spa in Bloomfield, NJ, Nonna Pekarev to find out her insider tips on caring for your skin during Covid-19.

If opting to wear a fabric mask Pekarev stresses the importance of a clean, comfortable, germ-free mask. Although there is a variety of on-trend mask options in interesting fabrics and dyes available to us, you should ensure that the fabric itself is not irritating to your skin. Pekarev recommends washing your mask everyday to ensure you aren’t putting dirt and germs back onto a clean face. She also suggests taking a careful look at what you are washing your masks with. “Many of us are using the same detergent to wash our masks as we do our clothes and the skin on our face is just not use to that. The detergent should be fragrance and dye free to avoid any type of reaction.” If you are still having problems, she suggests wearing a disposable mask that you toss after each wear.

Despite the fabric composition of the masks and the detergent that we are washing them with, pores clogged with dirt and oil are typically the culprit of breakouts. Wearing a mask and breathing into it for hours on end can create a hot, humid and dirty environment for your skin. Pekarev suggests that those of us with acne prone skin and who are required to wear a mask for extended periods of time, find a safe place where they can remove their mask every 2 hours and wipe away the sweat around the mouth and nose with a facial tissue to ensure the skin is dry and clean. Speaking of clean skin, she strongly recommends that you avoid wearing makeup under a mask. Makeup creates an extra layer of dirt and the warm, often sweaty environment underneath the mask encourages this dirt to go deep into the pores creating a whole set of issues. This skincare professional looks to PH balance cleansers that are non-comedogenic to help remove oil, dirt and bacteria before putting on the mask. “Although the cold weather may be drying out your skin, it’s important to avoid heavy facial creams and to ensure that the creams you do use are fully penetrated into your skin before you put on a mask. I always recommend my clients use a dime size amount of facial cream, it’s all you need.”

Another great piece of advice I took from my conversation with Nonna, in addition to “never touch your face!” was to never use your bath towel to dry your face. She explains how our bath towels are typically still moist after a shower, sit on the back of our bathroom doors, and collect germs from the traffic in and out of the space. Her solution? “Use a paper towel to dry your face. Always pat, never rub.”

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For deeper cleaning, personal advice and custom solutions Pekarev recommends visiting a skincare professional. But in the meantime, she offered up 3 amazing mask recipes for the fall/winter season that we can make with common ingredients found in our home.

A mask to help with dirty, greasy, oily skin and enlarged pores:

Take the juice of an organic grapefruit or lemon and mix with 2 teaspoons of local honey. Let the mixture sit on your face for 10 minutes and then rinse with cool water. Pat dry.

To tighten skin and shrink pores:

Take 2 tablespoons of oatmeal and mix with 1 tablespoon of milk. In a separate bowl whisk 1 organic egg white and then pour into oatmeal and milk mixture. Place on skin for 20 minutes. Rinse with cool water and pat dry.

For universally sensitive skin:

Mash 1 ripe banana with a fork and mix in 1 egg yolk. Place on skin for 15-20 minutes and rinse with cool water. Pat dry.

For more skincare tips follow Nonna at La Belle Vie Salon and Spa on Instagram.