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Mask-acne… it’s a thing

Amy Reidhead
Masks are now the new hot accessories but wearing a mask for hours a day can block the pores of your skin and put you at risk of developing acne. As healthcare providers, we know the best way to treat acne is to prevent it before it happens.
 
So, since mask wearing is not likely to go away for a while, it seems important to figure out how to best protect our faces and stop the pimples that masks can cause.
 
So what causes acne?
Acne and pimples are caused by a number of things including the health of your pores and how much oil and keratin they produce, your hormone balance and the health of your gut. The bacteria that live on our skin can also play a significant part in the development of acne.  
 
Inflammation is also a key player in the development of pimples. Our skin is a direct reflection of the foods you feed it; the more inflammatory foods you eat, the more likely you will have skin issues.
 
Did you know your skin is a detox organ?
Our bodies have six organs of detox: the lungs, liver, lymph, kidneys, large intestines and the skin. Our skin is our biggest organ of elimination, working with the other organs of detox to remove waste from the blood and the body. When there is congestion in the other organs of detox, the skin tries to pick up the slack by pushing toxins out through our pores. In fact our skin can push out as much as 2 pounds of toxic waste a day through our sweat!
 
What are some simple things you can do to help prevent acne:
  • Wash you face mask after wearing using a non-toxic soap or detergent.
  • Keep your mask dry. Moisture builds up behind the mask making it a total breeding ground for bacteria, so if you talk a lot with a mask on, you may want to change it often during the day.
  • Wearing masks made of natural fibers can help. Masks made of silk are less likely to cause pimples.
  • Ditch gluten: Gluten is inflammatory in everyone, so stopping gluten can reduce inflammation in the body, protect the gut and stop more toxins from leaking into the blood stream.
  • Stop eating dairy. The consumption of cow dairy has long been associated with acne. Cow dairy is NOT a health food, it is full of hormones which may contribute to acne and is very inflammatory in the body.
  • Kick the sugar and processed food habit. Both sugar and highly processed foods have been shown to make many skin conditions worse, including premature aging.
  • Drink water!
Natural skin solutions
Wash your face with non-toxic cleansers. I like Tata Harper skin care for clean beauty products and moisturizers for the skin. Their products are organic, clean and smell amazing without added fragrance. For blemish prone skin I recommend using Tata Harper Clarifying Cleanser or Zyderma Gentle Foaming Cleanser that cleans skin without stripping away our skin’s natural barrier. 
 
Gentle exfoliation 1-2 times a week. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells that contribute to blocked pores and lead to more outbreaks. Try to pick products that contain natural enzymes, BHA and salicylic acid.
 
 
Moisturize you skin. Dry skin as well as oily skin can lead to more acne prone skin. Find a clean moisturizer that matches your skin type.
 
Support your skin’s microbiome. You can help restore the skins moisture barrier and microbiome with topical products like Biossense Squalene+Probiotic Gel that soothes red skin and may help to balance the skins natural protective flora.
 
Topical things that can help with blemishes: Look for products that contain niacinamide and zinc as they can help balance oil production and reduce redness. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10%, Zinc 1%
 
For super dry skin: The Ordinary HA 2% + B5 has hyaluronic acid to help lock in skin’s natural moisture.
 
To help with Skin repairThe Ordinary Buffet +Copper Peptides may help repair skin and prevent scarring.
 
I want end by saying that I have no affiliation with any of these products or their makers; they are just products I have used personally and find useful. I also like Beauty Counter and Goop to shop clean body and beauty products. There are others. Shop around and find what works for you and your budget.
 
Although the products I mentioned in this blog are largely geared toward the ladies (don’t worry guys, you can use clean skincare too!), men can suffer with acne too. No matter who the patient is, the principles of functional medicine apply to anyone suffering from acne.
 
Always start your detox routine by eliminating inflammatory foods, clean up your household cleaning and beauty products and get the organs of elimination working.
 
Supplements that support great looking skin include:
  • High dose probiotics rebalance the gut microbiome: pick ones with 225, 350, or 500 billion CFU
  • Fish Oils and Evening Primrose Oil are anti-inflammatory and support cell structure and barrier function
  • Vitamin E fights off free radicals and helps to protect the skin
  • Vitamin D helps heal tissues
  • Methylated B vitamins help support detoxification pathways, protecting the skin from hormones that can make acne worse
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