That’s right, Vancouver: if you haven’t heard it already, you’re going to hear it now— skin therapy is looking different this October at Facial Expressions.
How? Namely, we’re diverging from the norm and avoiding intensive exfoliation this autumn!
I know, I know; cue the gasps. Avoiding our usual exfoliation focus during October, the start of peak facial peel season? It sounds inconceivable at first because fall is usually the optimal season for skin peels due to the lower UV risk to freshly-peeled skin. But like everything else in this COVID-19 era, skin care this fall is not ‘business as usual’.
Today, Facial Expressions is taking a look into what you need to avoid, what professional treatments are recommended instead, and what facial therapy-related steps you can take at home to keep your skin glowing all autumn long.
Maskne, Skin Rawness, and Irritation: the Root of Avoiding Exfoliation This October
Masks have become a staple over the course of 2020, and “maskne”— a term popularized by various media outlets to describe facial breakouts caused by the friction of frequent mask-wearing, also more formally known as “acne mechanica” in the medical community— has become just as common.
Linked to perioral dermatitis, which is classified as acne around the mouth and nose region, maskne has only become more prevalent as we have A) exited summer and began being indoors more due to cooler and wetter weather and B) started wearing masks for longer periods of time after returning to work and/or school.
So why avoid exfoliation this October? A common misconception I hear from clients during either in-person or online consults is that they believe that frequent physical exfoliation will work to combat maskne… when it is in fact the exact opposite!
In fact, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe puts it well in her quote to CNN:
“Treatment is tricky, experts say. You can’t use powerful products like alpha hydroxy acids, chemical peels or Retin A to blast the acne [resulting from masks] because they will further damage the fragile skin barrier, making it more sensitive to the mask’s irritating effects. If you do use those products you may not have blemishes, but you may end up with patches of eczema, dry patches, stinging, burning, inflammation, all signs of an impaired skin barrier.” Couldn’t agree more, Dr. Bowe!
Facial Expressions’s Non-Negotiable Exfoliation No’s This Fall
To save your skin this autumn, Facial Expressions recommends that you avoid the following:
- Mid-Depth to Deep Peels: In fact, Facial Expressions won’t be offering standard peels this Fall because of the potential damage they could wreak on your skin. Think of it this way— if mask irritation or maskne are already becoming recurring skin concerns for you, having your mask rub and push down on your freshly-peeled skin is a recipe for a skin-disaster. Do yourself a favour and take a break from the usual peels this autumn.
- Home Exfoliating Acids: While your at-home skin care routine should change with the seasons, it’s highly recommended that you lay off the home exfoliating actives (such as glycolic acid) this year. Yes, normally when the weather cools you can take up more active exfoliation in the form of AHAs and BHAs to break through summer build-up, but in this case the combination of mask friction and strong chemical exfoliation will only lead to further skin irritation.
- Scrubs: Although physical scrubs are damaging at the best of times, blending micro-tears from frequent physical scrubs with constant mask wearage is a surefire way to have persistent and painful breakouts this Fall. Bottom line: skip the scrubs!
What to Use Instead for Optimal Facial Therapy
Just because exfoliation should be scaled back this Fall does not mean you have to miss out on the cell-turnover you’re craving.
Instead of weekly (or worse, daily!) exfoliation, Facial Expressions recommends that you opt for a gentle enzyme or rejuvenating sheet mask for enhanced cell-turnover without the irritation.
Pro-tip: Integrating mild enzymes is a fantastic way of incorporating active ingredients into your exfoliation routine without irritating or over-stripping the skin’s natural moisture barrier. Enzymes naturally and gently break down keratin protein, which binds dead skin cells together across the topmost layer of skin, to reveal the soft new skin beneath.
More specifically, opt for one of the at-home skin care products below for professional maskne management:
- The ElaSpa Enzymatic Toner: Infused with gentle grapefruit-and-pineapple derived enzymes, the ElaSpa Enzymatic Toner simplifies toning and extremely gentle exfoliating into one softening and hydrating step. Suitable for daily use on all skin types, including sensitive skin.
- Rhonda Allison’s Derma Peel: a beginner home-strength pineapple and papaya enzyme blend, Derma Peel is a gentle surface-level exfoliant that softly and naturally eliminates build-up. Best buffered with a hydrating serum when used on sensitive skin.
Looking For a Professional Enzyme Treatment Instead?
Reach out today to learn more about the Discover FX Introductory Session, a 90-minute service which includes a thorough, educational consultation plus a bespoke facial therapy session which can be completely customized to address any skin concern.
If your skin is functioning properly this autumn you shouldn’t need the extra help of enzyme peels, so if you feel that you need them be sure to set up time for a professional diagnosis with me first so that you can receive a customized treatment plan for your unique skin.