Constellations of mysterious acne have sprouted on my face since the onset of the pandemic, even when I avoid stepping out of my house and only had to wear a potentially irritating face mask for a grand total of two times.
“The recent pandemic has brought a lot of stress for everyone on so many levels. Stress, as you know, can stimulate pro-inflammatory hormones like cortisol and prostaglandins. These hormones are key to the main pathogenesis of acne,” Dr. Windie Villarica, managing director at The Skin Inc., said while dispelling my concerns.
This acne is not to be confused with what is now being called “mascne,” says Dr. Villarica. “Acne mechanica operates on the premise that there is something constantly rubbing or sealing acne prone areas.”
As for the stress-related acne, being “chill” during a crisis where we’re all just trying to survive is next to impossible, so she suggests the next best thing: “An effective acne regimen with Alpha-Hydroxy Acids, Beta-Hydroxy Acids and retinoids are still great ways to treat and prevent all forms of acne.”
When it comes to fighting acne, pore-clearing, irritation-soothing salicylic acid, a BHA, and benzoyl peroxide, a topical antibacterial agent, as well as the retinoid adaplene, are skincare superstars, from drugstore to over-the-counter. (Dr. Villarica has put me on the miraculous Epiduo, which is benzoyl peroxide and adaplene combined.) AHAs like glycolic, malic and lactic acid unglue dead skin cells from each other to stimulate renewal.
“In these circumstances, it may be almost impossible for some people to do so and having a skincare regimen — and sticking to it — is the best way to deal with it. You can find a lot of these options in pharmacies,” she says. “It’s very hot here and the humidity makes these worse so stick to gel or lotions. It is still important to hydrate the skin because an intact barrier prevents infection and irritation as well.”
Preventing it from even happening in the first place can also prevent mascne. “Patients that already have acne will probably suffer more from acne mechanica because regularly sealing areas with lesions can induce new inflammation and exacerbate existing acne,” she says. “People are generally not used to wearing masks for prolonged periods of time but nowadays it is mandatory to wear them when we go out.”
So Dr. Villarica implores, “Don’t neglect your skin. It is still your best protection from disease. There are other things out there aside from COVID-19.”
Here are the products I used on my journey to treat my lockdown acne.
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The Skin Inc. Dermatology and Laser Center is by appointment only at Tritan Plaza, Paseo de Magallanes, Makati. Contact Lori at (0917) 841 5014.
Chemical vs mineral sunscreen?
The new Cetaphil Sun SPF50+ Light Gel sunscreen features both mineral and chemical sunscreens. Titanium Dioxide is a physical sunblock, while octinoxate, which absorbs UVB, and Bisoctrizole, a new-generation hybrid UV filter that both reflects and absorbs, are both chemical sunscreens. It’s a necessary mix because physical sunblock is what blocks UVA, the more harmful ray that penetrates the skin deeper and ages you faster — albeit usually creating a white cast — while chemical sunscreens scatter and absorb the UVA. Cetaphil Sun gets rid of the dreaded white cast associated with physical sun protection because Titanium Dioxide is used in its nano form, as well as Bisoctrizole. Silicone in the form of Dimethicone makes for a creamy and smooth texture that doesn’t disturb your makeup, but this might be something to watch out for, for those who might be sensitive to it. Like all Cetaphil products, it’s free of fragrance and parabens and also non-comedogenic.
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Shop it online at Watsons, Lazada, Shopee, and BeautyMNL for P795
A new skin antioxidant
Known for its vitamin E supplements, Myra has released an anti-aging variant Ultimate, combining a smaller dose of vitamin E with Lycopene and a breakthrough ingredient, Astaxanthin. Like Lycopene, the antioxidant is a carotenoid pigment, found in food like salmon, crabs, shrimp and krill, giving them their red hue. On humans, it acts as a radiation shield to block harmful UV rays and minimizes moisture loss, the body’s inflammatory response to excessive sun exposure. It also promotes better blood flow, delivering essential nourishment to skin cells and accelerates repair. The brand recommends it for users aged 30 and above to prevent signs of skin aging like fine lines as well as the dark spots you might get after an acne breakout.
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Myra Ultimate is sold at P540 for a box of 30 at Lazada.
Pat, pat, pat on that moisture
Doctor’s orders: Stick to gel or lotion. Hada Labo has both. Their Gokujyun Hydrating Lotion is a cult favorite for a reason. It’s the No. 1 facial lotion in Japan for 13 consecutive years and one of the top three drugstore skincare brands in Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. It is even more amazing under a hot, bothersome face mask because it’s just so light and fast-absorbing. The secret is its four types of Hyaluronic Acid that strengthen the skin’s barrier and maximize moisture retention. The Japanese brand’s Philippine range has since expanded with a Deep Clean & Pore Refining Face Wash enriched with Japanese green tea extract.
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Shop Hada Labo online at watsons.com.ph, the Watsons channel in Lazada and The SM Store’s channels in Lazada and Shopee.
Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com