Three weeks ago Jacinda Ardern told us to stay at home, not to give up on ourselves.
So we've brought onboard Kiwi beauty guru Liam Sharma to dish out advice on "maskne" – the pimples caused by being a good citizen and wearing a mask.
Sharma’s day job - PR for skincare brand Emma Lewisham - took him to Sydney a few months ago. And we all know how NSW is going with its Delta outbreak, so he has the legs up on the rest of us on how to get the best of your skin in these trying times.
He's has been a passionate beauty blogger for years, so he knows his stuff about all the stuff you put on your face.
Here’s the tea on how to deal with the spots that have made an unwanted appearance.
Why are we getting them?
The reason we are getting them is because when you are wearing a mask, it’s trapping in the moisture and sweat your body produces, Sharma says.
The gunk in that might not be visible to the naked eye, but it’s there and the mask is holding it all in.
Masks create a perfect environment for breeding bacteria.
So what can you do to avoid maskne?
Cleanse. If you don’t already, cleanse twice a day, and keep your cleansing routine out of your shower, Sharma instructs. It’s too hot in there and it dries out the dermis, he says. He likens it to when you have a hot shower in winter and then get out.
"Can you imagine what happens to your face? It's not right, so washing your face at night and make sure you are doing it with lukewarm water."
The best cleanser to use depends on your skin. If you haven’t yet got breakouts or it’s minimal, an oil-based cleanser can be good as it keeps moisture in the skin.
But if the face is making a lot of oil, then it’s time to use one sans oil.
Then you need to think about other products to trap in the moisture, such as hyaluronic acid. He recommends The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid. It’s cheap and effective - and assists in ensuring the skin is hydrated.
Then you need to exfoliate to get rid of the dead skin cells.
"That will help any blockage or build-up. Get rid of it. There’s quite a few different brands that do amazing exfoliants."
His pick - Dr Dennis Gross Universal Two-Step Peel.
After that, Sharma says you should use either a barrier cream or moisturiser. Sharma recommends a barrier cream with ceramides in it as it will keep moisturising your skin for 72 hours.
What not to do
Now is the time to avoid the active ingredients like retinol. Your skin is under enough stress from the masks and your mental state, and spending so much time indoors, you don’t need to make it work overtime by plying on things like retinol, Sharma says.
"With this unknown obstacle always on its face. So, if you’re using lots of AHA and BHAs, it’s just going to stress your skin out even more."
How often do we need to change or wash our masks?
Think about how often you wash your pillowcases, Sharma says.
"Me personally, I change my pillowcases twice a week. I also respect that some people don’t have that amount of time. It’s a luxury. So, just change it once a week. You should definitely change your mask."
That is unless they get dirty – then wash them straight away as the gunk will be soaked up by your skin.
It will all float around. If you are using disposable masks, then change every couple of days at the maximum.
Should we wear makeup?
If necessary, just on the parts of the face that aren’t covered by a mask. But why wear makeup? Just get your skin to glow up. If you can get your skin looking great, why bother with makeup, he says.
It’s only going to add to the congestion for your pores, and why not give them a break?
"I feel like the new thing is maybe look for glow ingredients. Like, just up your skincare game and apply vitamin C and serums that will really give you that glow. We’re over makeup."
Any other tips?
Look after your lips. Apply balm liberally, Sharma says. Your lips are going to dry out under the mask. He uses MILK which markets itself as a night-time mask.
"I love it. Only thing is that it’s not an overnight mask for me. It’s an everyday thing."
And finally, it’s coming into summer, so remember your sunscreen with both UVA/UVB full spectrum to avoid getting sunburnt.
Put it on as the last step before you put your mask on. Apply liberally, and stop the premature ageing.