My acne is so bad because of masks. How can I clear it up?

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Group Chat is In The Know’s advice column, where our editors respond to your questions about dating, friendships, family, social media, wellness, shopping, beauty and beyond. Have a question for the chat? Submit it here and we’ll do our best to reply.

Dear Group Chat,

My skin has been breaking out so much over the past year. (Thanks, masks.) What acne products do you swear by to prevent breakouts and to keep your skin clear?

Sincerely, Mad Maskne

Dear Mad Maskne,

Taylor Bell, who loves CeraVe even if she can’t pronounce it, says: “There’s a lot of hype around this CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser, and for good reason — it works. I’m a minimalist when it comes to my skin care routine, and this is the only cleanser I trust to support my acne-prone skin. It’s super nourishing and gentle on the skin. The creamy texture also feels really cool and leaves my skin feeling incredibly hydrated. Overall, it’s great for dry skin and anyone who needs a reliable cleanser.”

Credit: Amazon

Julia Webb, who believes a lot of patience and a clean pillowcase are the keys to clear skin, says: Acne flare-ups are never fun, and face masks can definitely be the culprit behind your current breakouts. My first tip would be to make sure that you’re only wearing clean masks! Whether that means buying more fabric masks, so you have to wash them less frequently or opting for disposable masks – wearing dirty masks over your skin for long periods of time is not going to help the situation.

After that, try to be gentle on yourself and your skin. I’d recommend trying out a spot treatment to keep your breakouts in check (I love this Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment from the drugstore) and using a non-drying cleanser once or twice a day. Pimple patches are also one of my go-to products for healing acne spots quickly and gently — these Mighty Patches practically invisible on the skin. And, as always, try to keep your hands off of your face. Good luck!

Credit: Amazon

Madison Alcedo, who believes she’s finally found the secret recipe to keeping acne at bay, says: Rule No. 1 is: Don’t touch your face. My mom instilled this in me starting in junior high, and it’s just so true. You don’t want all the dirt and grime from your hands on your face; that’s the biggest no-no.

When it comes to products, clear, acne-free skin in my book starts with a good skincare routine that you don’t skip. Yes, there are a million products out there, so finding something that works for you is hard. But I finally found a cleanser that I love! It’s Dermalogica’s Special Cleansing Gel. It’s made by the International Dermal Institute, so you know it has to be legit, and it has the perfect gel-to-cream texture that only requires a small amount — one bottle will last you a long time. 

But one of the most important steps I swear by is first creating a clean slate on your face by using Burt’s Bees Cleansing Sensitive Skin Towelettes to wipe off the day. You don’t want to cleanse your face with makeup on top! 

For when I have annoying acne flare-ups, Hero Cosmetics’ Mighty Patch Pimple Patches are the only pimple patches I’ve found to work — and I’ve tested dozens, trust me. 

And while picked-at pimples are healing, I like to call this the Neosporin for your face. Hero Cosmetics Rescue Balm helps heal your blemishes faster. In just a few days, you won’t even remember you had a pimple!

Credit: Sephora and Amazon

Alan Lewin, who thinks there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to clear skin, says: Everyone’s skin is different. Because of this, we all have different needs when it comes to skin care. Universally though, the most important thing is the routine! You’ve got to stick to your routine once you find one that works for you. Skin care is all about the long game rather than quick results! These days, we are introducing a new culprit to acne – masks. It’s important to choose a clean mask that sits off your skin as much as possible. These KF94 masks are comfortable, well-fitting and keep the material off of your cheeks!

Credit: Amazon

Katie Mather, who sings “I’m breaking out” to the tune of “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross on a regular basis, says: My skin is so sensitive. If I so much as give her a weird look in a mirror, she will absolutely freak out. My advice is to drink lots of water, cut out dairy and sugar, stop drinking — LOL, could you imagine? No, that’s the worst advice on the planet.

My saving graces during this time have been Tower 28 Beauty’s SOS Spray and pimple patches. Not to be all, “I listened to this band before everyone else,” but I was wearing pimple patches in public before people started wearing them under their masks.

Tower 28’s spray was specifically designed for angry, stressed-out skin (which actually describes both my personality and my face), so I like to use it as a buffer between my skin and mask. As for pimple patches, there are three that I am obsessed with: Peach Slices Deep Blemish Microdarts for special occasions, COSRX pimple patches (I’ve found that, in the right lighting, these will not show up on your Zoom calls, so I wear them all day) and Dr. Zap’s pimple patches, which has tea tree oil in them.

Now my skin is perfect! JK! But these little guys help keep my skin in check for the time being — and the fact that I never leave my apartment.

Credit: Amazon, Tower 28 and Peach & Lily

TL;DR: CeraVe is pronounced seh·ruh·vee. The more you know! 🌈⭐️

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