Avoid the perils of humidity and mask-wearing with our round-up of skincare essentials
This article originally featured in the October 2020 issue of Connect.
by Shannon Stocker (Incoming JET)
As we adjust to wearing masks more often in the inevitable stickiness that comes with the end of summer, our skin is confronting a losing battle to stay spot-free and glowing. If you’re like me, and love to keep your skin fresh and clean, you might be feeling helpless as to how to treat your skin right about now. It’s a sweaty time of year, and wearing a mask is only making us even hotter (not in a good way, sadly). With my lack of experience in humid climates, I turned to my friends for some skincare advice. Here’s what they suggested. . .
Let’s start with the obvious. Drink water—at least three litres a day, to be exact. Trust me, your skin will thank you. Drinking water has a variety of benefits attributed to it, from improving skin tone and preventing premature aging to reducing puffiness and preventing acne. I have long been awful at remembering to drink water, but my friends and family are constantly reminding me of how beneficial it will be for my skin. Over the past few months I have stuck to their advice, and the difference has been noticeable! So, fill up your water bottle or pick up a bottle of I Lohas at the conbini throughout the day. Set a notification on your phone or download Plant Nanny from the Apple App Store to track your intake.
A good face wash is a must-have, regardless of the weather. Having never picked up a face wash in Japan, I turned to my friend Catherine, who lived in Japan for two years, for some advice. She suggested Dove Foaming Face Wash, and it seems to be the perfect option for the summer. Its frothy formula is perfect for removing sweat and stickiness from your skin, with added hydration for that summer dewiness. This Dove face wash even has some variants for acne sufferers and those with sensitive skin. Other great options that have been suggested to me are Bifesta Moist Foaming Whip and Ettusais Foamy Rich Mousse; both great for cleaning sweat-drenched skin and hydrating irritated mask chaffing.
Don’t add more oil that you need to when you’re already sweating under the summer sun. This one was a new lesson for me. Being from the UK, SPF isn’t really a necessity any time of the year (we only tend to get two weeks of sunshine per year, if we’re lucky!) so I wasn’t even sure what my options were. After a few chats with friends on the subject, I’ve got three options on my wishlist:
Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen SPF50+
Apparently, this sunscreen is the one on everybody’s lips. This is a cult favourite formula that is lightweight, smells amazing and contains hyaluronic acid (which will speed up the healing of any blemishes or mask chaffing).
Waterproof Baby Milk by Pigeon
I read about this one online, though marketing toward babies and toddlers, this formula is a perfect option for humid, mask-wearing days with its ability to withstand water and sweat. It’s delicate enough to be worn under your mask without contributing to clogged pores.
Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector SPF42 Sunscreen
Though a slightly more expensive option, this is great for those of you who like to invest in their skincare regime. This is a water resistant formula that protects against pollutants.
Mists are life saving product for when your mask starts feeling like a small sauna attached to your face. I am a long-time buyer of LUSH toners. Get one that comes in a spray bottle, like Tea Tree Water or Breath of Fresh Air, pop it in the fridge and spritz over your face throughout the day. Other recommendations include cooling sheets by Gatsby or Uno. They work to remove oil and cool you down by a few degrees—I can’t wait to try them!
This one is something I discovered on my first ever trip to Japan, when I was hoarding skincare products from every cosmetic store I saw. Ettusais Peeling Milk is a miraculous product for those of us with dry skin, but it is also great for any skin type that has been exposed to pore-clogging pollutants or the consistent rubbing of a mask. It is a mildly acidic formula that gently rubs away dull, textured cells from the surface of your skin. All you need to do is apply a small amount onto a clean, dry face and rub in circular motions until you feel tiny clumps all over your face (that’s your dead skin!). I find it’s much calmer on my face than an exfoliator and it does a far better job at removing dead skin cells to give me a real, juicy glow. Everyone I’ve recommended this product to has become a peeling milk convert. It comes in fragrance free and alcohol-free variants, for those of you who have special skincare requirements. Use it once or twice a week for a refreshed, poreless look!
Photos: Marie Veronique (CC), pikisuperstar, Aaron Burden (Unsplash.com)
If you’ve been looking for some tips to surviving the humidity while wearing a mask, try these out and let me know what you think at email@example.com.
This article was put together by Shannon, our Fashion and Beauty Editor, with a little help from her friends. Thank you to those who contributed their suggestions. Shannon has just graduated from Central Saint Martins in London, UK and currently lives in Liverpool. She will be moving to Japan to work as an Assistant Language Teacher soon.