Spreading Clean Beauty

Why ‘maskne’ demands a new breed of acne-safe products

COVID-19 has reinforced the importance of healthcare. During the pandemic, we have seen a rise in anti-bacterial and sanitary ‘touchless’ products that focus on protective attributes. These include single-use masks, microbiome-supporting acne-safe products, and blue light protecting creams, as people spend more time on digital devices.

However, healthcare doesn’t only have a medical dimension; it is also about mental health and overall well-being. Considering the parallel emotional toll of the pandemic, consumers are also looking for comforting self-care products. For example, in the UK, 49% of under-25s felt stressed or anxious at least three times a week pre-COVID-19. During the pandemic, this statistic has only risen (Mintel, 2020).

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Therefore, we need products that support both physical and emotional health. This is particularly in regard to acne-safe products, which have always sat at the intersection of mental well-being and treatment for a physical condition – particularly amongst young consumers who are facing new emotional stresses.

The physical and emotional stressors of the global pandemic

As we all know too well, the pandemic has been a source of stress for people all over the world. Stress often has physical manifestations, such as tiredness, muscle tension, and skin complaints. With the added material stressors of mask usage, many people are seeing their stress-related pathologies increase.

One particular phenomenon is ‘maskne’. Even people that don’t suffer from acne under normal circumstances may find that prolonged mask usage triggers breakouts. This so-called maskne is in fact acne mechanica, a skin condition caused by facial protective equipment that imposes heat, friction, and occlusion on the skin when combined with a moist environment.

On top of stress, breakouts can become particularly severe. This causes a cycle of mental and physical stress, where sufferers’ emotional well-being is compromised by the appearance of blemishes. For young people, this is a particular issue: in the US, 43% of Gen Z consumers reported feeling stressed and anxious in 2018, so promoting skin positivity and calming treatments is essential (Mintel, 2018).

Acne-safe products for the pandemic moment

During the pandemic, many consumers are turning to beauty to relax and unwind. Right now, 46% of Brazilians show interest in facial/body care products that contain ingredients that help them relax or sleep (Mintel, 2020). Considering that acne can be a manifestation of both physical and emotional stress, creating acne-safe products is essential.

However, there is a catch when it comes to treating maskne; often, traditional acne treatments such as retinoids or acids can exacerbate the symptoms of acne mechanica. Thus beauty brands need to take a different approach – however, under the conditions, this is more of an opportunity than a challenge.

As concerns around product safety grow, consumers are looking for natural products. Right now, many European women believe natural ingredients are safer for them and the environment. In the US, 47% of women who use beauty products also perceive natural ingredients to be safer (Mintel, 2020). With the added benefit of the sustainability feel-good factor, this approach addresses the demand for holistic care and product safety.

Gentle, natural treatments for acne

Considering these market dynamics, developing natural, safe acne treatments should be a priority for skin care brands. This is not only to meet the demands of an existing consumer base that require acne treatments; it’s also to meet the novel needs of people that are suffering from maskne during the pandemic. These products should provide gentle cleansing, light-weight moisturization, and strengthen the skin barrier and microbiome.

Always aware of the importance of safe, gentle, and natural ingredients, Provital developed Trikenol Plus™. A synergistic blend of two plant-based ingredients, enriched with salicylic derivatives to provide natural anti-acne activity, Trikenol Plus™ has anti-inflammatory action with antimicrobial activity. Meanwhile, this willow extract moisturizes and calms the skin, providing a gentle solution for acne sufferers. With the added benefits of sustainably sourced raw materials, Trikenol Plus™ is the feel-good ingredient for the pandemic.

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