BODY: How to Treat “Maskne”

This year has turned the concept of “normal” on its head. As we continue to practice social distancing, face masks have become the norm as countries around the world implement regulations to slow the spread of Co-Vid 19. The World Health Organization has officially recommended face coverings to assist in slowing the spread of the virus.

The more use our masks get, especially in a hot and humid climate, the more it will become a conductor of dirt, oil and debris, all of which can irritate the skin. Maskne, or acne mechanica, arises when the skin is subject to friction or rubbing, causing micro-tears in the skin allowing bacteria to enter. In some cases, contact dermatitis, an uncomfortable itchy rash on the skin, may also develop. Many people are wearing masks even when exercising, further trapping excess oil, dirt, and sweat, leading to breakouts around the chin, jaw, cheeks, and mouth area. Facial pores are under more stress and are more likely to be clogged, especially if we do not adapt our skincare routine.

As mask-wearing becomes the norm across the world, many clothing retailers have shifted gears to mass-produce fabric masks which can be worn and washed easily. Masks made from natural fibres (such as cotton, linen, hemp or silk) are more breathable and will reduce friction on your skin. (1) Wearing masks may become commonplace for the foreseeable future, so it can’t hurt to invest in a higher quality one now to reduce waste and help your skin.


As we adjust to the new regulations and the implications on our social and professional lives, we can also help our skin assimilate to what will be the new normal. Now more than ever it is crucial to keep our faces as clean as possible; it’s better to avoid heavy creams and serums during the day or when we will be wearing the mask. By using a gentle, non-comedogenic cleanser and a toner skin will be clean and not feel weighed-down.


After cleansing and toning, incorporating an acne-fighting skin booster may also help. Products such as The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% are ideal to incorporate into a skincare regime, as it is a high-strength vitamin and mineral blemish formula. Niacinamide is Vitamin B3, which has been shown to minimize the appearance of pores and brighten skin tone. If you are using a Vitamin C serum be sure to use it at a different time than the Niacinamide (preferably at night).

Incorporating a hyaluronic serum to assist in absorption of your moisturizer is also a good idea – The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 is a great product; it contains a mix of HA and vitamins for added hydration. Make sure to apply before your moisturizer. You can follow up with a Hemi-Squalane Serum, as it is an excellent non-comedogenic hydrator which will help reduce loss of skin elasticity. It is lightweight and easily absorbed without being greasy (it can also be used in your hair to reduce frizz).

To discourage pore congestion, now may be the time to introduce acids into your beauty regime. The Ordinary’s AHA 30% + BHA 2% 10 Minute Exfoliating Facial (you may have seen it after it went viral on TikTok) is a great exfoliator. Check the warnings before using, as it uses a high concentration of free acids which may harm sensitive skin and inexperienced users. Using this one per week will help clear away any congestion and build-up that accumulates under your mask.

If you plan on wearing make-up under your mask, try using a setting spray to avoid transference to the mask. I personally love using KIKO Milano’s Make Up Fixer and Prime & Fix. It contains cosmetic alcohol and chamomile extract that evaporates instantly and doesn’t leave behind any residue.

Skipping foundation and substituting for a tinted sunscreen will also help eliminate product build-up. I love SunSense’s 50SPF Daily Face tinted sunscreen as it’s lightweight and doesn’t feel caked on. Using a sunscreen is also a good idea as mask tan-lines may become our new summer reality.

The good news is that with a few minor skincare tweaks, “maskne” will be a thing of the past. It is important that we all do our part to slow the spread of CoVid, and that involves wearing face coverings in all public spaces. While masks do help keep us protected, if they are not disposed of or laundered after use, they can become breeding grounds for germs, dirt and irritations – all of which will negatively impact our health and our skin.


  1. Bauer, Shannon. “Maskne Is a Very Real Thing—Here’s How to Beat Face Mask Breakouts.” Shape, 15 June 2020.
  2. Product info pulled from All opinions are my own.

BODY: The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

On several of the fitness blogs I follow on social media, I’ve recently seen a huge spike in the mention of apple cider vinegar to obtain weight loss and overall better health. I began to question whether it actually lives up to the hype, especially for the purpose of digestion problems, of which I’ve noticed I’ve been getting increasingly as I change my diet.

Apple cider vinegar has been credited with assisting in diabetes, heart health, high cholesterol, weight loss, poor digestion and metabolism.  Apple cider vinegar, affectionately referred to as ACV, is most effective when unpasteurized or organic, as it contains “the mother” of vinegar, which makes it thicker and amber colored.

What has it been proved to actually do? I had to find out if this “miracle” tonic is the one thing missing from my health and fitness regime.


After reading up on apple cider vinegar, I decided to purchase some of my own. Numerous sites claim Bragg’s is the best brand available, but really any organic brand so long as it contains “the mother,” makes it effective. Most common cupboards do not contain the right type of apple cider vinegar. Living in Canada, I was a little worried I would have to trek to Whole Foods, however I found it easily in Loblaw’s organic section – $6.99 for a litre of organic ACV.

Please take note! Apple cider vinegar is HIGHLY acidic. Make sure you mix one or two tablespoons into 500ml of water. If the concentrate of ACV is too high, it will actually erode your enamel and your esophagus. Please be careful – never take “healthy shots” of pure apple cider vinegar unless you want your mouth to singe off. Not fun! Not healthy! Make sure to dilute before drinking.

What can it do? ACV has been credited with the following:

  • Stomach/intestinal problems: Mix a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar into water, (I prefer hot water), and drink promptly. Thanks to its antibiotic properties, if your problem is bacterial the ACV will help clear it up immediately.
  • Prevents indigestion: Adding 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of ACV to a glass of warm water and drink it 30 minutes before you eat any potentially problematic meals. It will help ease the foods transition through your digestion. When added to salads and vinaigrettes, it can help reduce bloating, gas, and heartburn.
  • Diabetes: ACV helps in maintaining blood sugar levels! Non-diabetics can benefit from this as well, because insulin will not direct sugar to be stored as fat. It also slows down starch digestion, which helps lower glucose levels in the bloodstream.
  • Clear skin: Apple cider vinegar is a powerful astringent and antiseptic. It can help in prevention and treatment of acne.
  • Helps sore throats and sinus problems: The minute you feel a sore throat, drink ACV! The acidic environment created by the drink will kill most germs. Mix 1 teaspoon of ACV with 1 cup of water and gargle occasionally.
  • Helps beat exhaustion: Exercise and stress can cause a buildup of lactic acid in the body, resulting in fatigue and lingering exhaustion. The amino acids that are present in ACV act as an antidote. Not only that, but they also contain potassium and enzymes that relieve fatigue. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons to a glass of water and chug!
  • Protects against cancer: ACV contains beta-carotene, which has antioxidant properties that fight damage from free radicals. It can help protect against cancer and boost the immune system.

I started drinking my ACV drinks about two weeks ago, and I can see small changes in my health. I tried drinking it cold, mixed in with water and a small amount of fruit juice, but initially even a 1 tablespoon to 500ml water mix was too strong! The organic ACV has a powerful, overwhelming taste and it takes some time to get used to it. Try mixing it with small amount of honey or apple juice until you become accustomed to the taste.

I now drink it first thing in the morning when I wake up, because, much like hot water with lemon juice, it is excellent for flushing out your system and jumpstarting your metabolism. It helps by stimulating circulation and aids in detoxification of the liver. It also helps cleanse your body by breaking up mucus throughout the body and cleansing the lymph nodes to allow for better lymph circulation. A healthy lymphatic system can remove toxins from the cells in the body while improving immune system response. When I wake up I add two tablespoons of ACV to a medium sized mug and drink it like tea as I get ready. Wait thirty minutes after drinking before you have breakfast, so it can work its way through your system. This will cleanse your body each morning and help you control cravings. As with any detox process, I did notice I initally had some cramping and breakouts, but after a few days it passed! I find drinking this mixture in the morning has helped me cut coffee and energy drinks out of my diet – an added bonus.