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Thursday, January 28, 2021

Prevent (and treat) skin problems caused by face masks

January 28, 2021 2 Comments

Hello everyone!


Wearing a mask to help protect against Covid-19 is a must.  By now we are all accustomed to wearing a face mask every time we step outside or whenever someone visits out household.  But wearing a mask can sometimes be a pain; literally.


Many have reported adverse skin reactions after wearing masks daily; the most common conditions include acne, facial itch and rash.  If you find that wearing a face mask is causing a skin problem or irritation, you may be able to treat it yourself. 


waitress wearing a face mask

Here’s what you can do to treat skin problems caused by face masks at home.


1. Follow a gentle skincare routine.  Skincare plays a vital role in healing your skin. 


2. Treat your skin.   Here’s what dermatologists recommend:

  • Acne: Wash your face after wearing a mask, being sure to use a non-comedogenic moisturiser after washing.  
  • Raw, irritated skin: Apply petroleum jelly or a diaper rash cream to irritated spots on your face before bed.  
  • Sore skin behind your ears: If you can, alternate the types of mask you wear.  Find masks with different types of ties and ear loops.  


People who are already living with skin issues, such as the ones listed below, might be more likely to experience face-mask-related irritations.

  • Rosacea
  • Acne
  • Atopic dermatitis/eczema
  • Sensitivity to humid or dry air
  • Allergies


3. Stop applying products and medications that can irritate your skin.  Until the skin heals, dermatologists recommend you stop using:

  • Acne treatments that contain salicylic acid
  • Anti-ageing products
  • At-home light devices
  • Peels or scrubs


4. Don’t wear makeup.  Until your skin heals, makeup can worsen skin problems.

Since no one will see the lower half of your face, it’s a perfect time to skip makeup that can aggravate your skin.  If you really must apply makeup, use a non-comedogenic product.


cloth face mask


5. Wash your cloth face masks.
  You can remove germs, oils, and particles that collect on the mask by washing a cloth mask in a washing machine or by hand.  Just be sure to:

  • Follow the washing instructions.
  • Wash the masks in hot water, unless the instructions say otherwise.
  • Use a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic laundry detergent. (I also use a laundry sanitiser.)
  • Store your masks in a bag to keep them clean.


Besides helping to keep your skin healthy, it is recommended that you wash your cloth face masks after each use to limit the spread of germs.


people wearing face masks at work

It’s important to continue wearing a mask, even when it causes skin irritation.


Take care and stay safe!



Thursday, January 14, 2021

Piercings and metal allergies

January 14, 2021 0 Comments
Hello everyone!

Today's topic was suggested by one of my readers.  This person left a message on one of my most popular blog posts: Misconceptions about ear piercings

There are several metals that are safe for body piercing and others that aren’t.  The wrong type of metal can stall the body’s healing process or cause an allergic reaction.  Nickel is a common culprit for skin irritation.  Contrary to popular belief, nickel is used in both inexpensive and expensive metals.  In less expensive jewellery, nickel is often used in the base metal which is then plated with gold or silver.  Even the smallest quantity of nickel can cause the skin to turn black, green, or another colour.

girl with ear piercings

Unlike some other allergic reactions, a nickel response happens slowly with repeated or prolonged exposure.  In most people, it causes excessive itchiness and a dry, scaly red rash; also known as allergic contact dermatitisThis kind of dermatitis (also called eczema) develops in places where nickel-containing metal is touching the skin.  Once a contact allergy is developed, it can occur after a few moments of contact with the allergen.  Approximately 20% of the U.S. population suffers from metal allergies, and that number continues to increase because so many people wear earrings that contain highly reactive metals.

Metal allergies are commonly associated with earrings and other jewellery, particularly jewellery associated with body piercings.  The best strategy to prevent developing a metal allergy is to avoid prolonged exposure to items containing nickel, especially jewellery.  

If you already have a metal allergy, the best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid contact with the metal.  Many people who suffer from metal allergies can stop their symptoms by switching to a purer metal, rather than an alloy.  Some people are only allergic to nickel, while others are allergic to copper, or any non-pure metal.

body piercer

Best metals for ear/body piercing
  • Surgical stainless steel is often a good choice for people with allergies, except in cases where people have hypersensitivity.  In this case, titanium should be used.
  • Titanium is a great metal for initial piercings; it’s comfortable due to being lightweight and it barely contains nickel. 
  • Niobium is similar to titanium but it’s heavier and softer.

Metals to avoid

  • Sterling silver is an alloy.  It is at least 92.5% silver, while the other 7.5% is usually copper, though it may also be nickel.
  • Iron not only rusts easily but also reacts very easily and can cause severe reactions. 
  • Plated gold flakes off and exposes the inner metal.
  • Low-grade metals such as copper, nickel, tin, zinc, and brass aren’t proper choices for body piercings.  They can cause allergic reactions and infections, or even cause the body to completely reject the piercing.

It’s always best to keep to safe metals to ensure proper healing.  Once the piercing is completely healed, you should purchase jewellery that is made of materials that aren’t likely to cause allergic reactions.  Look for jewellery made from such metals as nickel-free implant grade titanium, 18-karat yellow gold, or nickel-free 14-karat yellow gold.  Get rid of jewellery that contains nickel or has caused an allergic reaction.  Be sure that your earring backings also are made of hypoallergenic materials.  

I recently developed a metal allergy myself and now, I only wear stearling silver or 18-karet gold earrings.


Do you suffer from a metal allergy?  Which earring can you wear?  






Sunday, January 03, 2021

Favourite curl creams / leave-in conditioners of 2020

January 03, 2021 1 Comments
Hello everyone and Happy New Year! 

In this first post of the year, I want to share with you some of my favourite hair care products.  As I previously told you; I've been wearing my hair, exclusively, in its naturally wavy/curly state (2c/3a) since June 2019.  Using a curl cream or a leave-in conditioner is an important step in my curly routine, one I cannot skip.  

Here are the four (4) hair creams I purchased and repurchased in 2020...

curl creams and leave-in conditioners


The reason I use four different leave-ins is that I rotate between them, and use the cream that my hair needs on that particularly wash day.  Your hair should maintain a balance between moisture and protein and finding and maintaining the balance between these two is critical for achieving and maintaining healthy hair.  Neither protein nor moisture can work well without the other.

When my hair feels a bit dry and is in dire need of moisture, I use the Garnier Fructis Aloe Vera Air-Dry Cream.  This product is very moisture-rich and it does an amazing job at hydrating dry hair.  It is ideal for dehydrated hair, highly moisturising, with aloe vera extract and vegetable glycerin.

On the other end of the spectrum, if my hair feels over moisturised and needs protein, I use the Garnier Fructis Hydra Liss 10 in 1 Air Dry Cream.  This product is rich in protein and it also acts as a heat protectant.  In fact, it claims to be a ten actions in one product; heat protection, anti-frizz, anti-humidity, anti-breakage, anti-split ends, repairs, moisturises, softens, gives shine and does not weight down hair.  This leave-in treatment is enriched with argan oil and liquid amino-keratin.

I use the Suave Professionals Curl Defining Cream (with natural shea butter and pure coconut oil) when my hair is balanced and doesn't need more moisture than protein or vice versa.  Coconut oil does not contain proteins itself, it is composed of approximately 50% lauric acid which helps restore and strengthen the protein structure of your hair.  This product enhances my natural curl pattern and helps fight frizz while adding moisture and shine.  I only use a small amount of this cream as it tends to weigh down my hair if I use too much.

The Garnier Fructis Hydra Ricci Air-Dry Cream, has a little bit of hold, that the other three hair cream I use do not.  It does a good job at defining my curls, however, I still need to use a mousse or gel on top for hold (as I do with any cream I use).  This leave-in treatment is enriched with pistachio oil and in fact, it spells just like pistachio.

These products are very affordable and work well for my hair type.  If you use strictly CG (curly girl method) approved products, you can try the Garnier Fructis Aloe Vera Air Dry Cream; it is the only one of the four hair creams I mentioned that is silicone-free.  

Personally, I do not use sulphates or silicones in my shampoos and conditioners, but I don't mind using silicone in my stylers.  Here in Malta, the air is very humid all year round and the silicone in my stylers create a barrier against the moisture in the air.  I tried following the curly girl method to a T but my hair loves silicone curl creams and leave-in conditioners. 


What are your favourite leave-in hair products?


Wishing you a year fully loaded with happiness.