Tag Archives: COVID-19

How to prevent “maskne”

The coronavirus pandemic has altered our daily routines tremendously. Perhaps one of the biggest daily changes are mask mandates. Medical masks, which prior to the pandemic were scarcely worn, are required in grocery stores, schools, offices and restaurants.

 Without a doubt, mask wearing is vital to the health and safety of our community, but the daily and extended use of medical masks are taking a toll on our skin. Medical masks are home to different dirt, sweat, oils and bacteria, making them a key player in facial acne.

 A recent term in the beauty and skin care work has emerged amidst the pandemic. “Maskne,” or acne caused by mask wearing, is referred to by dermatologists as acne mechanica. Acne mechanica is triggered by friction against the skin as well as a lack of air exposure. When you wear a medical mask for an extended period of time, your pores become clogged and the protective oils that sit on your skin deteriorate. These oils are essential to skin health and without them your skin is vulnerable to bacteria and virus. Other factors that contribute to maskne are makeup, stress and humidity.

Skin friction from a mask can also flare up chronic skin conditions like rosacea, eczema and psoriasis. Individuals with sensitivity are also most likely to develop acne mechanica from medical masks. 

Illustration by Serena Rodriguez

“Maskne” Prevention

While there is not a clear cut solution to stopping maskne, there are dermatologist recommendations on how to prevent its spread. 

  1. Clean your Masks Frequently

The cleaner your mask is, the less likely it is to hold harmful bacterias or dirt that could irritate your skin. It is recommended to wash your mask if it has been worn for more than one hour or if you have sweat in it. This also includes disposing of reusable masks frequently. If you have sensitive skin, it is also recommended that you use a hypoallergenic and fragrance free soap to clean your mask. 

  1. Use Petroleum-based products to prevent irritation

Masks can especially irritate dry and sensitive skin, but petroleum will help keep your natural protective oils intact. Petroleum products can also be super useful on the lips, as masks can also dry out our lip skin. Lastly, note that petroleum should only be used under cloth masks and not disposable masks, because it can affect the durability of the medical masks. 

  1. Don’t wear Makeup

Makeup increases your chances of having clogged pores. Switching to lighter and more natural makeup products could help with this issue. Also make sure you are completely removing your makeup after wearing a mask with a gentle cleanser like micellar water. 

  1. Avoid harsh and drying products

It can be tempting to spot treat large pimples that sit under a mask, but harsh acids and creams can cause further irritation and breakouts due to the humidity inside the mask. It is most helpful to have cean, lightly moisturized skin underneath your mask, saving the acne treatments for night time. 

  1. Switch mask materials

It’s important to note that these recommendations are only for individuals who are wearing masks for general protection and not essential medical workers. Dermatologists found that breathable cotton, such as old-shirt material, might be the best solution at letting the skin breath and reducing the amount of flare ups. Not that double layering the fabric is important to reducing the most droplet spread, rather than a single layer. Professionals also note that silk lined fabrics do a wonderful job at reducing friction and protecting the skin’s natural oils. 

Know that these recommendations are all suggestions to stop the spread of “maskne,” but your own personal dermatologist can provide you with the best resources and information on how to keep you skin healthy and clear while wearing a mask.

So you’re living alone…in the middle of a pandemic

It’s okay to feel lonely while we’re encouraged to isolate, but it can be used to our advantage. 

One of the most pivotal moments for teenagers-turned-young-adults is leaving home and beginning to live on your own. Whether it’s your first apartment, a campus dorm room, or even your first house, living by yourself offers a newfound sense of freedom in your life. 

However, loneliness takes a new meaning when you’re living alone for the first time in the middle of a pandemic. We used to only worry about meals we have to learn to cook or how to do our own laundry. Now however, the biggest issue to face is the natural feeling of isolation which comes from living alone and the need to stay inside. The biggest piece of advice to share is to not let the fear of living alone overwhelm you. 

At least for me, the routine I have found myself reliving every day is wake up, eat, sit at my desk for class, eat again, watch Netflix, and go to sleep. When I start to dwell on this boring pattern for long I begin to see my anxiety grow and the loneliness set in. Being in my first apartment this year, I have learned some things and have come to new realizations that could possibly help you fight off the feeling of isolation as well. 

Socialization is important in so many areas of our lives, especially for mental health. If you’re living with roommates, I challenge you to befriend them if you have not already and reach out to them if you need someone to be with. Having dinner together, cooking meals together, watching movies, or doing homework together could be simple ways to grow closer as roommates and hopefully flourish into friendship. However, if you don’t have roommates or don’t particularly get along with yours; don’t stress. You don’t have to be best friends with your roommates in order to not feel lonesome. Virtual socialization can be just as comforting and fun as being with someone in person. Contact friends you have from home or friends you have living in the same city as you and connect virtually through Facetime, Netflix Party, or even going to a park together while practicing safe social distancing and following healthy guidelines. Remember, everyone feels lonely. As a matter of fact, UT has a loneliness hotline on the CMCH website which can help you deal with the anxiety that comes from isolation. It is natural especially when living alone to feel lonely, but don’t let it stop you from enjoying your time with you. 

Living by yourself drives you to find yourself. I know it can be scary, but being alone has benefits as well. Loneliness can be a force used to encourage yourself to get your life together. Think of it this way: we have all the time in the world right now to focus on ourselves and come to terms with loneliness. So make the most of it. Make self-care important to you, and take time out of your days to do something for yourself. Sometimes when I feel lonely in my apartment I think, “what is something I could do to enjoy by myself?” By asking myself this question, I am learning more about who I am and becoming my own best friend. This leads me to switch up my routines or simply find new things I enjoy doing alone. One of my favorite new activities is buying candles for myself and lighting them in my room while I’m doing work or taking a bath. It is incredibly comforting to walk into your room and have it smell good. I asked a few friends what their favorite thing to do alone is and the common consensus is trying to be put together even though you’re not leaving your room. Cleaning your room or apartment can help you feel accomplished and comfortable in a huge way. Additionally, taking a shower, doing your hair, putting on some makeup, or dressing up cute can all be valid ways to make yourself happier and feel successful without leaving your home. Any small task or goal you set for yourself can make the biggest difference. Another friend who lived by herself for the entire summer said she found art as a wonderful escape and something that made her happy and less lonely. 

One of the most helpful tips I have received is the importance of decorating your own space. Copious amounts of cash is not a requirement to do this either. Put the things that you enjoy in your space and it will help with loneliness or feeling out of place. I’m sure the new bed you’re sleeping in doesn’t yet have that comforting feeling of your bed at home, but you will get there. Being in a cozy environment gives a certain sense of purpose that dims the feeling of being lonely. 

Lastly, I do want to encourage you to get outside if you can. My bedroom at my apartment has no windows, so I often feel low or discouraged throughout the day which leads to loneliness. Whenever I go outside however, I instantly feel better and more connected to the rest of the world. This can mean different things for whoever or wherever you are. Going to a nearby park and doing classwork, getting up and going on a walk in the morning around the place you live, or even taking a walk through campus are all good ideas to get you into the daylight. Being outside naturally boosts your energy levels and happiness. Free aromatherapy and a boosted immune system are also benefits of spending just 30 minutes a day outside. 

Remember to take everything at your own pace. Living alone is terrifying to some and with the climate of today’s world where we are encouraged to spend most of our time indoors, there is lots of room for growth and development in yourself. So yes, you need to learn how to cook, clean, do laundry, and set a routine for yourself, but the good thing is that you have all the time in the world to do it. Finding a groove that works for you takes time. If you feel extra isolated right now please don’t tear yourself apart trying to fix it. Small goals are a big help. Talk to friends, cook yourself your favorite meal, take a bath, paint a picture, or anything else that makes you happy with yourself. If you do feel extreme isolation or loneliness, never hesitate to reach out to someone. However, use this time of confinement and the feeling of aloneness to challenge yourself and learn things about yourself that you might not have seen before.

The Stuck-at-home playlist

Here we are. Four months into quarantine and so much has happened. We’ve been witness to one of the biggest civil rights movements to date. We have seen celebrity breakups and tragic paparazzi photos (Shawn Mendes and Camilla Cabello…I’m looking at you.) But, we have also learned a lot about each other. Through the power of social media, especially Tik Tok, it’s as if we are going through this pandemic as a community consisting of Gen Z and millennials. 

Music has definitely been an outlet for most people these days. With the rise of Tik Tok, lots of undiscovered artists are being…well, discovered. With summer in full swing, I took it upon myself to share some music I’ve enjoyed since March. When it comes to making a playlist, I find myself trying to justify each song and why they belong there. This time, I’ll group a few songs together to save you some time. You’re welcome.

Songs I’ve Stolen From Tik Tok

Frank Ocean is finally getting the recognition he deserves. I urge you to check out all of his music if you haven’t already. Now, let me blow your mind. When I found out that Djo was actually a stage name for Joe Keery, I basically ran to Apple Music to listen and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. — tighten this up (shorten) if you can

Chateau (Feel Alright) -Djo

Roddy -Djo

Peach Trees -Ax and the Hatchetman 

In My Room -Frank Ocean

Lost- Frank Ocean

Songs To Get You Moving During Quarantine 

Quarantine has forced most of us to slow down and, as a result, sit down. I’ve seen so many tips and routines on social media for working out– but a killer workout playlist is an obvious must. Here are a few of my favorite songs to workout to while contemplating what type of bread I’ll bake later:

E.T. -Katy Perry ft. Kanye West

Savage Remix -Megan Thee Stallion ft Beyonce

After Party -Don Toliver

Tokyo Drifting -Glass Animals & Denzel Curry

Songs From Some of My Favorite Black Artists

#BlackVoicesMatter, always. 

Sober -Childish Gambino (one of my favorite beat drops literally ever)

Anything from Kid Cudi!

Blinding My Vision -K. Roosevelt

Time Machine -Willow Smith

American Boyfriend -Kevin Abstract 

Shea Butter Baby -Ari Lennox & J. Cole

Ex -Kiana Ledé

Songs For The Vibes

I firmly believe everyone needs a vibe playlist. Yeah, you can call me basic but when you think about it, every person’s vibe playlist is different. So here’s my challenge for you: start making your vibe playlist that fits your unique taste and personality. Once quarantine is over and we are able to see our friends, share your playlist with them. It’s a fun way to discover new music and get to know your friends a little better.

suburban wonderland -BETWEEN FRIENDS

All of their music is top notch. No skips. 

A Kiss -The Driver Era

Fun fact: Ross Lynch is half of the duo that is The Driver Era. I’ll let that sink in. 

Games -Lennon Stella

Her voice was 100% sent from God. 

Moral of the Story -Ashe ft Niall Horan

That 1D stan forever part of me will support Niall no matter what but this song? A banger. A sad one, but a banger nonetheless. 

Remedy -Surfaces

Summertime -Verzache

Beige -Yoke Lore

Mind Games -Verzache

Your Love (Deja Vu) -Glass Animals

newly released! So good that it’s criminal!

Songs From a Few of My All-Time Favorite Artists

If I had to choose a few artists that I go to when I feel like all odds are against me, Harry Styles and Mac Miller are at the top of the list. These are some songs that remind me there will be better days, best listened to at the highest of volume:

Best Day Ever -Mac Miller

Fine Line -Harry Styles

I’m Full -Wallows

Thanks for sticking with me. Let us know if you take a listen!

10 Things to Look Forward to When We Return to the Forty Acres

Being away from campus can be hard. For those missing Austin, here are 10 things to look forward to in the Fall, complete with memes generated by the wonderful UT Austin online community.

  1. Getting to see the one and only Domino

Domino is a fixture on campus and loved by many. In our absence, he has been spotted patrolling campus and scaring away pesky squirrels (except for the lucky albino ones of course).

  1. Our many rivalries.

No matter the season, or the current viral threat, our rivalries can transcend any obstacle, even COVID-19.

  1. Construction!

Austin construction has been around since pretty much forever and isn’t going away any time soon. Hopefully, some time away from campus will make the constant rerouting worth the while.

  1. Flocks of electric scooters.

That’s right folks, with humans trapped inside, nature has returned to its former glory. You’ll have plenty of time thanks to your web-based classes to do a little “Bird”-watching and maybe get hit by one or two scooter on Speedway if you’re just that lucky.

  1. Taking graduation photos!

Anyone who goes to UT hopes to one day get that picturesque photo in Littlefield Fountain. A little ‘Rona just adds more flavor to your photos. When you look back on them many years down the line, there will be no denying, you were definitely a proud 2020 graduate.

  1. Some calming moments with our campus’ most loved reptiles.

That’s right, some turtle live over 80 years. These guys aren’t going anywhere and have only gotten more apathetic and adorable since the last time you saw them in March.

  1. A lecture hall or library, or two, if you’re lucky!

There’s nothing I look forward to more than a good old time in one of the university’s top-notch libraries and lecture halls. I’ll hopefully be seeing all of y’all at some point on the 5th floor of the PCL at 2 am.

  1. The beautiful sound of a monthly emergency notification system siren test.

No, that’s not a tornado siren or some indie Austin band’s new music, just the beautiful sound of our university keeping us safe and maybe destroying our eardrums.

  1. Spending all your money on ACL.

Although ACL is canceled this year, don’t worry, come the Spring you’ll get your chance to empty your pockets in hopes of enjoying 3 glorious days in the hot sun with all your favorite Californians surviving off of a single granola bar and good music.

  1. Finally quenching you caffeine-addiction.

Say goodbye to your dad’s Folger’s and hello to your favorite locally-owned and operated venues. That’s right, for just $7 you can have a delicious, double shot of freshly ground 100% vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO espresso.