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Dr. Anisa Shomo,

Herald Beauty Contributor

The past year I have had a love hate relationship with masks. I love that they are keeping me healthy and alive during pandemic times. I hate the acne issues that have resulted. Of course, “mask-ne” is a small price to pay to stay safe. There are advantages and disadvantages to everything. The advantages outweigh the advantages in this case. However, I have been playing with different skin regimens underneath my mask. I have been using Skin by Brownlee & Co (former Pure Skin Beauty Bar) for the past few years. This Black- and woman-owned business offers a full line of organic skin care products that cater to women with acne. The owner, Sylvia Brownlee, is an esthetician who is specializes in reducing acne breakouts and healing acne scarring. She recommended that I use the Balancing Cleanser, $10, for daily cleansing and the Hydramandelic 10 Serum, $50, every other night for acne scarring. This worked well prior to the pandemic but with mask-ne running rampant, I needed more. Fortunately, I am experienced in treating acne as a family medicine physician and as someone who has struggled with acne since my teens. I have used products with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide to treat my acne with good results. These products can be drying and irritating. In the past, I used them as a face wash that I applied to my whole face. Thanks to Skin by Brownlee & Co, I can now use spot treatments to apply only to my mask-ne problem areas. The Blemish Chaser, $22, with benzoyl peroxide and Pore Cleansing Gel, $25, with salicylic acid are just what I need to get back to my blemish-free face. The best part about buying at is that they help guide you through the process. I have wandered the aisles of many retail stores trying to decide which skin products to purchase. They offer a skin quiz for starters and each product has detailed information about how to use it. You could also book a consult if you need more help. Overall, I have appreciated having some relief from mask-ne as it helps me focus on the real task: beating COVID. We still have a long way to go but when we reach the point where I can feel comfortable going mask free, I want to recognize myself. I am grateful for this moment. Take care!

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