Editor's Note: Inventing for the ‘New Normal’


“Maskne is the New Acne,” The New York Times headlined in June 2020, which the reporter defined as acne and irritation caused by wearing face masks. While these skin afflictions are nothing new, under the COVID-19 lens, they have come into focus. Indeed, the pandemic has revealed new necessities, drastically shifting consumer behavior and uncovering new market niches.

With respect to “maskne,” the same Times article interviewed Mona Gohara, M.D., at the Yale School of medicine, who said, “It’s a real thing.” She described her experience with the “maskne,” being occluded under three layers, herself. “... [Y]ou can just feel things forming with the oil and sweat ‘swishing’ around.”

In light of “maskne,” the present issue targets acne from several fronts. In our cover story, Reymermier, et al., test the effects of boldo extract on bacteria, sebum production and skin redness in acneic skin. Peter Thomas Roth, of the namesake brand, reviews OTC acne actives, while J&J columnists profile benzoyl peroxide.

Steventon considers the emotional toll acne takes on consumers, and this month’s “Industry Insight” delves into “maskne” with up-and-comer Abhi Jain, who has crossed hand sanitizer and “maskne” gel into one multifunctional product. Lastly, our crowd-sourced “Expert Opinions” piece outlines concerns shaping the anti-acne market.

Considering the fragile nature of acneic skin, one would be remiss to overlook its protection. Hewitt addresses this from a sunscreen angle, where he explains how to balance esthetics with efficacy in inorganic formulas. Chaudhuri looks to a multifunctional ingredient to scavenge and quench reactive species and selectively chelate iron. The Soothing Skin Formulary demos acne care, moisturizers, gentle washes and more. Finally, Lochhead and Lochhead consider hand sanitizer efficacy, WHO-approved formulas and explore whether we are “too clean.”

The adage, “necessity is the mother of invention,” has never held truer but beauty’s “new normal” requires inventions themselves to rise to unprecedented challenges.

Explore these in greater depth with us on Nov. 2-5, 2020, during our fully reinvented and virtual event, Beauty Accelerate. See below for more information.

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