Mask mandates are being lifted and it feels like the end of an era.

All across the country, restaurants, stores, and more are lifting their mask mandates. This is a good sign that the pandemic is receding, which should serve to trigger far fewer Karen outbursts.


Pandemic celebrity Dr. Fauci has become the authority on all things Covid-safety, so if he says we can stop masking, I believe him. He told the Financial Times: “I hope we are looking at a time when we have enough people vaccinated and enough people with protection from the previous infection that the COVID restrictions will soon be a thing of the past… As we get out of the full-blown pandemic phase of COVID-19, which we are certainly heading out of, these decisions will increasingly be made on a local level rather than centrally decided or mandated," he said. "There will also be more people making their own decisions on how they want to deal with the virus."

He says that restrictions like masking will continue to ease in the “new normal.” He also suggests that the pandemic will not completely be behind us because even vaccinated people can catch the variants. However, we’ll soon reach a state of “equilibrium.”

While I’ll personally still wear my mask in crowded places — I’ve become a bit of a hypochondriac over the past few years — it’s strange that we’ll have to readjust to seeing each other’s bare faces all the time. That’s another reason I’m not 100% ready to toss out all my masks — I’d gotten used to not just the safety, but the mystery of being masked up. What might I look like under there? What might I be doing?

Recently, I’ve grown pretty carefree about my appearance — esp when I’m out and about running my silly little errands or picking up takeout. Beneath my mask, I shamelessly lip-sync whatever song I’m listening to and even wear pimple patches in public — under my mask, who would know?

In the early days of the pandemic, the dreaded phenomenon of maskcne was all too real in the early days. I had cystic bumps all over my jaw and cheeks, leaving dark spots in their wake. Since I tailored my skincare routine to mask-wearing, I use chemical exfoliants to kill bacteria, I wear lightweight oils, and wash my face and masks as soon as I get home. I’ve even seen skinfluencers wear sheet masks that cover only the masked portion of their faces — anything for that glow.

While I haven’t gone that far, if the mask mandate hadn’t come soon I might have. After all, I’m pretty serious about my skincare routine and know when to adjust to new situations and skin conditions.

It takes years to cultivate a skincare routine. Trial, error, trial, more error, then finally you’ve identified a set of products that work. Until they don’t. Maybe it’s just me. I can’t help but answer the call of the latest buzzy ingredient, a well-packaged aesthetic, the latest luxury holy grail.

Whether you’re greeted with an unexpected breakout or tempted by a shiny new product, that painstakingly curated and carefully arranged selection of products on your top shelf is bound to evolve. With skin concerns that crop up come new ingredients that often force you to switch up your entire regimen.

My routine has mostly been the same for the past few years, but I do make a few exceptions. I barter with myself. If I finish a bottle of Vitamin C, for example, I allow myself to buy a replacement from the latest brand I’ve been eyeing on Instagram. Or, when the seasons change, I mix it up. In the winter, I splurge on richer face creams. In the spring, I slough the dryness off my face and body with exfoliating scrubs. In the summer, I always have a rotation of at least 3 different sunscreens. It keeps it fun, and it helps me stay consistent with my skincare practice.

But I’m not merely swayed by my temperaments and whims. Over time, I’ve learned to listen to my skin. When my skin gets overwhelmed, I calm down my routine, and when I break out I step it up. This is how I reap the benefits of my products.

However, sometimes my skin doesn’t want my prettily packaged array of boutique products. Sometimes it wants to get back to the basics, stay in the same ingredient family, and really address one specific concern. My monthly hormonal breakouts have been known to drive me to prescription-strength products. Summer breakouts from excess shine force a return to mattifying oil-control products. And when I overdo it and irritate my moisture barrier, I use products geared towards sensitive skin.

For those critical times, I need a more clinical switch, my go-to is Proactiv.

I grew up watching Proactiv commercials, begging my parents to buy me the miracle acne treatment. Now, Proactiv is far more than an answer to teenage acne. Their range of lines addresses a variety of skin types and skin concerns. There’s a Proactiv product for everyone. And as with any skincare, fortifying your skin with like ingredients helps address your issues fast. Using a full Proactiv routine makes it super easy to stock up on ingredients that compliment each other and totally transform my skin.

So don’t wait! Pick up a full Proactiv routine to address any skin issue with clinically proven formulas that actually work. Plus, right now you can get 30% when you buy a full routine online!

Check out the best Proactiv routine for your skin type:

For Oily & Combination Skin: Proactiv Solution

This 3-piece routine is as easy to use as it is effective. Control sebum and prevent acne while minimizing shine by using all 3 products together. The cleanser, toner, and repairing treatment work in tandem using microcrystal benzoyl peroxide and glycolic acid to buff away impurities like dirt and debris beneath the skin.

For Dry or Sensitive Skin: Proactiv+

This hydrating power-pack loads your skin up with all the moisture you need for a glowing visage. The combination of benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid gently penetrates your pores to improve texture without causing irritation. Start with the exfoliator to scrub away dead skin cells, then apply the pore targeting treatment to treat any latent breakouts. Then apply the protecting hydrator for a dewy finish.

For Inflamed, Stubborn Breakouts: ProactivMD

This clinical strength, dermatologically tested set truly gets the job done. ProactiveMD contains the prescription-strength retinoid, Adapalene. While retinoids might seem intimidating, you won’t have to worry about side effects if you use this built-in routine. Get prescription-strength treatment while keeping your skin moisturized and smooth.


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