From ‘maskne' to ‘zoom face': experts on 2020's skincare bugbears

A dermatologist, plastic surgeon, facialist, and nutritionist weigh in on the biggest skincare issues of the past year and how to remedy them

Skincare woman in vapour, skincare mask
Left. As originally featured in the January 2017 issue of Wallpaper. Right. As originally featured in the December 2015 issue of Wallpaper. 
(Image credit: Sabrina Bongiovanni, Emma Blau)

From maskne cures to at-home extractions, from simple diet tips to hi-tech laser treatments—we asked some of the most respected names in skincare to share insider tips on remedying dryness, acne, and all other 2020-induced ailments.

woman applying aesop face oil

Skincare serums as featured in the May/June 1999 issue of Wallpaper*.

(Image credit: Hal Tomioka)

Nataliya Robinson, Facialist, Quantum Botanika

Working from a secluded townhouse in London’s Chelsea neighbourhood, Nataliya Robinson has made a name for herself as the city’s ‘skin whisper’ with her unique use of botanical formulations, traditional extraction techniques, and radiofrequency technology. 

For those hoping to rejuvenate their skin at home, Robinson suggests a regular routine of facial massages. ‘When doing you are doing your daily cleanse, start by using a cleanser that has a "balm" texture. Allow your fingers to slide smoothly over the skin and apply firm pressure to achieve a deep-tissue massage. I am particularly fond of using a feathering or gentle tapping movement to prevent morning puffiness.’

‘Pay attention to tired and sore muscles, for instance, those on your forehead if you have been frowning or concentrating in front of a computer screen. Another area to focus on is the large jaw muscles, which are used several times a day every day and can become tense, causing headaches.’ 

If you’re suffering from acne caused by face masks or the change of season, Robinson recommends never doing your own extractions on the skin around the temples and cheeks. ‘The tissue in these areas is very soft and easily scarred. The forehead, chin, and nose are all fine.’

Facialist Nataliya Robinson using quantum botanika skincare

Nataliya Robinson performing one of her signature facials with her line of Quantum Botanika skincare

(Image credit: press)

‘To carry out the extraction first prepare a chamomile infusion warm, not hot, water. Apply a facial towel that has been soaked in the infusion several times for a few minutes until the skin is warm. This will soften the pores. Next, wrap your finger with clean cotton or tissue and very gently apply pressure on either side of the pore. Always ensure you have short nails before doing this.’ 

Following the extraction routine, Robinson suggests applying a natural yoghurt mask to provide skin with probiotics that close pores and replenish skin’s healthy bacteria. To make a yoghurt mask at home, try mixing plain yoghurt with honey, turmeric, or aloe vera. 

Those who prefer to purchase their masks already made can try Robinson’s own range of skincare, Quantum Botanika. The brand’s Cleansing Balm is ideal for gentle at-home cleansing, while the signature Facial and Scalp massagers can help make a bathroom facial feel (almost) like a professional one. 

Daphne Javitch, Nutritionist, Doing Well

Nutritionist Daphne Javitch became a proponent of alternative health practices after a stage four endometriosis diagnosis left her looking for a natural cure. Since then, she has amassed a legion of followers devoted to her uncomplicated but effective approach to all-around wellness.

When it comes to the lack of Vitamin D many people have experienced this year, Jarvitch has a few simple tips. ‘I suggest finding an indoor patch of sunlight or a sunny window to sit by for 15-20 minutes to boost energy, mood, and Vitamin D. While mushrooms, sardines, salmon, mackerel, and eggs are examples of healthy Vitamin D rich foods we can incorporate into our diet.’

‘Vitamin D benefits bone health, can prevent diabetes, protects against cancer, fights heart disease, helps regulate hormones, improves mood, and can enhance memory. I'm not a huge supplement pusher but Vitamin D is so important and most of us are deficient so it's one of the few supplements I recommend to clients.’

To combat the emotional and physical drain many have felt over the past year, Jarvitch encourages everyone to try for 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep each night. ‘Hydration, regular exercise (even gentle stretching), and social connection positively impact our mood and encourage energy flow through the body. And establishing a daily rhythm/routine can lift us out of the general sense of anxiety or despair that comes when navigating limitations and change.’

Dr. Yannis Alexandrides, Cosmetic Surgon, 111Skin 

Dr. Yannis Alexandrides was a renowned plastic facial surgeon specialising in facial reconstruction and rejuvenation procedures before opening his 111 Harley St. Clinic in 2001. There, he pioneered non-invasive aesthetic treatments like cryotherepy before launching his own 111Skin product line.

As a cosmetic surgeon and skincare practitioner, he's noticed two major issues repeatedly crop up again this year — maskne and ‘zoom face’.

‘Maskne occurs for a variety of reasons,' Dr. Alexandrides says. ‘The physical abrasion the mask material has on the skin (which both dries the skin and degrades the epidermal barrier) as well as the trapped air in the mask, which heats up the region and causes bacteria overgrowth. It is the perfect environment for acne to occur.’ 


111Skin's Sub-Zero De-Puffing masks have gained cult status among skincare aficionados for their easy and instant results.

(Image credit: press)

‘The second issue – what many are referring to as "zoom face" – is essentially how we have all exponentially aged during the last six months. This is due to a combination of factors – excessive drinking, overindulgent eating, less movement, and the increase in HEV Blue Light from our laptops. When the first lockdown ended, I had an overwhelming amount of patients book in for botox and facelifts because they felt they had aged so quickly in the four months prior.’ 

To remedy the problem, Dr. Alexandrides suggests an unexpected solution wear a sheet mask under your PPE mask. ‘111Skin's Sub-Zero De-Puffing Energy Facial Mask or Anti-Blemish Bio-Cellulose Mask to protect against all forms of chaffing and leave you with even better skin when you take both off,' he says. 

‘If you want to be inconspicuous then just use a mask for the bottom half of your face before you go out. I do this on my journey to work now and have not suffered maskne in the slightest – in fact, my skin has never looked better!' 

Costas Papageorgiou MD FACS, Oculofacial Plastic Surgeon, New York Dermatology Group

Dr. Costas Papageorgiou has seen all manner of skin issues as the UK Medical Director for the New York Dermatology Group at The Harrods Wellness Clinic. Yet over the past year, he has noticed a specific range of problems emerge again and again. ‘The psychological impact of the current situation, as well as the constant use of face masks in conjunction with alteration of our regular fitness and diet routines, has led to an increase of dermatitis, exacerbation of eczematic reactions, rosacea, dryness, breakouts.’

To combat those issues, Dr. Papageorgiou suggests the calming and regenerating effect of LED technology. ‘In the same way that plants use chlorophyll to convert sunlight into organic tissue, an LED-based therapy (like the clinic’s ‘Gentle Waves’ treatment) can trigger a natural biostimulatory effect on the face.’

‘Regular use of LED is one of the least invasive ways to reverse signs of irritation as it repairs the protective barrier of the skin’s surface, improves hydration levels, combats oxidative stress and UV damage, and stimulates skin renewal for improved texture. I recommend regular use of our Gentle Waves panels, which can involve up to three to four 20 min sessions per week.'


Writer and Wallpaper* Contributing Editor

Mary Cleary is a writer based in London and New York. Previously beauty & grooming editor at Wallpaper*, she is now a contributing editor, alongside writing for various publications on all aspects of culture.