How I’m Fighting off Mascne

If you’re reading this post, there’s a good chance that you too are suffering from mascne or maybe you’re desperately searching for a solution to your acne that actually works? Either way, keep on reading – I promise you it’s worth it.

Throughout Melbourne’s tough lockdown, the health of my skin has been far from stable. Due to the stress and uncertainty of the whole situation, as well as wearing a mask whenever I left my home, I experienced breakouts, redness, and eczema flare-ups.

Desperate to return my skin to its calmer state prior to COVID, I started to read more about this new skin concern ‘mascne’, hopeful for a few tips on keeping it at bay. While searching, I came across a sponsored post by tbh skincare. The ad showed a Melbourne nurse using tbh to fight her mascne after grueling days as a frontline health-care worker. After reading the rest of tbh skincare’s posts, their website and reviews, I decided to reach out, hopeful for a solution to my new skincare concern.

Introducing tbh skincare

For the last month, I’ve been trialing tbh skincare’s core product, the acne hack face cream and their acne hack cleanser, which were kindly gifted to me by the brand. Having had issues with acne in the past, I wanted to trial their products for an extensive period of time before recommending them, as I know first-hand how frustrating it can be to find an acne product that doesn’t damage your skin and actually works to clear your acne.

At first, I was a bit apprehensive to use a gel cleanser, having been told by many a facialist to only use cream cleansers on my sensitive skin. However, I’m happy to report that I didn’t experience any irritation with this one. I have to admit, I don’t think any cleanser will replace my Sothys Clarity Cleanser Milk. So, I like to use the tbh skincare acne hack cleanser once a day while having a shower and the Sothy’s cleanser at the basin.

Wearing a mask so frequently, I’ve gotten into the habit of coming home after I go outside with my mask on and cleansing my face with the tbh acne hack cleanser to ensure my skin is always clean (and avoid mascne). This isn’t always possible if you wear makeup and have to go out multiple times a day, however, working from home has meant I’m rarely leaving the house more than once a day!

The acne hack cream is unlike any acne product I’ve tried before. As I was experiencing mascne around my jawline, where the mask was irritating my skin, I decided to use this as a spot treatment – I was also cautious that having sensitive skin, an acne product could cause irritation. Upon applying the product to the skin, you experience a slight stinging (if your skin is broken) but it only lasts momentarily. I applied this product before bed each night and am happy to report that my spots would dry out and clear up in just a few days, compared to the week/s it would usually take.

tbh skincare prides itself on being different to other acne products on the market. They’re not about drying your skin out, or putting toxic chemicals on your face. Intrigued to find out more about how these products actually work, I interviewed the brand’s founder Rachael Tyers. I love to educate myself on skincare ingredients, ones that are favourable and ones to avoid, and as I learn more about beauty I am becoming more strict on what products and ingredients I am putting on my face.

Talking mascne and tbh skincare with Rachel Tyers

E: How was tbh skincare born?

R: I personally struggled with acne for over 7 years, switching between antibiotics, the contraceptive pill and prescription topical treatments for a long time. I was working in the medical devices industry in digital marketing when I was introduced to what is now the tbh acne hack cream. I used the product (in white label form) to clear my own breakouts that I was suffering with at the time, and after seeing the product work first hand on myself, I was then inspired to get it into the hands of people who needed it most.

Having suffered from acne, I understand that it is just as much a mental battle as a physical one, and over the years it had such an impact on my self-confidence. I wanted to create a brand that respected the sensitivities around acne and truly related to the end customer. With a background in digital marketing, this was almost like my dream job just landed in my lap. I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to take what is now the acne hack cream direct to consumer and the rest is history!  

E: There are so many harsh acne treatments on the market designed to reduce oil production in our skin, which in turn can leave our face feeling dry. How is tbh skincare different?

R: tbh skincare is different because of the incredible medical research and development company that we partner with. We leave the science to the experts and these chemists, who are developing products across hospital and healthcare, have been super thorough when creating a product that can treat acne, yet be gentle and non toxic on the skin. We do get a lot of questions around the alcohol used in our acne hack cream, with concerns that this can dry and strip the skin, [so] we went to the experts to get their feedback on the use of this ingredient in the product…[and] this is what they had to say: 

“Isopropyl Alcohol is an excellent solvent for non-polar materials (e.g. oil), which makes it great for dissolving oils on the skin (getting the skincare through the ‘gunk’ on the top layer of your skin). It can be drying on its own, but the effects of individual ingredients should not be focused on without considering the formulation as a whole.

The acne hack cream is formulated to mitigate the drying effects of IPA, as it is water-based and includes additional moisturisers and emollients. Studies have shown that emollients can significantly decrease irritation that occurs in hand sanitisers (which are made up of much higher levels of alcohol). As for breakouts, the antimicrobial properties of Isopropyl Alcohol help to kill acne-causing microbes…”

E: tbh skincare products are made with a patented XBIO technology – can you explain what this is exactly and what makes it so effective for acne targeted products? As well as how long before we should expect results?

R: The patented XBIO™ technology is used to formulate the cream in a way that allows it to successfully target biofilm in the skin. What is special about the XBIO™ technology is it breaks through the very hard to attack ‘EPS’ which is the layer that protects the biofilm colonies (and therefore the bacteria within) from attack. Unlike other agents that claim to destroy biofilms, there is no known resistance to XBIO™ technology. This technology can reduce the rate of biofilm recurrence over 100 times. 

In terms of results, the timeframe really differs from person to person. Most customers see a change in their skin after 2 weeks of use. We have had customers that see their skin completely clear in less than a month, and others that take over 3 months to see consistent results. Whenever you start a new treatment, it is really important to be ready to be persistent and give the product a healthy amount of time to really work on your skin. We say customers need to be trialling [the Acne Hack Cream] for at least 60 days before making a judgement call! We would expect most people to see some results within this period of time.  

E: tbh skincare’s hero product, the Acne Hack Cream, has a relatively short ingredient list. What are the main ingredients and how do they work in this product?

R: The XBIO™ technology first employs the citric acid to break down biofilm’s extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) and works to prevent the biofilm from reforming with sodium citrate dehydrate. The benzalkonium chloride aid a high osmolarity environment in which the bacteria cell can be destroyed. The cream has key ingredients that help it to perform its function, however it is not so much about any ‘main ingredient’ that makes this formula special. It is the technology that combines the ingredients together in a way that allows the product to breakdown the biofilm and expose the bacteria to the solution. 

  • Citric acid breaks the metallic bonds holding the biofilm structure together, while the sodium citrate dihydrate prevents the biofilm from reforming
  • The high osmolarity environment, aided by the benzalkonium chloride induces the breakdown of the cell, which destroys the bacteria!

If you want to try out tbh skincare for yourself, visit their website here. If you have any other questions regarding my experience with the products, please leave a comment below!

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*This blog post is in collaboration with tbh skincare but as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.


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