What Is Maskne? How To Treat Acne Caused By Face Masks?
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we find that masks are becoming an integral part of our daily lives. In these testing times, it is extremely important to wear a mask every time you venture out of your house!
Wearing masks, however, presents a new challenge that a lot of us are facing – maskne! Let us break down what maskne is and how you can avoid it!
What Is Maskne?
Maskne is a form of acne resulting from the continuous wearing of masks. Maskne appears in the form of pimples, redness or any irritation occurring around the mouth, cheeks or jawline.
If not maskne, chafing on your ears as a result of friction from the bands of the mask rubbing against your ears is also something you should take care of. Be sure to use a soothing moisturiser or lotion to protect your ears!
Why Does Maskne Occur And How Is It Different From Regular Acne?
When you wear a mask for long durations of time, sweat, sebum and bacteria are trapped inside the mask. When masks rub against your skin, they cause irritation and damage the acid mantle (aka the skin barrier). This disruption of the skin barrier and trapping of moisture is what results in acne. This type of acne, resulting from friction, rubbing, squeezing and stretching amongst others, is called acne mechanica. It differs from other types of acne because it occurs only in the areas where the mask sits on your skin.
How Does The Weather Affect Maskne?
If you live in a hot and humid climate, maskne is not going to be very pleasant for you. The humidity in the air adds to that being trapped by your mask. Chafing and rubbing of the mask against moist skin can also damage the skin barrier and that’s a problem. But does that mean cooler climates are better off? Not necessarily! In the colder months, our skin tends to become dry too. Now imagine something rubbing against a dry surface – equally bad! In fact, your skin might just get more irritated. Maskne in the summertime would be the result of oil, sweat and bacteria being trapped inside and maskne in the winter would be the result of friction and chafing on your dry skin.
How To Avoid Maskne?
So, is there something you can do to avoid maskne? Yes! Whether you are struggling with maskne or haven’t come across it yet, you probably want to follow these steps:-
1) Wash Your Face Regularly
The primary reason maskne occurs is because of excess oil, sweat and bacteria staying on for long periods of time. So start washing your face regularly – twice a day – before and after wearing your mask. Be sure to opt for mild cleansers and stay away from harsh ingredients! You don’t want to strip away the natural oils from your skin. That won’t help either!
2) Skip Makeup
Wearing too many products beneath your mask can clog your pores faster. So it’s a good idea to stick to non-comedogenic (non-pore clogging) and lightweight products. The key is to let your skin breathe.
3) Apply Moisturiser
Rubbing motion of any kind is damaging to your skin barrier. Moisturisers are a great way to strengthen the skin barrier and prevent dryness. If you have oily skin, you should still moisturise in order to prevent your skin from overcompensating and producing excess oil.
4) Choose A Cotton Mask
Cotton masks are great because they allow your skin to breathe and reduce rubbing and chafing. They are also reusable and better for the environment!
5) Wash Your Mask
Treat your mask as you would your underwear – wash it frequently! The last thing you want to do is put on a dirty mask again. Also, be sure to wash your face mask with fragrance-free detergent. It is also important to bear in mind that surgical masks are not meant to be reused, cloth masks are.
6) Get A Solid Skincare Routine And Stick To It
Taking care of your skin is very important – with or without maskne. If you’re strapped for time, keep it simple – cleanser, toner/mist and a moisturiser. Choose a mild cleanser (try to opt for a fragrance-free one, especially if you have sensitive skin), a toner to balance your skin and boost hydration, and a simple moisturiser to seal in the goodness of your toner and strengthen your skin barrier! Be sure to exfoliate twice a week too. Now more than ever, it is imperative you clear out all the dead cells and grime from your face! You can add more steps depending on how comfortable you are.