How to prevent Maskne (mask acne)
To say this year has been filled with the unexpected is a serious understatement. One of the many things we never dreamed we would be doing this year is reaching for a mask to cover our face before we do just about anything beyond our own front door.
The outcome? Maskne. Masks and acne – two things that do not mix.
As we face an unknown number of months of mask-wearing ahead of us, getting to grips with maskne and understanding how to prevent it either occurring or remaining, is a major priority for our skincare routines right now.
Let’s take a look at 5 top how to prevent maskne secrets your skin needs now.
What is maskne?
No one needs to be reminded that covering your face for extended periods of time will have consequences for your skin not to mention how sweaty and clammy the covered area becomes.
Yet cover our face we must and so maskne is unfortunately a thing right now.
Maskne or mask acne (officially known as acne mechanica) occurs when dirt, sweat, bacteria, oils and dead skin have nowhere to go.
Forced to sit on your skin in a moist environment, your pores become blocked, causing breakouts in the covered areas where you wear your mask.
Skin along the edges of your mask is particularly vulnerable due to constant rubbing. The unwanted abrasion causes damage to your skin’s delicate protective layer making it sore, sensitive and easier for dirt, oils and bacteria to penetrate your pores.
We all know bacteria loves moisture so it is no surprise bacteria thrive in this hot, sticky mess. If it’s a warm day or you are in a stuffy environment the entire situation is ramped up, tenfold.
On the other hand, cold weather can cause our skin to become dry and extra sensitive, putting us at risk of follicultis, caused by broken hair follicles becoming infected with bacteria.
Top tips on how to prevent maskne mask acne
- Monitor Mask Performance: Going forwards, you’ll need to put fashion aside and pay close attention to how different masks affect your skin. Avoid materials that make your skin hot or irritated and ill-fitting masks that rub and chafe.
Look for breathable, reusable materials you can wash daily and roomy designs to ensure your skin is presented with a clean and airy environment. Some people are also choosing to spray their masks with mask disinfectant to combat bacteria but that’s down to personal choice.
Whether you choose to use mask disinfectant or not, try to be aware of contexts where it is permissible to take your mask off and let your skin breathe for a few minutes.
On occasions where your skin does feel hot and sticky under the mask, take a quick break in another space where you can safely remove your mask, dry your skin and give it a quick breather.
If your skin is getting really sweaty regularly, you may want to swap reusable masks part way through the day.
- Deeper Exfoliation: With all the extra debris lying on your skin, you’ll need to up your cleansing routine with deeper exfoliation to cut through the thick layer of build up.
You may also find you want to wash your face once you remove your mask, to freshen up your skin or use a deep cleansing mask more often.
- Support to Unclog: Look out for ingredients such as retinol, salicylic acid, tea tree oil, azelaic acid and benzyl peroxide which can work deep down to remove dead skin and debris from inside your pores.
As women of colour, look for cleansers with finer particles which cleanse deeply without irritating our sensitive skin.
Restorative ingredients such as retinol, vitamin C, willow bark and antioxidants will help to boost skin cell renewal and skin health for long term protection.
- Less Product : Allow for the changed environment your pores now face and consider using a lighter, nutrient-rich moisturiser and significantly less makeup, or none at all, to reduce the onslaught your pores now face whilst ensuring your skin’s protective barrier remains strong.
Vitamin C, antioxidants, shea butter, argan oil, rosehip oil and hydrocortisone will all help to keep your skin nourished, protected and supple
- Stronger Protective Barrier: Boost your skin’s natural protective barrier with a layer of moisturiser before you put your mask on or a film of acne treatment cream.
By making these 5 minor adjustments to your daily skincare routine you should be able to wait out Covid-19 maskne free. Let’s face it, with the extra time on our hands these days, a few slight adjustments to our skin care routine are manageable, particularly when we have so many Zoom meets and video calls to show off our skin up close.
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