Face masks are now our best option of combatting the spread of COVID-19 and following the recent government announcement making face masks compulsory in shops and on public transport, means wearing them must become the new norm. But what does that mean for our skin? We are seeing lots of people suffering with mask-induced acne, or maskne.
Looking back a few short months ago phrases such as “social distancing”, “quarantining” and “flattening the curve” were definitely not part of our daily conversation or vocabulary. Another word to now add to the list is “maskne”. Now, we don’t realise the problem whilst we are out and about wearing a mask and looking like an extra in Holby City, it starts when we come home and finally free ourselves of our face coverings and reveal itchy, irritated skin and newly formed spots. So what can we do to protect our skin against maskne?
What is Maskne?
Maskne (or mask acne) was an issue only our hero NHS workers faced before. They were subject to lengthy periods of wearing PPE, which caused contact dermatitis, itchiness and maskne.
This isolated condition affects the chin, jawline and cheeks and is triggered by friction and the chafing of fabric against skin. As we head towards warmer weather (although it’s currently looking pretty bleak for the UK) the issues causing maskne will only be exacerbated. The moisture from humidity and sweat alongside makeup, oil and dirt causes a surge of bacteria to form. Now pair this with the friction from the material of the mask, it’s literally rubbing the irritants into your skin and creating a breeding ground for acne.
NHS workers, we take our hats off to you (but leave our masks on, of course!)
How do you stop Maskne?
The good news is there are steps you can take to prevent and treat maskne! Here at Face the Future, we want to make your skin the best it can be and we have compiled our skincare industry knowledge to help you combat maskne.
Whether you’re suffering from mask-induced acne or any other form of this common skin condition, follow these tips and check out our blog all about common acne myths.
- Cleanse and cleanse again! Double cleansing is essential in acne-prone skin. The first cleanse removes SPF, makeup and any dirt or grime from the day. The second cleanse actually cleans your skin, getting deep into pores and providing the perfect base for the application of the rest of your skincare regime.
- Use products containing Salicylic Acid. This Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) is oil-soluble, which means it is able to penetrate pores and effectively dissolve dead skin cells and excess oils.
- Treat your skin to a targeted mask once a week. A weekly mask treatment helps to absorb excess sebum, clear skin of dead skin cells and impurities.
- Take care of skin from the inside. Drink lots of water, eat a well balanced diet and incorporate a nutritional supplement to support skin from the inside even further.
- Seek professional advice. We always recommend seeking expert advice when it comes to your homecare regime, but especially so with acneic skin. Read on for our expert product recommendations, but if you are unsure on the correct products for your skin, complete our online skin test for personalised product recommendations.
Many of us are using our creativity and DIY skills to fashion our own masks from home. Whilst this is a great way to get the creative juices flowing and up-cycle materials, be sure to use materials that are lightweight. We recommend that you stick to fabrics such as cotton or silk, which are more gentle on skin and don’t cause friction.
If making your own mask isn’t for you, make sure to purchase disposable masks. It’s important to keep masks clean and dry to avoid the build up of maskne-causing bacteria. You can also get masks fabricated out of gentle natural fibres that are washable, which is a great way to save money. Moreover, be sure NOT to touch your face when wearing your mask, as this is what makes friction worse and transfers bacteria, which we don’t want.
Maskne product essentials
If you know you are going out, one step you can take (it may be hard, I know) is to avoid wearing makeup. Let your eyes do the talking instead, as your lower half of your face will remain covered. Try just using mascara and eyeliner instead, to accentuate and enhance your eyes. Makeup and masks just don’t mix, it causes excess sweat, dirt and oil to build up and clog our pores, causing our skin to break out. Try the Jane Iredale Longest Lash Mascara, which is a thickening and lengthening mascara, without any damaging ingredients. It works to enhance your lashes and it also conditions them so they appear longer and fuller without clumping, flaking or smearing.
It’s important to cleanse your skin thoroughly, especially if you have been mixing makeup and masks. iS Clinical Cleansing Complex is great as it is a lightweight gel formulated with a balance of antioxidants. It helps to control acne breakouts by gently removing excess oils, impurities and makeup whilst also going deeper within the pores to loosen debris and bacteria. That was only the first step of the cleanse. I recommend the Mesoestetic Purifying Mousse Cleanser as the second step as it is great for acne-prone skin. It works to cleanse and purify skin and is formulated with urea to soothe irritation and refresh the skin, leaving it soft and comfortable.
Masque your maskne with Mesoestetic Pure Renewing Mask. This combines chemical and mechanical exfoliation to stimulate cellular renewal and keep skin clear and smooth. This should be used once a week and is ideal for treating maskne as it absorbs excess sebum build up and clears skin of dead skin cells and impurities.
For long-term results, use iS Clinical’s Active Serum, which is fast acting and offers a multitude of benefits. It works to soften skin texture and reduces the appearance of acne thanks to a natural form of salicylic acid, which helps to decongest the pores. Follow up with the Image Skincare Clear Cell Clarifying Lotion, which helps heal and soothe skin, whilst fading the visible redness of current acne lesions. By using this clarifying lotion, skin tone appears more even and it delivers optimal daily hydration. The Image Skincare Clear Cell Clarifying Lotion can also be used as a spot treatment. Always make sure to follow up with an SPF during the day. The Heliocare 360 Gel Oil-Free SPF 50 is a cult favourite as it soaks straight into the skin and doesn’t leave any white cast or residue. It is also really lightweight and protects against harmful free radicals and repairs our precious cell DNA.
Want to try these products out for yourself? Shop all the products listed at Face the Future. For a personalised skincare regime, complete our online skin test or speak to our team on 0113 282 7744 for expert skincare advice.
Written for you by: Sanah, Face the Future
Image source: Unsplash.com