12 easy tips to prevent and treat maskne (direct from my skin therapist!)
Maskne, or a flareup of acne caused by wearing a mask, is a real problem now for healthcare workers and everyone who is doing their part to stop the spread.
What causes maskne? A mask can cause what’s known as “mechanical stress” such as occlusion and friction. It can also cause “microbiome stress” which is essentially changes to your skin’s microbiome (from heat, changes in pH, moisture from your breath). The stressors causing maskne can be most pronounced where sweating is increased: in tropical climates, wearing a mask outside, or wearing a mask while exercising (Teo et al., 2020). Unfortunately, conditions such as acne, perioral dermatitis, and dermatitis can all be exacerbated by humid conditions under your mask.
Here are some tips to help:
- When safe, take a break from wearing your mask during the day. Take a cheeky lunch break in your car and let that face breathe!
- Try going makeup free to allow that skin to breathe. If you do need to wear makeup, wear a non-comedogenic mineral brand that will still allow the skin to breathe a bit. Put the focus on your eyes instead with some spicy eye makeup!
- If you’re noticing a flareup do your best to not to touch and pick. Picking can cause trauma, scarring, and can transfer bacteria to the next pore, so please leave them alone. I know there is a HUGE temptation to get that pimple popped, so if you do need to pop one do it after a hot shower when your skin is clean, your hands are clean, and your pores are a bit more open. Wrap your fingers in tissue and BE GENTLE…. If it’s not easy is not ready to come out.
- If there are changes in your skin changes keep routine simple and as normal as possible. Don’t go adding 37 new products. Don’t give your skin more reasons to freak.
- Use a water-based, lightweight, and non-comedogenic moisturiser. Heavy oil-based things might not be the best solution under the mask. A water based serum with hyaluronic acid is ace.
- Don’t over cleanse or over exfoliate. When our skin freaks out its so tempting to hit it with as many products as possible. This is a big no no. If your normal skin is now irritated and furious with you, hitting it with 1000 different products and washing excessively will send your glands into overdrive and this could make your maskne worse.
- Consider using a synthetic mask fabric with high evaporation/cooling abilities .
- Add a green clay mask spot treatment to your routine—the best mask for breakouts!
- Look after your well-being because stress can be a big contributor to skin problems. I recommend dabbling in mediation to soothe any stress and anxiety that might be playing a role in your unhappy skin. Insight Timer and Headspace are great.
- Drink plenty of water. It flushes out toxins and plumps those skin cells. Sexy!
- Cleanse the skin at night before going to bed. (Yes, only wash only once a day!). In the morning rinse your face with lukewarm water and apply your serums and moisturiser as usual.
- Eat fruits and foods that are rich in Vitamin C and Selenium to calm down irritation and inflammation. Citrus fruits, watermelon, spinach, berries, green tea, etc., keep the skin healthy, support the skin, and can calm n’ relax our freaked out skin.
Best of luck!