How to Prevent Maskne – Tips & Tricks for Skin Care While Living the New Normal with Your Face Mask

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We are now over 6 months into the coronavirus pandemic and living through the dog days of summer with half of our faces covered by a mask. Acne and other skin issues are now more present than ever, so much so, that the internet is calling it “maskne”.

There isn’t much we can do about wearing a mask, but there are a few ways that we can help prevent the maskne we have all grown to hate over the past few months, and get back to clear healthy skin.

What is Maskne?

Acne usually develops when pores get clogged by oil, dead skin cells, makeup, dirt, or bacteria. This can lead to blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples that can vary in size and type, depending on how infected they get. Your face constantly sheds old, dead skin cells throughout the day, and a good skincare routine can help with that process and help to tame and prevent future breakouts.

Here’s the problem: when you wear a mask all day, it interferes with that shedding process. It also doesn’t help that the mask creates a warm humid environment that bacteria can thrive in, which most likely will lead to a breakout especially if you have sensitive skin.

Why does wearing a mask cause acne breakouts?

Masks can cause irritation through friction and chafing, almost like your legs do on a hot summer day. The bridge of the nose and where the elastic bands hit behind the ears are the most at risk, and over time, tightly fitting masks can put enough pressure on the skin to break it down. 

The material of a mask absorbs the skin’s natural oils. For some people with naturally oily skin, this can be a bit of a blessing but, for some people, this leads to dryness and sensitivity. When irritation becomes inflammation, you will see redness, dry patches, peeling, and/or dark marks. If you have a skin condition like rosacea or psoriasis, the inflammation can make it flare-up. 

When pores get clogged, they can become pimples or acne cysts. Your breath trapped beneath the mask makes the skin surface warm and moist, which allows the pores to open up and make the skin more exposed and prone to breakouts. Besides regular acne, this environment can lead to a breakout called folliculitis, which is when yeast or bacteria infect the hair follicles. 

How can I help prevent or treat maskne?

A good skincare routine has always been crucial, but it’s now more important than ever that we start focusing on what we are putting on underneath the mask. Here is a list of 8 tips and tricks on how to fight against maskne:

  1. Skip the makeup. No one is going to see it underneath the mask, so this is the perfect time to let your skin breathe and not bring in any other outside factors that may clog your pores.
  2. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser after you remove your mask. After wearing your mask, it’s important that you use a gentle cleanser to wash your face to remove all the debris and oil that has been building up throughout the day. Moisturizing right after you wash your face is also very important, as masks can be very drying and can strip your face of the natural oils that help lock in moisture (try the Face Shop’s Mango Seed Advanced Moisturizing Lotion or Andalou Naturals’ Hyaluronic DMAE Lift & Firm Cream). A great gentle cleanser to try is the Face Shop’s Mango Seed Silk Moisturizing Cleansing Foam
  3. Make sure to exfoliate. Derma E’s Microdermabrasion Scrub combines Dead Sea Salt and a fine-textured crystal blend that buffs away dullness and smooths the look of fine lines, wrinkles, roughness and acne scars. It is 100% vegan and gentle enough to use regularly for maximum effect.
  4. Don’t forget your eyes! With our masks covering the bottom half of our face let’s not forget to also care for the part of the face that is not covered. Two fantastic all natural brands include Cocokind Eye Makeup Remover which will hydrate and firm the delicate skin around your eyes while also gently removing makeup, and Earth Science’s Azulene Eye Cream with its all natural ingredients that help minimize puffiness and circles.
  5. Drink water. This one may come as a no brainer, but a big benefit of water is its ability to flush your system of toxins. This cleanse keeps your skin clean, pushing out bacteria and reducing the risk of acne and other skin problems.
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