By now, most of us have acclimated to the routine of wearing a mask. It continues to be a crucial step in our daily regimen to ensure our safety and the safety of those around us. However, difficulties might arise when introductions are made to our routines, especially when it comes to our faces. If you felt discouraged by a sudden resurgence of acne or poor skin, a popular new term may provide some answers.
“Maskne” refers to acne and skin irritation from wearing a face mask for extended periods. Some causes include direct friction from masks, trapped sweat, oils, moisture, and other irritants. These issues may also be exacerbated if you’re a frontline worker or in a highly active service role.
We can address all of these issues while simultaneously keeping ourselves and others safe. The following list of self-care tips can help to reduce and prevent maskne.
- Maintain a rotating collection of clean reusable masks
If you’re wearing a reusable cloth face mask, it’s essential that you wash it regularly. A rotation of reusable masks will make remembering to wash them easier, while also reducing the number of oils and irritants each mask absorbs. The same principle goes for those who use surgical masks—frequently rotating these out and throwing out overused ones will reduce the likelihood of a bad reaction from your skin.
- Cleanse your skin daily
Keeping your skin clean and healthy from the start is an effective preventative measure against maskne. Your skin comes in contact with a higher number of irritants these days which means you should increase the frequency you wash your face. This will aid in the removal of bacteria, sweat, and other irritants. Using a gentle cleanser without harsh chemicals or fragrances is beneficial in protecting the skin and preventing breakouts. Now is the time to be adamant about your skincare regimen, or even to create one if you have yet to do so.
- Don’t overdo it
Discovering a surge in acne or redness may cause some to react quickly and overdo it with scrubs, face masks, etc. However, harsh scrubs and over-treating your skin may break down your skin’s natural defense techniques, leading to worse outcomes in the long run. While these skincare products will have positive effects on the skin, they are best used in moderation.
4. Travel with fresh disposable masks
If you’re using disposable masks, be sure to toss them in the trash after each use. Consider keeping extra face masks with you in a re-sealable zipper storage bag, so you always have a fresh one when you’re on the go.
5. Switch up your beauty routine
As most of us already know, makeup can clog pores and cause breakouts. Adding a mask to this equation contributes to these problems and increases skin irritation on your face. Reducing your use of cosmetics or switching to something lighter like a tinted moisturizer may prevent or clear away your maskne.
6. Wear comfortable fitting masks
You might have experienced excessive irritation and redness on the bridge of your nose or behind your ears from wearing a mask. This is due to direct friction between the mask and your skin. While you might opt for removing your masks for a few minutes, the best solution is to wear masks that fit well. Your mask shouldn’t be too tight and should continue to cover your nose and mouth. Dr. Suozzi of the Yale Medicine’s Dermatology program suggests applying gel strips to remedy the areas affected by friction.
7. Moisturizer your skin as often as possible
If wearing a face mask leaves your skin parched, then applying a non-comedogenic moisturizer can help tackle this common skin problem. A non-comedogenic moisturizer is formulated to prevent your pores from being blocked and also hydrates your skin. Apply moisturizer to your face before and after wearing a face mask. Whether you have oily, normal, combination, or dry skin, keep your skin type in mind when selecting a complimenting moisturizer to prevent breakouts.
8. Remove your mask every four hours
Within the past year, we’ve seen mask mandates fluctuate. As of today, there is more room to go mask-less, but when you can’t, remember to give your skin a break by removing your face mask every four hours for 15 minutes when you can safely do so.
9. Maintain soft hydrated lips
Similar to applying a moisturizer to your face, it’s equally important to keep your lips hydrated. Chapped lips are no fun, so combat that by using petroleum jelly, a hydrating lip balm with waxed-based additives, and ingredients such as coconut oil, shea butter, and vitamins C and E.
10. Treat your maskne with the right products
When prevention is no longer an option, and you need relief from maskne discomfort, give your skin some TLC with topical treatments. Skincare products with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are proven to address acne problems. You should also speak to your dermatologist for targeted treatments and guidance for your specific skincare needs. Your skin will thank you!
Photography by Sora Shimazaki