It might be another unwanted legacy of the pandemic, but face mask acne or ‘maskne’ is actually not as new as you might think – just ask the medical technicians and scientists whose work requires they work behind a mask on a daily basis. For most of us though, maskne will always be synonymous with acne caused by face masks - the new skincare problem of 2020. Don’t be fooled into thinking that only those with pre-existing skin conditions experience ‘maskne’. The hot and sweaty environment a mask creates around your nose and mouth can lead to acne flare-ups in anyone, although those already living with skin conditions will find their breakouts harder to control.
How to prevent Maskne
Do wear your mask. All the while face masks are mandatory it is important you take the necessary precautions to keep yourself and others safe. Here’s how you can keep your skin clean, clear and acne-free despite having to cover up.
1. Wash or change your mask regularly
Whether you choose to wear reusable cloth masks or disposable masks, it is really important to keep your mask clean. Bacteria and dirt will build up over time on a mask, and this will only aggravate already sore skin. Aim to wash your mask, after one full day of wear. Soft materials, like silk or cotton, are kinder on acne-prone skin, and choose a perfume-free laundry detergent to further reduce the risk of irritation.
Replace disposable masks as often as possible and avoid touching them directly by using the ear straps to put on and take off.
2. Cleanse your skin twice daily
With dirt, oil, sweat, and bacteria building up on the skin underneath your mask it is important to wash your face before and after wearing a mask. If your skin is already irritated, look out for a gentle cleanser, or if you are prone to acne, use an acne cleanser to keep your pores clear of congestion.
Don’t over cleanse! It may be tempting to wash your face more than usual, but we recommend you stick to your regular AM and PM routine so as not to dry out your skin, cause irritation or redness.
3. Keep skin hydrated
Apply a moisturiser to keep skin hydrated. This will also act as a barrier between your face and your mask, reducing friction. Apply onto a cleansed face before and after wearing a mask. Look for skin supportive ingredients in your daily moisturiser such as ceramides, glycerine and hyaluronic acid to boost your skin’s hydration levels. If you feel your skin needs something extra, you can add a facial spray to top up your moisture levels throughout the day.
4. Ditch the makeup
Your pores are already fighting off sweat and bacteria under your mask - an extra layer of makeup will simply add to the congestion and make your mask dirty! If you want some sort of coverage for when you take your mask off, go for a tinted moisturiser or BB cream instead.
As half of your face will be covered up with a mask, why not focus all of your attention on your eyes with eye makeup to draw attention to them?
5. Allow your skin to breathe as much as possible
Only wear your mask when you have to - getting on and off public transport, in public buildings and other places where you’re likely to meet other people. Remove your mask when it’s not needed to allow your skin to breathe as much as possible.