COVID-19 has brought about quite a few new norms, and that includes wearing masks. And if a pandemic wasn’t already bad enough, wearing masks can also lead to acne breakouts which dermatologists are calling maskne (yep, it’s a real thing), especially for those with acne-prone skin or oily skin types.
So…What is Maskne?
When wearing a mask for long periods of time, it can lead to what dermatologists call occlusion – a concoction of trapped hot air from breathing or talking, trapped sweat and dirt, and the build-up of make-up – which can clog pores and so, lead to acne breakouts.
However, maskne can also be confused with irritation, which causes redness or itching. If you find that your mask is irritating you, make sure you’re not sensitive to one of the components or materials in your mask first, and then try incorporating an occlusion product like Vaseline, which helps protect your skin.
How Can You Prevent Maskne?
Whilst wearing face masks can be tough on your skin, they still play a vital role in reducing the spread of coronavirus. In other words, maskne is no excuse to stop wearing your mask. But in order to help you prevent skin problems from developing underneath your mask, here are a few tips and tricks to avoid unnecessary breakouts.
- Keep the skin clean by cleansing with a gentle cleanser BEFORE wearing your mask, and AFTER taking it off before bed.
- Let your skin breathe if you can (this may be hard if you’re a front liner or a healthcare worker, but if you have the opportunity to take a breather throughout the day, do so).
- Simplify your skin care – now is not the time for layering heavy products or even makeup, especially during the day.
- Look for target ingredients such as ceramides, glycerin, and niacinamide (and use any active skin-care ingredients at night, like retinoid).
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate! In order to combat oil build-up, incorporate or switch to an oil-free or non-comedogenic moisturiser.
- Keep it simple, try to be light with your makeup, or even better, ditch it all together!
- Choose more breathable materials when purchasing a face mask, like cotton. Treat your masks like you would your underwear and avoid using any harsh detergents.