In our previous day-to-day lives, the only face masks that the majority of us had to worry about were those that are a luxurious step in our skincare regime (check out the best face masks for your skin concerns here). But now, in this ‘new normal’, we have to wear actual face masks while out in public spaces. This brought a problem that many of us simply didn’t see coming: the dreaded maskne.
If you aren’t aware, maskne, or to use the technical term, acne mechania, is the term coined to describe a type of acne caused by wearing face masks day in and day out. If you are struggling with maskne, or just want to be well prepared, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about this new skincare predicament.
Why Does It Happen?
Here’s where things get a bit technical. Wearing a face mask for a period of time can affect the skin in multiple ways. Firstly, the friction between the mask and your skin can cause irritation and sensitivity. Secondly, the space underneath your mask is then transformed into a warm and humid environment. Which can be a breathing ground for bacteria, leading to breakouts and inflammation.
Where Does It Show?
You’ll know you’re dealing with maskne as it shows only in the areas where the face mask rests on your face. The bridge of your nose, along the chin strap and your two cheeks, as well as your jawline and mouth area.
How To Avoid It:
First thing first, ensure you’re double cleansing every morning and every evening. What you use for cleansing is depending on your skin type and concerns, but for example, you could go in with a cleansing cloth and warm water for your first cleanse, then use your go-to cleanser afterwards, to really ensure your skin is thoroughly cleansed. Use a gentle cleanser if you’re noticing a lot of irritation, like the ASAP Daily Facial Cleanser. To exfoliate and unclog pores, try a salicylic cleanser two to three times a week, like the Skingredients Sally Cleanse.
In your daily routine, opt for products that are hydrating. This will help to ensure your skin doesn’t dry out underneath the face mask if you’re wearing it for long periods of time in particular. A hydrating moisturiser will also serve to act as a protective barrier between your skin and the mask.
For makeup application, try to opt for minimal here also. The more creamy layers you have on your skin, the more product, oil and debris there is in a humid environment like under a face mask. Reach for a good primer, mineral products and a powerful setting spray.
Our Additional Top Tips:
Reconsider the type of mask you use:
If you’re still having trouble with maskne, reconsider the type of mask you’re using. For reusable masks, silk and cotton are the best materials to opt for. Secondly, treat your mask as you would your underwear. You wouldn’t normally share underwear, and they’re popped into the wash after each use. So think the same way when it comes to your face mask.
Keep actives for night time:
No, we’re not saying you should be exercising at night, but rather keep the active ingredients in your skincare for your nightly routine only. So any acids, such as retinol or salicylic, exfoliating products - anything that works to refresh or rejuvenate your skin.
Think of your beauty tools:
Lastly, don’t forget to keep your makeup brushes spick and span. The aim here is to keep bacteria away from your face as much as possible. So, if your brushes are feeling neglected and haven’t been washed in a while, chances are, they’re laced with nasty bacteria. Wash your brushes at least once a week. We promise you’ll thank us for it later.