If the pollution and stress of everyday life wasn’t enough, the most recent villain of the skincare world is the face mask. The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it the new everyday accessory, the face mask and with it came a whole series of skincare concerns.
Friction between masks and the skin often leads to irritation, dry skin, itchiness, redness and contact dermatitis. The perspiration may get trapped underneath the mask and combined with the condensation of our breath creates a moist environment (cringe) which ultimately can lead to clogged pores, tiny bumps and mask acne (commonly referred to as maskne).
Bhakti Ahuja, Beauty and Lifestyle content creator on Trell share some effective and easy everyday tips to tackle maskne:
Use clean masks with skin-friendly fabrics
Reusable cloth masks must be washed after every use. The bacteria after a day of usage (from perspiration, makeup etc.) will most likely cling to the mask. Not washing the mask properly between uses can reintroduce those bacteria onto the skin – creating a beautiful environment for skin irritation and maskne. Choose masks with an inner lining of cotton which absorbs perspiration rather than fabrics like polyester- which trap the sweat and let it sit on the face!
Wash your hands
Dirt and grime accumulate on the mask during the day, and so you must wash hands immediately after disposing the mask and before going in with skincare.
Moisturise your skin well
Moisturizing is a key part of the skincare routine, even for those with oily skin. After a long day of wearing a mask, the impaired skin barrier needs support to heal itself. Moisturizing will not only replenish the Trans Epidermal Water Loss (due to the perspiration) but will also give the skin a boost to heal itself. Try using moisturizers both in the day and at nighttime – preferably those formulated without essential oils, fragrance, menthol etc.
As far as possible avoid using makeup underneath the mask.
Makeup + Mask + Sweat + Friction = Perfect Recipe for Mask Acne
Simple skincare routine
Acne/rashes/ irritation will prompt anyone to immediately start using treatments. However, treatment serums and toners which contain exfoliants (AHAs/BHAs) and retinoids should be avoided. These ingredients can be irritating on the skin on a regular day. Introducing them when the skin is already sensitive will potentially encourage a breakout. Instead stick to a simple Cleansing-Moisturising-sunscreen routine.
Don’t pop, pinch, squeeze
Avoid popping, squeezing or even touching pimples/maskne. Instead, a good way to avoid friction between the acne and mask, is by using a hydrocolloidal patch I.e., a pimple patch. If the breakouts are excessive, consult a dermatologist instead of self-medicating!
Calm your mind
Mental health is extremely important, even for your skin. The pandemic has caused a lot of stress and anxiety. Stress and poor sleep also aggravate acne, even maskne. Take some time to meditate and take part in activities that relieve stress and calm the mind.
These are some steps you can include in your everyday life to tackle mask acne, stay safe, stay healthy!