Acne has become one of the most dominant skin care concerns during these last few months. The stress of dealing with a pandemic and the social distancing involved have all taken their toll on our skin, and acne caused by stress has flared. However, there is a new kid in town, one that hasn’t been invited nor anticipated, and it’s the acne caused by continued usage of face masks; ‘maskne’. So how does maskne actually look like, what’s the root cause, and how do we deal?
What Causes Maskne?
Maskne is simply caused by friction! It even has a cute name that explains a lot ‘acne mechanica’! When the skin gets irritated, the skin’s barrier gets compromised and it is inevitable that the pores will get clogged, sebum and bacteria get under the skin and breakouts will soon ensue. It is not about ‘suffocating’ your skin as many tend to believe! And the barrier is important for shielding your skin from the outer elements while keeping hydration locked in.
What Does Maskne Look Like?
Maskne can be easily recognised and it comes in two forms. It might appear as a cluster of tiny whiteheads that pop up after you wear any type of mask. And the second type of maskne looks a lot like the breakouts you might get if you over-mask your skin.
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Where Does Maskne Appear Exactly?
The acne is most likely to appear alongside the chin strap, on the bridge of the nose, and on the cheeks. If you usually wear a cloth mask rather than a paper one, make sure to regularly wash it as it will have a buildup of dirt and bacteria. If you use surgical masks, allow them to dry out for 24 hours before you wear them again.
What To Do About It?
1 || Stop compromising your skin barrier by using too many exfoliating masks. When the barrier is disrupted, bacteria can easily get in, and you lose hydration. When you lose hydration inflammation kicks in, and the skin will start producing more oil to compensate.
2 || When shopping for face masks try to find a material that doesn’t cause too much friction. Silk is the most gentle so try to locate washable silk masks. Any other material that feels silk-like is also a good option.
3 || Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate even if you have acne you will still need to protect that barrier. Look for anything with jojoba, squalene, and ceramides for barrier repair. Add good old hyaluronic acid to the mix to replace lost hydration. Allow your products to sink in for 15 minutes before you put on your mask.
4 || Be gentle with your acne treatments by using salicylic acid which can clear up pimples and offer anti-inflammatory benefits.
5 || Use a sulphur-based face wash which can help kill the bacteria without causing any irritation.
6 || Finally steer clear of harsh products such as retinol and benzoyl peroxide for the time being.