Maskne – Covid-19 has provoked a lot of societal changes. One of the most prevalent being masks. A term that has blossomed from their use is “maskne”, but what is it? This refers to acne that’s caused by wearing face masks. And since these coverings won’t be going away any time soon, we need to learn the best ways to prevent maskne.
What Causes Maskne
- The most common culprit of maskne is breathing. Everytime you exhale, moisture is collected, and the mask traps that wetness onto your skin. This leads to excessive moisture buildup which can cause inflammation and breakouts.
- The second cause is makeup. When foundation mixes with your sweat, it irritates your pore linings. This inevitably triggers acne flare ups.
- Some masks can further irritate existing acne. Scratchy materials will pick at your pimples or cause over-exfoliation. Which strips your skin and stimulates excess sebum production.
Maskne Prevention Tips
Wipe Face Every Few Hours
To prevent moisture buildup, start traveling with micellar water and reusable cotton pads. If your skin begins feeling oily or you’ve been sweating, gently wipe your face with the cleanser. This tip is so convenient because these products don’t usually need to be washed off. Will it feel a little sticky? Probably. But it’s an easy alternative if you don’t have access to water.
Which Micellar Water Should You Choose?
If you end up wiping your face every few hours, the product needs to be extremely gentle. Stripping your skin of all it’s natural oils will only proliferate acne. So find one that is fragrance free and alcohol free. My all time favorite is the Garnier SkinActive All in 1 Micellar Cleansing Water. It’s gentle, effective, and affordable.
Change your Mask Every Few Hours and be Picky
This simple method is one of the best ways to prevent maskne. At this stage in the pandemic, I’m sure you’ve realized that masks can cause a lot of irritation. Luckily, there are some materials that are softer than others. Cotton and silk being my personal favorites. Wearing masks that can deal with your sweaty face is very important. Something needs to be absorbing the bacteria and moisture building up on your skin.
Pros: I like this material because I don’t have to worry about suffocating. Over-exfoliation is also nonexistent. The mask will be gentle and smooth against your skin.
Cons: Cotton absorbs sweat and holds that bacteria inside it. The mask then continuously spreads the germs across your skin. This is clearly a recipe for disaster. The best way to prevent this is by washing your face coverings after each use.
Pros: Silk is great because it’s soft and aesthetically cute. It also has antimicrobial properties. So you won’t have to worry about bacteria causing breakouts.
Cons: It repels moisture. The lack of absorption can cause the material to feel wet and uncomfortable against your skin. This constant dampness will create acne inflammation. Again, changing and washing your masks often is key.
Stick to a Skin Care Routine
When you are suffering from acne, sticking to a simple and gentle routine is best.
Try not to overwhelm your skin by using a bunch of products every night. You typically won’t need more than 4. The basic steps are to
- Remove sunscreen or makeup
- Cleanse face
- Apply treatment
- Apply sunscreen (in the morning)
Be Careful With Active Ingredients
During the era of masks, I don’t recommend using products that contain active’s in the morning. If you didn’t know, active’s are ingredients that are biologically active. They’re essentially the only ingredients working to fix your skin issues. The concern is that the moisture trapped in your skin can actually cause them to penetrate deeper into your epidermis. It’s the same idea when you put on socks after moisturizing your feet. The socks are trapping the lotion into your skin, allowing it to work as effectively as possible.
You may be thinking that the increased penetration of your leave-on products is a good thing. But only for certain ingredients. Take fragrance for example. It’s known for causing irritation to your stratum corneum. If it’s forced into the deepest layers of your skin, you could see signs of inflammation and damage. Your face may become extremely dry, which will only intensify your acne.
Some people know this as the “korean skin care method” Essentially when you get a breakout, keep moisturizing your acne. A lot of people try to dry out their pimples, but this is not an effective method. Dry skin clogs pores. On top of this, your face will become inflamed, resulting in an angry, red pimple. If you have oily skin and are worried about too much moisture, go for lightweight, water-based products. One of my favorites is the Purito Clean Lotus Water Cream.
Look for moisturizers that contain humectants. These are ingredients that take water from the air and deliver it into your skin. This will not only help with acne, but lessen dullness, fine lines, and an uneven skin tone. Some great humectants are
- Hyaluronic acid
- Tremella extract
Be Careful With Makeup
Now, makeup doesn’t necessarily cause acne. But with masks, all of that is thrown out the window. The constant moisture will drive the foundation into your pores, clogging them and causing a breakout. The best option would be to wear as little as possible. If this strategy isn’t for you, use powder. These products are formulated to absorb the excess oil on your skin.
Get Some Sleep
No sleep = stress = acne. It’s honestly an endless cycle of pain.
Although sleeping is something so natural. It’s hard for a lot of people. When you’re stressed, your body increases cortisol or stress hormones. This can affect people in different ways. Some experience it through dry skin, others through excess sebum production. Either way, breakouts are usually the result. Although I am not asleep or stress expert, some tips that have helped me manage are to
- Go to bed at the same time every night
- Read before sleeping
- Journal to release stress
- Set realistic goals
During the era of maskne, we need to remember to stay positive. Acne positivity is a mindset that is extremely difficult to stick to. It’s far too easy to look in the mirror and hate what you see. Just remember that you are not the only person going through this. The only difference is that now, we can’t always see that others are experiencing it too.