Though lockdowns may be lifting, it's always better to be safe than sorry. In this context, it looks as though we won't stop wearing face masks any time soon, both for our sakes and everyone else's, which means we need to tackle the new dilemma that is maskne.
Maskne is a catch-all word for various skin disorders brought on by wearing a face mask, including acne, rosacea, contact dermatitis, and folliculitis. Much of this leads to breakouts, scratching, and, yes, pimples. If you already have these conditions and wear masks regularly, you're more likely to develop maskne.
What causes it?
The quickest answer is that clogged pores caused by product accumulation on your skin when wearing a mask are the most common cause.
Consider this: you use skincare products (and even makeup) on your face every day, which, when combined with the oil your face creates naturally, bacteria and dead skin cells on your skin—all of this buildup trapped under a mask, regardless of the material—clogs your pores and causes acne.
In other instances, flare-ups may be caused by the mask rubbing against your skin, or you may be allergic to the mask's material.
How do you get rid of it?
Simplify your skincare routine.
For you 10-step skincare routine-loving folks, it's time to take a hiatus from all the layering. Yes, skincare is good for your skin, but the product buildup won't do you any favours as long as you have to wear a mask every day. Use a gentle, pH-balanced cleanser, go easy on your exfoliants and actives (i.e. acids, retinoids, even aftershave), and use a non-comedogenic moisturiser.
Ditch the makeup.
For some, this may be non-negotiable, but your skin will thank you for it in the long run. Anything trapped beneath a face mask will just clog your pores even more, and maskne will rule the lower half of your face longer than you want it to. If you're hard-pressed to continue using makeup, opt for non-comedogenic products.
Wear a face mask that suits your skin type best.
Always go for masks made from soft, natural, and breathable fabric. We recommend using reusable cotton face masks because it gives you the right amount of protection and comfort. Avoid face masks made from synthetic materials like nylon, polyester, or rayon. Those kinds of face masks will just rest on your skin and cause irritation—plus, they're not as breathable.
Change your face mask often.
Use a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic detergent to thoroughly yet gently clean your face mask, and make sure to wash it after each use. It may be tedious, but you should spare no expense for your health and safety.
This is a simplified 'cheat sheet' for the basics of fighting against maskne, but as long as you follow the fundamentals, you should be in the clear! For more in-depth advice as told by dermatologists, click the links below: