Wearing face masks has become mandatory in this time of COVID-19. However, for some people, wearing a mask can cause, or even worsen breakouts, rashes and other skin problems on the face.
Read on to find out how you can care for your face, while protecting yourself and others, by wearing a mask.
What is Maskne
In short, maskne is acne, or any other skin irritation, that results from wearing a face mask. Technically referred to as acne mechanica, it is formed in areas subjected to constant mechanical pressure, such as friction, stretching, rubbing, or even occlusion.
Breathing for hours with the mask on creates a humid environment for acne to fester. This is exacerbated when our pores are being blocked and clogged by sweat, oil, makeup, and can potentiate the development of acne.
Treating and Preventing Maskne
There are a few pointers to note if you have oily, acne prone skin that is sensitive at the same time. Do consider changing to a mask which is made of a smooth material such as silk, or lightweight cotton, as these are gentle on the skin, and will reduce possible friction that can irritate the lower part of the face.
Next, ensure your mask fits properly. It should fit your face and cover both your nose and your mouth. Masks with ties are easier to adjust to the size and shape of your face. To help avoid chafing, your face mask shouldn’t be too tight, but it shouldn’t gap excessively either.
It is important to keep your mask clean, as oil, sweat, nasal mucus, and saliva, can get onto your face mask wherever it touches your face. Wash your mask with gentle, unscented, non- irritating soap, after each use, and dry it properly. Do make an effort to change your mask regularly and store your fresh masks in a bag to keep them clean.
Do consider taking a break from wearing make-up, especially if you know you’ll be spending some time with a mask on. Since no one will see the lower half of your face, it’s a perfect time to omit makeup, or anything that could clog your pores, or aggravate acne or other skin lesions.
Recommended Skincare Regime
If you have oily acne prone skin, consider a gentle, yet deep cleansing facial cleanser that contains alpha-hydroxy acid like Citric Acid and fruit enzymes to dissolve the clogs and penetrate the pores to exfoliate and effectively remove excess sebum and other impurities in them. A good example would be Liberty Deep Pore Cleanser. Use it every other day if you skin is somewhat oily. You can use it daily if you have severe acne with oily skin. Liberty Deep Pore Cleanser contains AHA and pineapple and papaya enzymes.
For people with sensitive skin, you may alternate with a gentle cleanser, such as the Balance Honey and Oat Cleanser, which contains honey, oatstraw, aloe vera and lavender, to restore the balance of your skin, especially if your skin is sensitive or gets irritated easily.
Remember to let your skin rest and heal, by moisturising regularly with a cream that contains peptides and hyaluronic acid, skincare actives which are important in boosting the resilience and recovery of your skin barrier.