Wearing face masks has become an essential part of our everyday lives in the hopes of lessening the spread and severity of the COVID-19 virus. Though wearing these accessories is a small price to pay for helping protect our fellow neighbors, they aren't the most skin-friendly, especially on hot, long days or for those with pre-existing skin conditions, like acne. A new skin condition, known as maskne, has become extremely common over the past year, causing frustration and irritation for millions of faces. To learn more about what causes maskne and how you can prevent and treat it, keep reading.
What is "Maskne" and What Causes It?
Mask acne, most commonly known by its abbreviated form of "maskne," refers to pimples and acne breakouts surrounding the mouth, jaw, chin, cheeks, and nose. Basically, all of the places that the mask covers throughout the day.
Most types of acne pop up on the skin when pores get clogged with dirt, oil, makeup, an excess of dead skin cells, and acne-causing bacteria. One way in which a mask causes breakouts is by interfering with our skin's natural shedding process (something that naturally helps to keep breakouts at bay), causing pores to get clogged and pimples to form.
Face masks are also known to create humid, occlusive environments where acne-causing bacteria love to thrive. Wearing makeup and loads of other products under this type of environment can also clog pores and prolong the healing of existing pimples and dark spots.
Maskne can also refer to skin conditions that aren't acne, such as rashes, contact dermatitis, and other skin irritations caused by friction between the mask and the skin. This is especially common around areas most affected by tight-fitting masks, like behind the ears and around the nose. Individuals prone to dryness, sensitivity, or who have existing skin conditions such as rosacea or psoriasis can experience inflamed irritations in the form of redness, dryness, flaking, and hyperpigmentation.
But you don't have to be acne-prone or already suffering from skin conditions to experience maskne. The truth is that maskne can affect anyone and any skin type, but there are ways to help prevent and treat maskne from popping up.
4 Tips for Preventing Maskne
- Choose the right mask. One of the easiest places to start when trying to prevent maskne is picking the right mask for you. Selecting a soft mask made of natural, breathable materials like organic cotton, linen, or silk will help you avoid the occlusive, humid environment ideal for acne-causing bacteria. These smooth fabrics will also cause less friction, so you can avoid any irritation.
- Wash your mask often. Taking care of your skin and face masks means washing your masks regularly with a gentle, hypoallergenic, fragrance-free detergent. Of course, if you only wore your mask for a few minutes, you probably don't need to wash it. But if you wore one all day, then be sure to wash after each use.
- Toss the disposables. If your job or situation requires you to wear disposable masks, make sure that you are not reusing them (they are disposable for a reason). Rewearing these masks made for one-time use can cause makeup, dirt, oil, and bacteria to build up and go back onto your skin.
- Stick to an effective skincare routine. A huge part of preventing the formation of maskne is creating and sticking to an effective skincare routine that will keep your acne concerns in check, preventing any breakouts or irritations, all while keeping your skin barrier healthy and intact.
Simple Skincare Routine for Targeting and Treating Maskne
Sticking to a simple, targeted, and effective skincare routine both morning and night can help to treat pre-existing maskne and prevent it from occurring on your skin.
First thing's first, you always want to make sure that you are applying the face mask to cleansed skin. This clean base will help minimize the oils, dirt, and bacteria that harbor underneath the mask throughout the day.
While some people might assume that using a stripping, drying cleanser will help to dry out acne and make the skin "squeaky clean," it is actually best to avoid these types of cleansers. As they can strip your skin of its natural protective oils and damage the skin barrier—causing more damage in the long run. Using a gentle, hydrating cleanser is an amazing option for all skin types, as it will cleanse the skin while nourishing and avoiding irritation.
Our nourishing gel cleanser is the perfect option for day and night as it is enriched with moisturizing ingredients such as shea butter and olive leaf. At the same time, soothing plant extracts like chamomile and aloe vera calm the irritation so often associated with maskne.
After cleansing, applying a hydrating toner can give your skin that extra boost it needs after a long day of mask-wearing, plus it ensures that your pores are clean and that your skin is effectively cleansed. Our soothing rose toner features—you guessed it—rose, an incredible ingredient that moisturizes, reduces redness and inflammation, packs a healthy dose of vitamin C, and is antibacterial.
After cleansing and toning the skin, you'll want to lock in all of that goodness with a moisturizer. A moisturizing cream, like our Ageless Vegan Collagen Cream, made with shea butter and apple stem extract, will help to penetrate deep into the skin layers, healing, providing moisture, and helping to slow skin aging by keeping everything firm and plump.
4. Weekly Treatment
Once a week, we recommend treating you and your skin to a rejuvenating at-home facial. Opting for a detoxifying face mask that features kaolin and bentonite clay will clean and tighten pores, treat and prevent active breakouts, and clear away lingering pollutants. Try our Detox & Purify Face Mask or our Pineapple Enzyme Face Mask for gentle exfoliation.