Since the outbreak of the Covid-19, wearing a face mask on a regular basis has become the new normal around the globe. Although it helps to prevent the spread of the virus, many of you might also be experiencing a new type of skin issue, known as maskne. If you’re in a profession that requires you to wear a face mask regularly, mask-related acne or maskne may not be a new skin woe for you. However, the problem seems to be increasing even among the general public now.
What the Heck is Maskne Anyway?
Maskne, medically called acne mechanica, is caused by prolonged use of face masks. The friction and heat generated by wearing a mask in combination with moisture from breathing and sweating give rise to this pesky skin condition. This allows the growth of bacteria and clogs the pores, which leads to acne breakouts and blemishes. Besides acne, face masks can also lead to other skin problems, like itching, rashes, excessive dryness, rosacea, allergic contact dermatitis, folliculitis, and seborrheic dermatitis.
If you’re new to the world of mask-related skin problems and struggling to maintain healthy skin without ditching the use of face masks, fret not. We are here to guide you on how you can manage and treat this annoying condition. So, let’s get to it!
Use Gentle Skincare Products
The first and most important aspect to consider is switching to milder skincare products. Gentle, chemical-free, and non-comedogenic products can reduce the likelihood of maskne. Use a gentle cleanser to draw out dirt, grime, and other impurities from the skin and follow with a gel, lotion, or cream-based moisturizer, depending on your skin type. Look for a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, or dimethicone to prevent dryness, strengthen the lipid barrier, and retain moisture in the skin.
Avoid Harsh Skincare Products
There are certain skincare products and medications that can aggravate the skin, further increasing the problem. Formulas containing retinoids, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide can be more irritating when applied under a mask. Be careful of the amount you apply and use these products at bedtime. Similarly, avoid applying chemical exfoliators, chemical peels, abrasive scrubs, and fragranced products.
Apply Fewer Products if Your Skin is Irritated
Since covering your face with a mask frequently makes the skin more prone to inflammation, even using your regular skincare products can cause more harm to your sensitive skin than good. Therefore, cut back on the products that can potentially cause irritation, such as acne treatments with salicylic acid, aftershave, peels, and anti-aging products. Stop using these products until your skin completely heals as these can delay the healing process of the skin.
Avoid Applying Makeup Under a Mask
Applying makeup when wearing a face mask can clog your pores, laying the ground for acne breakouts and flare-ups of inflammatory skin problems, like rosacea and eczema. If you have developed a mask-induced skin problem, applying makeup can worsen the condition. Hence, either use non-comedogenic makeup products or ditch the makeup until your skin heals.
Keep Your Mask Clean
If you are using a cloth mask, the sebum, bacteria, and moisture can accumulate on the mask. If not cleaned, this may to a number of skin problems. Make sure you wash your mask properly after every use to get rid of all types of impurities. Use fragrance-free and hypoallergenic laundry products to wash your mask.
Use the Right Type of Mask
Using the right face mask can also reduce the probability of maskne. A mask with a breathable inner layer of soft cotton fabric is ideal to prevent friction and irritation. Synthetic material resting against your skin can be damaging to the skin. Also, if your mask is too tight or too loose, the chances of skin aggravation increase. So, choose a mask with a comfortable fit.