With mask-wearing being the norm, more people are experiencing acne in the areas covered by it. Mask acne, or maskne for short, is a very real problem that comes with frequent mask-wearing.
What causes maskne?
A few things happen when you don a mask–there are contact points on your nose, cheeks, and chin area that will end up rubbing against the mask and causing irritation to the tiny hair follicles on your face and acne flare. There is also increased humidity, which creates an environment where the P.acnes bacteria, the pimple-causing bacteria, can thrive.
Even if you don’t have pimples, you can end up with other skin conditions like eczema, dry patches, stinging, burning, or redness as a result of frequent mask-wearing. The ideal solution is, of course, not wearing a mask, but that’s not really an option during the pandemic so here’s how you can prevent maskne.
#1 Wash your mask
This is a no brainer. While you’re breathing into the mask, moisture is trapped within the fibres and creates the perfect condition for all sorts of nasty bacteria to flourish. Add that to layers of makeup, moisturiser and sunscreen, and you’re just allowing colonies of microbes to proliferate on your mask and face. Wash masks in between uses, and ensure that it is completely dry before wearing. In this case, it doesn’t hurt to actually own a few masks so that you can rotate them.
#2 Get ready earlier
According to Kim Kardashian‘s aesthetician Joanna Czech, it’s best to apply your skincare at least 30 minutes before you’re heading out to allow it to fully absorb into your skin. Skincare products that sit atop skin are more likely to get rubbed off onto the mask, which again, allows for bacteria to thrive.
#3 Less is more
At this point in time, paring down on your 11-step Korean skincare routine would be the best thing you can do for your skin. Stick to the basics–cleanse, tone, moisturise, and sun protection. Yes, you still need sunscreen even under the mask. With that much moisture while you breathe, the immediate area around the mouth and nose may not need as much hydration, so it’s best if you switch to a lightweight gel moisturiser instead. That said, there might be chafing on your nose, cheeks, and jaw area, so don’t skip out on hydration there. Your night-time routine should focus more on restoration, with calming serums that quell inflammation, and moisturiser that strengthens skin’s barrier functions.