Masks are here to stay - for the foreseeable future - and with these masks comes an uprise in the condition known as 'mask induced acne' or Maskne. So, what is Maskne and how can we get on top of it?
What is Maskne? Maskne is the skin condition that arises by wearing tight fitting masks to protect ourselves from droplet spread, and results in skin looking chaffed, irritated, with blemishes around the nose, mouth and lower face areas. This is because the chaffing and breaks in the skin, alongside the moist environment inside the masks from our own breath lead to a breeding ground for bacteria to multiply and enter the skin. If you are already prone to breakouts and irritated skin, then masks are going to amplify the problem. However - do not despair because a good skin care routine will help minimise these breakouts and irritations. And with masks being part of our new 'normal', it is more important now than ever to look after our complexions.
How can we tackle Maskne? We need to reduce the bacteria build-up that places our skin at risk in the first place. With regard to masks, ask yourself how often you wash your mask or replace it. Fabric, reusable masks need to be washed daily and left to dry thoroughly before using them again. Medical masks need to be worn for a few hours then responsibly thrown away. Environmentalists are asking that we cut the ear loops of these masks before we throw them away so that if they end up in the environment, they post less risk of becoming entangled in our wildlife and causing them death.
WE need to try and keep our own skin as clean as possible under these masks to help reduce 'pore-clog-up' which leads to break-outs. If possible, try to wear no make-up, or at least the bare minimum. A good tinted moisturiser that has water as the main ingredient will not further clog up your pores, offering you hydration and protection. Use of a good facial oil or serum will also help boost your skin health and keep your skin hydrated. Spotty skin does not need to be dehydrated so oils and serums are your friends when you have any form of acne.
Using a good cleanser is also vital to get all of the grime and bacteria build up off at the end of the day. Any cleanser that has lactobionic acid in it is highly recommended due to its keratolytic abilities to get rid of dead skin,unblock pores and heal wounded skin.
Supporting overall skin health is also vital to maintaining the skin's barrier function. Products that calm (such as those that contain aloe vera or rose hip) are ideal to apply to the skin, as well as those containing hyaluronic acid and products that contain Vitamin E will help support skin regeneration. Products that need to be avoided are those that can cause harsh abrasions, such as scrubs, because these will irritate an already angry skin and will spread the bacteria around. Gentle AHA's (alpha hydroxy acids) found in mild peels are the way forward with chemical exfoliation, rather than physical or mechanical exfoliation (see our previous Blogs all about ACIDS and also EXFOLIATION).
Combining 'at-home' daily skin care along with a monthly in-clinic treatment, such as a rescue facial, can help get on top of maskne, support the skin back to better health and help you feel better about your skin.