As if we didn’t have enough acne issues to deal with in our lifetime, here comes COVID and maskne to spice things up.
Maskne, an issue entirely related to the necessity of wearing a mask to prevent the spread of the COVID19 virus, is the new kid on the block. What in the world is maskne?
“Maskne” – or acne mechanica as the professionals call it – is pimples located in areas where your mask touches your face. Maskne occurs when sweat, oil, and bacteria are trapped on your skin while wearing a mask, creating the perfect breeding ground for breakouts. Sounds gross? It is.
We want you to continue wearing your masks so COVID can finally leave us be. But we don’t want you to have to deal with ugly pimples on your lower face either. Here are some tips to help you prevent maskne while keeping yourself and your friends and family safe.
8 Tips to Avoid Maskne
1. Cleanse and moisturize your face daily.
It's so important to cleanse your skin regularly in these times, but especially after being outdoors and in situations where you may have been exposed to the virus. With the increased frequency of cleansing, you’ll want to use a gentle cleanser and moisturize after each cleansing and any serums or treatments applied to protect your skin and maintain its moisture balance.
2. Protect your lips.
Applying moisture to your lips will help to eliminate dry, chapped lips which are common problems associated with mask-wearing. You’ll especially want to be vigilant about this during the colder months.
3. Skip the makeup when wearing a mask.
We know it might be hard, but give yourself the OK to bear it all and go makeup-free. Beneath a mask, makeup is more likely to clog your pores and lead to breakouts. If makeup is necessary, use only products labeled “non-comedogenic” or “won't clog pores.”
4. Avoid trying new skincare products that can irritate your skin.
Now isn’t the time for testing out new active ingredients. Wearing a mask for even a short period of time can make your skin more sensitive. To reduce skin problems, avoid trying harsh products, such as chemical peels, exfoliants, or retinoids for the first time.
5. Use less of certain skincare products if your face becomes irritated.
When you cover your face with a mask, some skincare products that you’ve used in the past may irritate your skin. Try applying serums every other night so your skin gets a chance to relax between applications.
6. Wear the right mask.
To reduce skin problems, look for masks that offer the following:
A snug, but comfortable fit
At least two layers of fabric
Soft, natural, and breathable fabric, such as cotton, on the inside layer that rests against your skin
Wearing a mask that offers a snug, but comfortable fit helps to protect you and others from the coronavirus. You want a snug fit across your nose, on the sides of your face, and under your chin.
A snug, comfortable fit also reduces skin problems. If the mask feels too tight or slides around on your face, it can irritate your skin. You’re also more likely to frequently adjust a poorly fitting mask. When you touch your mask, you can transfer germs to your mask and your face.
The fabric is also important. Avoid synthetic fabrics, such as nylon, polyester, and rayon on the layer that rests against your skin. These are more likely to irritate your skin and cause breakouts.
7. Take a 15-minute mask break every 4 hours.
Health care workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic have found that this helps save their skin. Of course, only remove your mask when it’s safe to do so and after washing your hands.
Safe places to remove your mask include:
Outdoors, when you can stay at least a meter and a half away from people
Inside your car when you’re alone
8. Wash your cloth masks after every use.
Many health care organizations now recommend that you wash a cloth mask after each use. Washing it also removes oils and skin cells that collect inside the mask, which could lead to a skin problem.
You can wash a cloth mask in a washing machine or by hand. Both ways remove germs and other particles. Just be sure to:
Follow the washing instructions on each mask.
Wash the masks in hot water unless the instructions say otherwise.
Use a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic laundry detergent.
After washing your mask, check its shape. If a mask no longer fits snugly (and comfortably), it is less protective.
If you’ve seen a dermatologist for your maskne, be sure to follow their treatment plan through to completion. As long as you stay vigilant you will continue to have clear skin while wearing a mask for everyone’s safety.