How to Learn to Live with Those Face Masks and the Acne Outbreaks They Can Cause
There is a new name for a skin condition doing the rounds and that is maskne. It is attributed to the acne outbreaks that can be caused by having to wear masks or other face coverings - especially when they have to be worn for prolonged periods.
While this skin condition was initially found in healthcare workers, it is now appearing in the general public too.
Maskne is possible from different types of masks whether they are medical, cloth or paper and is more common among those professions that have to wear personal protection equipment all day long.
Dermatologists refer to the condition as acne mechanica.
What are the causes of maskne?
This usually occurs when the skin is confined beneath heavy clothing or bulky protective gear but masks have become a new cause. The early stages may just make your skin feel rough or bumpy but in time, tiny breakouts can become irritated and lead to inflamed blemishes.
The environment under the mask leads to sweat, skin oils and even bacteria becoming trapped, breaking down the skin’s natural barrier and leading to higher than usual moisture levels. The skin may not be able to function normally with high humidity and increased heat, causing pores to be blocked. Sebum can be trapped, encouraging bacterial growth and eventually inflammation and spots.
Finding solutions to maskne
- Before you put on your mask, apply a moisturiser a good thirty minutes earlier to allow the moisturizer to do its work but so as not to make it difficult for the mask to stay in place. Our suggestion is Simply Face Oil.
- When you remove your mask, thoroughly wash your face - and do so very regularly, using a mild, fragrance-free cleanser and lukewarm water and a clean washcloth and not your fingertips - before applying an essential oil product that will act as a hydrating moisturizer. Our suggestion is Simply Skin Vitamin Oil.
- In the meantime, avoid wearing makeup on your skin until the condition improves. Instead, change to wearing makeup at and above eye level. Any potentially irritating or pore-clogging ingredients in foundation or concealer should definitely be avoided on the skin that is under any mask.
- Make sure to wash your face masks regularly – ideally at 60 degrees C, using a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic laundry detergent.
- Choosing the type of mask you wear. Obviously, if you are a healthcare worker you might not have any say in the type of mask but otherwise, look for one that provides as little friction as possible. At the same time, try to avoid synthetic fabrics such as nylon, polyester and rayon. A washable silk is a good choice or cotton which is a breathable fabric and more likely to be non-irritating for the skin.
- Getting the right fit is important too! It should be snug across your nose, down the sides and under your chin. If you can achieve a comfortable fit, this may well reduce any skin problems as one that is too tight or slides around can cause irritation. An ill-fitting mask can also mean that you constantly fiddling with it, transferring germs from your hands to your mask and to your face.
- Keeping well hydrated and eating a healthy diet will help too - including avoiding refined sugar and dairy where possible.
Take a break from mask wearing (if possible) for at least 15 minutes every four hours.
Acne is not the only skin condition that can flare up