As if Covid-stress breakouts weren’t bad enough, if you’ve been wearing a face mask and noticed blemishes popping up around the bridge of your nose, cheeks and chin, you may be experiencing ‘maskne’. Yep, that’s right - breakouts from wearing a mask have become so widespread it’s earned its own label – maskne.
What is Maskne?
This type of acne is actually what dermatologists call acne mechanica, typically seen in athletes resulting from the heat, friction and pressure from wearing helmets or straps. That same irritation can happen from wearing a mask over long periods of time. The mask traps heat and humidity when we breathe and talk, and pores can become blocked by sweat, oil and bacteria. In addition, the points of friction from a mask, especially tight-fitting, can rub against your face, wearing away the outermost layer and making the skin more vulnerable to infection, inflammation, itchiness and flakiness.
Your Mask Type
When wearing a mask, it’s important to ensure it doesn’t become a vehicle for spreading germs. Surgical or medical grade masks, as well as N95, are generally recommended for healthcare workers or those at high risk. They are more traumatizing to the face, and also traditionally single use. Cloth masks have also been shown to play a critical part in slowing the spread of the virus and are becoming more common, especially as they can be re-used. But re-using cloth masks can become a problem when it comes to protection and breakouts.
3 Quick Tips on Wearing a Cloth Face Mask to help stop cross-contamination and help keep your skin clear:
- Wash your hands well before applying the mask
- Don’t touch the mask while wearing it, and try not to touch the front of the mask, wash hands immediately after removing
- Regularly wash your mask (after every use) with hot soap and water, a bleach solution is also recommended (please note, never combine Bleach with Ammonia, or Vinegar). If air drying, put in direct sunlight. If using a machine dryer, put on the highest heat setting as an important step in the sanitation process.
Skincare Tips for Preventing and Treating Maskne
Between working from home, or wearing a mask when out, many of us are foregoing a full makeup look in favour of a skincare regimen that includes skin-boosting ingredients such as Peptides, Antioxidants, Vitamin B5 and Hyaluronic Acid.
- Use a gentle, gel cleanser with AHA’s. Avoid over-exfoliating which can further strip the skin of its natural moisture barrier and actually lead to more oil production while lowering the skin’s defenses.
- A concentrated active ingredient serum, such as Vitamin B5 can help heal, regulate oil production and soothe inflammation, helping to prevent future breakouts.
- Layer with a powerful anti-oxidant serum, such as Coenzyme Q10 to energize the skin and build up the skin’s collagen and elastin for firmer, smoother skin.
- Combine HA pure into your daytime moisturizer to re-hydrate skin cells, fortifying the skin’s natural lipid barriers and protecting the skin against environmental damages.
- Especially on points of friction from the mask, such as the nose, cheekbones, and behind the ears, applying a protective oil, such as Squalane oil can help. Naturally anti-bacterial, the oil works like a liquid bandage over the skin, providing a protective barrier.
Finally, our top recommended product when wearing a mask throughout the day, is the HA Matrixyl 3000 Spray. Infused with aloe and natural plant extracts, the hydrating sprays come in four different sensory experiences – lavender, cucumber, rose, and orange. The perfect pick-me-up for hydrating and treating stressed and tired skin and the best part, hands-free application!!