Chances are you’ve heard the newly coined term, maskne, banded about a lot recently. Mask induced acne is a very real side affect being faced by many of us as we don face masks daily in a bid to prevent the spread of covid-19. It typically manifests itself as spots, inflammation, redness and tenderness in the area of the face that is usually covered by a face mask; your cheeks, nose and jawline. But what causes it? And how can we treat it?
As unpleasant as maskne is, its clear that wearing masks in public spaces will continue to be mandatory for the foreseeable future, but don’t despair – we’ve got the essential 101 guide to help ease discomfort caused by maskne and reduce flareups…
What Causes Maskne?
With face masks compulsory on public transport and in retail spaces in the UK, many of us are now finding ourselves wearing tight fitting masks for prolonged periods of time. In short, inflammation, tenderness and redness are caused are caused by friction in areas where our masks rub against our skin. And as we breathe into our masks, a build-up of sweat, sebum and bacteria become trapped, blocking pores and causing facial rashes and breakouts in an area already tender and sore. Unfortunately, sometimes this can lead to contact dermatitis and if you already suffer from underlying skin conditions like eczema can cause further distress.
How can we treat Maskne?
As with all things, there is never a quick fix, but you can reduce discomfort and prevent flareups with some simple yet effective steps:
- Wash your masks regularly! I know this sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised by how few of us wash our masks as often as we should. Ideally you should wear a fresh mask daily – we’re not keen on the disposable type, although we do recognise that face mask choice will differ from person to person with factors like occupational requirements often determining final choice. A mask made of a breathable natural fibre (like washable silk or cotton) is ideal, checking that it fits comfortably and is not too tight and restrictive are all factors which can significantly reduce maskne.
WE LOVE THESE REUSABLE FACE MASKS HAND SEWN BY TALULAH ROSE
- If you find wearing a mask is causing acne in contact areas consider switching up your skincare to incorporate a light, non-comedogenic (non-pore blocking) moisturiser. Using a good moisturiser that can penetrate your skin without blocking your pores won’t aggravate any pre-existing acne, whilst also helping to reduce the possibility of acne developing. Our favourite, natural, ultra light and non-comedogenic moisturiser has to be the award winning Argan and Orange Blossom Elixir.
- Try to wash you face thoroughly when you do finally return home and remove your mask and follow with a good moisturiser (as recommended above). Using a gentle cleanser will help to remove impurities which would have accumulated whilst you were wearing the mask without stripping and aggravating already tender skin.
- It’s also the perfect time look into your skincare regime and tweak where necessary opting for gentle skincare that can nourish and soothe inflammation. We love using our Skin Saviour SOS Balm as a hydrating night time balm. Its essential oil free formula is perfect for inflamed skin, whilst ingredients like shea, cocoa and mango butters, rosehip oil, honey and beeswax offer skin softening and healing properties, all helping to combat maskne whilst you sleep. Incorporating a super gentle face mask (the beauty kind!), like our Skin Cashmere, once a week can also help to calm redness and inflammation thanks to its natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
- If you find that you have to wear masks for most of the day, research suggests that taking a break, i.e. removing your face masks for 15 minutes every four hours can really help in providing comfort. But we recognise that this may not always be possible, please be mindful and only take your ‘mask break’ if it is safe to do so.