Acne is one of the most common skin conditions treated by dermatologists and other healthcare providers. More than 90 percent of the world population is affected by acne at some point in their life. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a new condition emerge; “Maskne” (mask + acne). Maskne has become a problem for those who have to wear a face mask for prolonged periods. In this article I’ll explain how you can care for facial skin problems whilst wearing a face mask.
What it is and why it happens
Maskne, technically known as Acne mechanica is a type of acne that is caused by friction, rubbing and increased heat &/or pressure, which results in breakouts, increased oil production and blackheads. Wearing a mask for longer periods of time creates rubbings and irritation of the skin, traps heat and leads to higher temperature and humidity on the surface of the facial skin face from breathing, talking & or sweating, both of which can result in this condition. The combination of friction and heat causes accelerated oil and cell production, leading to clogged pores. In addition, the warmth from the trapped air behind the mask creates the ideal breeding ground for Propionibacterium Acnes – the bacteria commonly associated with acne conditions .
Ceasing all rubbing, touching and abrasion of the face is essential to successfully treating acne mechanica; however this year we have seen, COVID-19 pose a unique challenge as wearing a face mask has become mandatory in many daily situations around the globe.
Maskne skincare routine
+ Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse
Your face should always be clean before you put on your mask will as this prevents dirt and oil from becominging trapped on the skin's surface. It also removes excess oils and dead skin cells and reduces bacterial build-up that often leads to Maskne. A few of our favourite cleansing products that reduce clogging and have anti-inflammatory action include:
Nourished Daily Acne Cleanse Bar
Why? For so many reasons! This solid cleanser is formulated with Tea Tree Oil & Rosemary to combat acne causing bacteria. Added Oat Oil calms inflamed & irritated skin whilst Green Clay works hard to clear deeply congested pores and moderate oil production.
Solid cleansers are the latest in sustainable skincare. These highly concentrated cleansers have a high active ingredient to water ratio, meaning they last a long time & save money, this also makes them a more sustainable and eco-friendly option than their liquid counterparts. All of the Nourished Daily Cleanse Bars are also zero-waste thanks to their cardboard packaging.
Biologi Bc Refresh Cleanser
Why? Because it harnesses the incredible power of Soapberry extract to gently yet effectively cleanse skin. Packed with natural active ingredients that eliminate impurities and leave skin fresh, clean and clear.
This world-first single-ingredient cleanser is made from 100% Soapberry with naturally occurring amino acids, phenolic acids and amines. These natural actives work in synergist perfection to remove all traces of dirt without disturbing the skin’s natural oils and moisture essential for hydration and healthy skin barrier function.
Edible Beauty No.1 Belle Frais – Cleansing Milk
Why? With Organic Coconut Oil as one of the main ingredients, this cleansing milk is perfect for acne prone skin as Coconut Oil kills acne-causing bacteria and increases moisture in the skin, which can assist with acne scarring.
Sans [ceuticals] Goji Body & Face Cleansing Oil
Why? As ‘oil dissolves oil’, this Cleansing Oil helps detox the skin and unclog pores. In addition, this Cleansing Oil contains Vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant.
+ Moisturising is key
Contrary to what the name suggests, the skin problems caused – or worsened – by wearing a face mask aren’t always pimples & breakouts acne lesions. People who are already living with skin issues (i.e. rosacea, eczema) might be more likely to experience face-mask-related flare-ups.
On top of this, the prolonged covering of the skin and trapping of occlusion, heat and sweat can cause the skin to become dry, itchy and raw. It’s important to keep the skin hydrated with a moisturiser which will improve the skin’s barrier function and reduce irritation. Take a look at our article Caring For Eczema-prone Skin During The Colder Months to read more about this condition and to see what natural solutions and products we recommend.
Covering pimples and breakout lesions can be an important part of managing Maskne and your self confidence, but it’s best to take a break from any unnecessary cosmetics and to definitely avoid wearing makeup underneath a mask as it can aggravate your breakouts and prolong their lifespan. If you’ve got some gigantic pimples you really want to cover up, we recommend the Ere Perez Arnica Concealer. Arnica is known for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, so it not only covers but also calms the inflamed area and assists with skin healing!
Face mask tips
+ Make sure your mask fits properly
A mask that moves around a lot can rub your skin’s surface and exacerbate inflammation. In addition, it is more likely you’ll touch your face to adjust it and spread acne-causing bacteria.
+ Keep your mask clean
Reusable fabric face coverings should be washed daily with non-irritating soap or natural laundry detergent after each use and left to dry thoroughly.
+ Choose materials wisely
Cotton or polyester blends are fairly gentle on the skin and will minimize friction.
While wearing a face mask is rapidly becoming our new normal, Maskne doesn’t have to be. The Maskne skincare routine and face mask tips can help you fight breakouts and skin irritation. In the meantime, be safe and stay healthy!
Explore the Acne Skin collection at Nourished.