The COVID-19 crisis is reshaping our world as it continues to unfold. It has brought a new normal and new challenges. Wearing masks has now become part of our daily routines and while that mitigates the spread of COVID-19, some of us are disclosing a new issue, “maskne”.
Maskne – medically known as acne mechanica – is acne triggered by excess heat, humidity pressure, friction or rubbing of the skin from wearing and breathing in a face mask for hours.
How can you prevent and treat maskne?
- 1. Reconsider the fabric of your mask
Avoid fabrics made with synthetic dyes or chemicals. Silk, satin and cotton masks should become your best friend. Silk and satin are gentle fabrics that reduce friction and cotton is breathable and will keep the moisture and heat caused by the mask minimal.
- 2. Practice good mask hygiene
“You need to treat it [face mask] like underwear and wash it frequently,” said Dr. Candrice Heath, an assistant professor of dermatology at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University.
And for those who use disposable masks, try to replace them as often as possible.
- 3. Ditch the makeup
You might want to reconsider your makeup routine. Foundation and concealer help clog pores, trap more sweat, moisture and oil in our faces leading to the build-up of grime and bacteria that cause maskne. Instead, opt for lighter make up products such as tinted moisturisers.
- 4. Wash your face religiously
Cleansing the skin is one of the best ways to prevent maskne before it even starts. With the use of a gentle cleanser, wash your face before and after wearing your mask.
- 5. Hydrate your skin
Moisturising is an important part in fighting acne as it will build back up the compromised skin barrier. Do not use too many harsh ingredients such as acids and retinols as they can increase skin irritation. Look for products with hyaluronic acid and ceramides as they protect the skin barrier and offer hydration. Furthermore, moisturised skin can also minimise friction as moisturisers create a protective layer.