What is "maskne" and why does it happen?
Wearing a mask in public has become our new normal, but it's hard to ignore the fact that it comes with some side effects, one of which you may be experiencing yourself: acne. As the name suggests, "maskne" is acne caused by wearing protective face masks. The technical term is acne mechanica — a fancy way of saying acne caused by something constantly rubbing against your skin, and in this case, it's your mask.
You'll notice these maskne near where the mask sits — the bridge of the nose, chin, and cheeks — and they normally appear in the form of breakouts, blemishes, bumps, or even just plain inflamed and irritated skin.
Related article: 5 Ways to Keep Your Skin Care & Beauty Routine Sanitary
How can you prevent and treat maskne?
The good news: Maskne is preventable and treatable! You can make a few simple adjustments to your skin care routine to combat these pesky mask breakouts, soothe any inflammation, and stop the vicious maskne cycle.
1. Double cleanse regularly: Start by making sure that you're double cleansing twice a day, especially before and after wearing a mask. If your skin is already acne-prone, it might also benefit from cleansers that contain acne-targeting ingredients, like the Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm Pore Clarifying.
2. Exfoliate: In addition to double cleansing twice a day, make sure you're exfoliating too! You can use a chemical exfoliant, clay mask, or an exfoliating cleanser a few times a week. For sensitive or irritated skin, gentle exfoliating pads like the Neogen Real Cica Pad contains skin-loving ingredients like centella asiatica, madecassoside and PHA which will also help reduce any redness and inflammation.
3. Hydrate & use barrier-strengthening products: Wearing a fabric over the skin, coupled with moist and potentially even heated environment as we constantly breathe into the mask, can result in wear and tear on the skin barrier. This is why you'll want to double down on hydration, as more hydrated skin tends to be stronger and healthier. A good way to add more hydration is to use a serum, and the Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Serum is a great pick for all skin types, and will help calm any inflammation while providing moisture.
Also, look out for moisturisers that contains barrier-strengthening ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid. If you're prone to irritation, we would recommend using a thick barrier cream like Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream not just at night, but also before wearing your mask to prevent rubbing.
4. Be picky with your makeup: Wearing too many products under the mask can cause build up on the skin. We would recommend avoiding any foundation, or pick non-comedogenic products to allow your skin to breathe. The Heimish Artless Perfect Cushion is the perfect compact cushion to be used under your mask, as it won't transfer or leave any stains!
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5. Use a spot treatment: If you're already experiencing maskne now, use a spot treatment containing salicylic acid, sulfur or zinc to instantly calm any breakouts. Check out the By Wishtrend Sulfur 3% Clean Gel, which contains collodial sulfur to helps absorb excess oil, remove dead skin cells and helps clear out any acne-causing bacteria. During the day, you can use an acne patch like the Pyunkang Yul Acne Spot Patch Super Thin to treat acne while serving as a physical barrier to the mask.
How are you coping with "maskne"? Let us know in the comments below!