Maskne tips you need to follow during lockdown and beyond
Over the last year, we’ve all had to get used to living with the Covid-19 pandemic on a daily basis, and social distancing measures such as mask wearing have become normal parts of our everyday lives.
However, as well as helping to keep us safe from the spread of the virus, there is an unfortunate side effect from wearing face masks regularly – maskne.
Although maskne has been known about for as long as clinical face masks have been worn by medical professionals, it is only becoming more and more well-known as a result of the current pandemic.
If you’ve ever wondered what maskne is and how you can treat it, read on to find out some maskne tips in our latest blog.
What is maskne?
Maskne (or face mask acne) is the term used to describe a type of acne resulting from wearing a face mask. This is also known as Acne Mechanica and it develops in the area of the face that is in regular contact with a face mask.
Maskne most commonly forms in the area under the nose, around the mouth and on the chin, and can appear as a noticeable circle. It can consist of a mixture of blemishes, spots, inflamed hair follicles, irritation and redness.
Causes and risk factors
The constant friction of the mask material on your skin can cause irritation, so maskne forms as a result of the face mask being tightly wrapped around the face for long periods of time. This then creates an environment which is humid and warm, providing the ideal setting for bacteria to grow and clog pores. In addition, oil, sweat and makeup can also cause further breakouts.
People with acne prone skin may be more likely to develop maskne from wearing a face mask, however, maskne can affect any adult of any age, especially if steps are not taken to prevent it.
There are several things that can aggravate maskne including:
- wearing heavy makeup underneath your face mask
- wearing a face mask made of non-breathable fabric that is tightly woven
- not washing a face mask often enough, especially after heavily sweating.
Tips to avoid maskne
Although maskne can cause embarrassment, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s not something you just have to live with and it can be treated more easily than you may think.
There are several ways that you can avoid maskne and prevent breakouts.
1. Wash your face masks
It is recommended that you change your face mask at least twice a day and reusable ones should be washed on a high heat once a day. If you choose to wear disposable masks, you should use the ear straps to put them on and remove them, in order to avoid touching the face mask directly and spreading any bacteria from your hands to your face.
For those who wear two face masks at the same time, make sure to put the softer fabric mask on first. Both should be washed with the same frequency.
2. Avoid dairy & sugar
There is evidence linking high glycemic foods, like dairy, bread, pasta and sweets to acne. However, there is no evidence linking greasy foods or fast food to acne.
3. Reduce stress
Stress increases the production of hormones such as cortisol, which in turn causes the sebaceous glands in your skin to overproduce oil, leading to congested pores.
4. Skip the makeup
Try to skip makeup when wearing a face mask, as this enables bacteria growth. If you do wear makeup, make sure you only apply it in light layers. Make sure you take it off at the end of each day and cleanse properly. This means washing your face thoroughly with water and an oil-free foaming acne cleanser.
5. Use oil-free skincare
Oil-free skincare products are less likely to leave any unwanted residue in your pores and cause blockage. Contrary to popular belief, all skin types can benefit from oil-free formulations. Hydration levels can be replenished using water binding ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid or urea.
6. Avoid over-washing
Although it may be tempting to wash your face more than usual if you have maskne, this can actually make the problem worse by drying out your skin and causing redness and irritation.
How to treat maskne
If you are wondering what options there are for maskne treatment, especially if you suffer from acne or another skin condition on a regular basis, then visiting a skin specialist (called a dermatologist) can help.
In addition, a glycolic or salicylic acid cleanser can also help to keep your pores open and break down any oil in order to avoid them from becoming blocked.
Hyaluronic acid can also help to ensure that your skin is properly hydrated and a topical nicotinamide cream (also called niacinamide) can help to keep maskne at bay too.
Although maskne is an annoying side effect of mask wearing, the good news is that it is not something that you have to put up with, and it can be treated and managed in a number of ways.
For example, by changing your mask twice a day, not wearing heavy makeup underneath your mask, and cleansing your skin thoroughly at the end of the day.
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