In recent months, wearing a face mask out in public has become the new normal. If you've been wearing your face mask daily, you might have noticed a change in your skin. While regularly wearing a face mask can help protect you and others from catching a virus, it can also have an unfortunate side-effect - "maskne" (mask acne). If you've noticed new pimples forming around the area of your mask, you're not alone. Everyone’s curious about maskne and how to prevent it.
To help you learn how to prevent pimples or redness while you're wearing a mask, our Skin Health Experts put together this informative guide.
What Causes Maskne?
Maybe you’ve mastered how to prevent or quickly clear all other types of acne. And then along comes maskne. Before you can master preventing maskne, you need to first understand what causes it. When it comes to acne breakouts and face coverings, there are a few distinctive culprits.
Maskne, or "Acne Mechanica," is most commonly caused by the friction of a fabric mask against the skin. This constant rubbing is likely to cause micro-tears that allow bacteria and dirt to enter the skin easily and result in clogged pores. Inflammation and irritation from the mask also result in inflamed pores, which contribute to acne.
It's no surprise that masks trap in moisture. You've likely been the victim of a humid mask on a brisk walk that leads to heavy breathing and fogged up sunglasses or eyeglasses. This is because your mask creates humidity. Whether the moisture is caused by environmental factors, low-breathable fabric, or sweating, it can wreak havoc on your skin barrier .
Depending on where you live, you may be used to combating humidity and sweat in the summer months. However, masks open up a new difficulty as the moisture combined with the friction is likely to cause a breakout.
Dealing with maskne can be challenging. The good news is that it is preventable. Maskne is not a new phenomenon, as medical professionals have worn masks for years. There are many ways that you can prevent a maskne breakout before it even starts. Keep scrolling for our top 5 tips on preventing mask acne.
How to Prevent Maskne
1. Choose the Right Face Mask Material
The first step in preventing maskne is choosing the right fabric for your face mask. Most dermatologists recommend using a lightweight silk or cotton mask. Both gentle materials on the skin, these face coverings help minimize skin irritation. And because they are easier to breathe through, you'll notice less moisture, too!
2. Clean Your Face Mask
Aside from choosing the correct fabric, having a clean mask is the most crucial step in avoiding unwanted maskne. If you're wearing a reusable fabric mask, you must wash it daily. Though this might seem like a lot of work, even just an hour or so of mask use exposes your mask to thousands of allergens and bacteria that may contribute to acne breakouts.
Additionally, changing your mask based on the activity you’re doing can help reduce acne. For example, the mask that you choose to exercise in should not be the same mask that you visit the grocery store in. Keeping several clean masks on hand for different activities can help ensure a blemish-free complexion.
Lastly, when cleaning your mask, pay attention to the detergent you use. Washing your mask with fragrance-free detergent and skipping the fabric softener makes your mask more tolerable to wear. It's also easier on your skin barrier.
3. Start With a Gentle Cleanser
Aside from choosing the right mask for you and keeping it clean, cleansing your face plays a significant role in the formation of mask-related acne.
We recommend using a gentle face wash daily. Kate Somerville's EradiKate® Daily Foaming Cleanser will help keep your skin clean and calm, while also helping to prevent future mask breakouts. While cleansing your face daily is essential, you do not need to increase the frequency of face washing because you’re wearing a mask regularly. After you wash your face, apply a moisturizer for dry skin to avoid further irritation.
4. Use a Toner
Gentle products work best when it comes to treating maskne. Applying a toner to your skin after cleansing will help further close your pores. This helps reduce the amount of dirt and environmental contaminants that come in contact with your skin.
5. Use an Acne Treatment Product
If you've followed all of the steps above and are still having trouble keeping your mask and face clean, it may be time to call in for backup. To address the pimples forming on your skin, we recommend adding an acne treatment to your daily skincare routine. Spot treatments like our Kate Somerville EradiKate® Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment work to deliver powerful active ingredients like 2% Salicylic Acid. This formula also adds in Retinyl Proprionate to help increase blemish relief and help clear up maskne without blasting your entire face. Acne treatments also fight bacteria in surrounding areas and will help prevent further maskne breakouts from occurring.
Now that you know how to prevent maskne, it's time to start putting what you learned into practice in your daily skincare routine. For more acne treatment products, explore the Kate Somerville Acne Collection.