While the world is battling Covid-19, wearing masks has become the norm. Masks have been everyone’s simple contribution to preventing the virus from spreading further. Sadly, maskne is real and it looks like we still need to wear masks for quite some time.
What Is Maskne and How Do You Get It?
Maskne is basically acne that you get from wearing masks. When pores get clogged by oil, dirt, dead skin cells, and/or bacteria, this can lead to blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and acne to form. The size and severity of these blemishes depend on how irritated and infected the skin gets.
There is also a condition called acne mechanica. This refers to acne caused by heat, pressure, and too much rubbing on the skin.
Wearing a mask is just a bad combination of those two acne-causing things. When you have a mask on, the dirt, oil, and dead skin cells get trapped and get pressed on by the mask. Also, heat and humidity have nowhere to escape to when you are wearing a mask. These conditions are a breeding ground for bacteria growth and infection so you end up getting maskne.
How to Prevent Getting Maskne
Fortunately, maskne can be avoided and there are several methods you can follow to avoid getting it.
Here are a few ways you can prevent getting maskne:
1) Keep Your Face Clean
Prevent oil and other debris from building up on your skin. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser before and after putting your mask on. This will lessen your chances of getting clogged pores and other skin irritations caused by bacterial growth.
2) Make sure you are wearing a fresh, clean mask.
Wash your reusable masks after you have worn them. If you leave your masks laying around unwashed, chances are the bacteria and viruses stuck to them will survive. This will pretty much irritate your skin and promote bacterial growth when you wear the same mask without washing it. Dirt and oil can also get stuck on the surface of your mask and this will transfer to your skin if you do not clean your mask.
If you prefer wearing disposable masks, please remember they ARE disposable. Do not wear them over and over again. There is a reason why these masks are disposable.
First, they are only effective for the amount of time and conditions they are designed to keep working in. Second, washing disposable masks may wash away the protective layers they are made up of so there is no point in wearing them anymore.
3) Use the Right Mask
The material your mask is made with can have an effect on your skin. Try different types of masks to see what your skin reacts to the most. Masks made out of natural fibers are friendlier to the skin while masks made out synthetic materials tend to cause more skin irritations.
4) Do not skip your sunscreen and moisturizer
Wearing a mask may seem like you can leave out wearing sunscreen. But, your skin still needs protection especially if you are going out in the sun. Sunscreen allows your skin to keep its natural balance. Not wearing sunscreen can leave your skin parched and this will ruin the skin’s ability to heal and protect itself.
Moisturizers also helo your skin continue its natural process by keeping it hydrated and soft.
You should, however, go for more water-based sunscreens and moisturizers instead of those that are oil-based. As you know, oil can clog your pores and wearing a mask can worsen these effects.
5) Choose Your Makeup Wisely
Cosmetics can add to the oil and debris that gets trapped by wearing a mask. If you must wear makeup, go for non-comedogenic and mineral-based products to avoid clogging up your pores. It is best to go for lighter foundations that will allow the skin to breathe. Tinted sunscreens and moisturizers are also great products to consider so that you can wear fewer products on your skin.
6) Stop Touching Your Face and Mask
First off, Covid-19 infections can happen if they get into your nose, eyes, and mouth. So this is definitely a no-no. Second, touching your mask and adjusting it can put more pressure on your skin. If you keep adjusting your mask, you are dragging and rubbing the material against your skin. This will end up causing skin irritations and maskne.
7) Continue Your Skincare Routine After Wearing A Mask
Keep taking care of your skin even after wearing a mask. Use the right products for cleansing and moisturizing that match your skin’s pH balance and type. Starting with great, healthy skin will help prevent irritations that wearing a mask can bring.
Getting Rid of Maskne
If you are already experiencing maskne, fear not, it isn’t permanent and there are ways for you to treat maskne.
1) Use Over-the-counter Acne Treatments
If you have just a few pimples here and there, you can go for a spot treatment that can target specific areas or over-the-counter skin solutions. You can use products with benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acids. Benzoyl peroxide helps get rid of acne-related bacteria and salicylic acid will help unclog your pores.
However, use these products according to instructions and don’t over-apply as well. Doing so will only irritate your skin further.
2) Reach Out to Your Dermatologist
For acnes that are severe and if you are experiencing cystic pimples, it is best to consult your dermatologist. Dermatologists can prescribe anti-inflammatory and retinoid medications to help your skin heal.
A dermatologist will also instruct you with the proper application and frequency of using medication and skincare products. Anything you apply to your skin may cause irritation if you use them incorrectly.
It is good to do our part in the world’s fight against Covid-19 even if it is as simple as wearing a mask. Although it does bring some changes to the way we take care of our skin, our health and of those around us is still what counts the most.