As COVID-19 nears its one year anniversary, wearing a mask has become a daily reality for many of us. We fully support all the precautions being taken in public spaces, but our skin has taken a beating during this time. Remember the days when we could stand shoulder to shoulder in a crowd of barefaced people without any consequences? Well, we’re all facing a new age, and with that, we need to add new steps to our skincare regimen.
What is maskne?
Maskne is facial acne caused by the friction pressure, and rubbing of your mask. Even those blessed with good skin are getting maskne flare-ups, and for people already suffering from oily skin, acne, or cysts, it’s a disaster. However, since this might be a required part of our future for a while, it’s important to get to know the different hacks and tips that can help you keep flawless skin through humid summers and dry, harsh winters.
1. All masks are NOT created equal!
The material of your mask is very important, even though the blue surgical masks are the most readily available. Disposable options are usually made to fit a man’s face, and apart from being uncomfortable, they’re not made from breathable materials. Cotton is a good alternative that causes less irritation, but silk or satin textures will be the least friction-causing. In terms of fit, choose a mask that fits snugly around the edges of your face. This will minimize movement and hence that frustrating rubbing.
Also, make sure your mask has a wide bill so that it’s not pressed up against your mouth and chin. This lack of direct contact will do wonders for your face and help it breathe.
2. Wash up and skip makeup
Cleaning your face is the most important face of avoiding maskne. If you keep putting your mask on dirty skin, it will only spread more bacteria. Additionally, avoiding cosmetics will help keep pores unclogged and happy. Makeup causes enough irritation as is, and with half of our faces hidden, why are we still torturing ourselves?
3. Nutritious skincare
When choosing your SPF product, always find a formula that is non-comedogenic. Cleansers should be lightweight but hydrating, and a moisturizer should be lightweight and filled with antioxidants. The ingredient hyaluronic acid is a lifesaver when it comes to light-as-air moisture. As many matte products as you can find that aren’t drying, basically.
4. Clean your mask
Just like washing your face is important for keeping clear skin, washing your mask uses the same logic. Disposable masks can’t be washed and aren’t great for the environment, so get a few breathable masks that you can rotate. Wearing dirty masks means clogged pores and oily skin. Hand wash your masks in warm water and detergent if possible — look at the washing instructions for your specific mask.
5. Stock on-the-go solutions
These resurfacing acne wipes can be used before and after putting on your mask and provide a serious glow. They contain natural exfoliants such as Lactic, Salicylic, and Glycolic Acid which keep your pores fresh and clear. They wipe off bacteria while soothing skin with Chamomile and Aloe Vera.
6. Maintain oral hygiene
Our moms always told us to brush our teeth, and they were right. You might not see a direct link between tooth health and good skin, but the mouth is filled with pathogens and bacteria, so when you trap all that breath inside your face mask, every exhale is trapping that yucky stuff within your skin. Brush your teeth and floss twice daily — use mouthwash if possible.
7. Spritz your mask with toner
This might sound controversial, but hear us out: spritzing toner on your mask can help remove excess sweat, cosmetics, oil and debris with its astringent properties. Sure, this might work better when directly applied to the skin, but the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory power of many toners can help add another protective layer. if you’re looking to get more longevity out of your mask and don’t want to constantly be doing your skin routine all day long, this is a worthy hack
8. Understand if you have maskne or something else
Cystic acne is a painful reality for many, but it’s different from maskne. If you usually deal with extremely inflamed skin or cystic acne, we suggest not just following our tips but going to a dermatologist, since OTC medications can make these conditions even worse. This skin doctor may prescribe you anti-inflammatory cortisone or retinoids.