Maskne is just how it sounds; face mask acne is irritation to the skin and breakouts caused by wearing your mask for prolonged periods of time. It can appear as redness, itching, acne, rashes, perioral dermatitis and scaling in the middle and lower parts of the face. All in all, face masks are not good for your skin.
What Causes Maskne?
Wearing a mask provides the perfect condition for pathogens, trapping dirt, sweat and all sorts of nasty bacteria from your mouth or the environment in the mask. It also causes friction on the surface of your skin that damages your complexion barrier. To you or I, this means sore and itchy skin, and more chance of clogged pores, spots, blackheads and whiteheads.
With it being mandatory to wear a mask if you work in the NHS and if you’re travelling on public transport, the option to not wear one isn’t there. However, there are ways you can manage maskne; using the right skincare you’ll be able to deal with all your mask related skin concerns. Here are my top picks…
1. The Essential Serum
Product: The Ordinary Buffet
Skin concern: Itching, redness, acne, sensitivity, rosacea and perioral dermatitis
Texture: Tacky serum
• Repairs skin barrier
• Probiotic complex
• Hyaluronic acid
• Amino acids
Has wearing your mask resulted in acne, rosacea and perioral dermatitis? Well, an unbalanced microbiome may be to blame! For anyone unfamiliar with the term, the microbiome is your skin’s ecosystem of good and bad bacteria, which when overrun with pathogens becomes disrupted. To the naked eye, this may result in irritation, blemishes and more serious conditions such as dermatitis. As you can imagine a face mask isn’t the most hygienic of places, trapping humidity, dirt, oil and sweat offering the ideal breeding ground for pathogens that will alter the balance of your flora.
Don’t worry, though; there’s a simple way to rebalance your skin’s level of good bacteria. How? Using microbiome-friendly skincare containing probiotics (good bacteria), which can be applied topically to help your good bacteria thrive. One probiotic formula that does this is the best-selling The Ordinary Buffet serum. As the name “Buffet” suggests it’s packed full of nutritious skincare ingredients that will not only balance your flora, solving your maskne issues, but it also fights ageing, dullness and dehydration with ingredients like hyaluronic acid and strings of amino acids!
2. The Unclogging Toner
Skin concern: Acne, oiliness, blackheads, whiteheads, blocked pores, excess oil and enlarged pores.
Texture: Watery lotion
• Removes excess sebum, oil and dirt
• Unclogs pores
• Reduces breakouts
• Exfoliates dead skin cells
• Tighten pores
• Sebo-regulating active ingredients
• Micro-exfoliating LHA (Lipo-Hydroxy Acid)
There is a vast amount of research that’ll support me when I say that if you have oily skin or suffer from any type of acne, including maskne the skincare ingredient you should use is salicylic acid. Why? Salicylic acids will exfoliate any dead skin cells, clean clogged pores and remove any excess oil that’s been trapped under your mask and causes breakouts.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar – Astringent Micro-Exfoliant Lotion is a toner that will smooth and get to the root of the cause of your blemishes using micro-exfoliating LHA (Lipo-Hydroxy Acid) properties. Ok – so it’s not called salicylic acid, but it is a superior derivative, which does the same thing but has actually been designed especially to fight acne (so it is a little bit better than that). As soon as your mask comes off, cleanse then using a cotton pad apply a few swipes of this over the affected areas, chin, bridge of your nose and cheeks. It will clear whiteheads and blackheads and remove any excess oil and dead skin ensuring you keep your maskne at bay or keep it gone for good!
3. The Protective Day Cream
Skin concern: Hypersensitivity, itching, irritation, dryness, rosacea and perioral dermatitis
Texture: Lightweight cream
• Strengthens skin barrier
• Reduces hypersensitivity
Wearing masks all day can mean a lot of rubbing, digging in and abrasion, which can cause skin barrier defects, aggravating nerves, resulting in inflammation, making your skin feel hypersensitive. Sore, uncomfortable, stinging burning and itchy sensation with no redness, is unpleasant at the best times, let alone under a mask. For anyone struggling with hypersensitivity, you can use a formula that’s specially formulated to strengthen your skin’s barrier to prevent it from happening or soothe existing irritation.
Eucerin Ultra Sensitive Soothing Care Normal to Combination Skin does just that with a formula that tackles every aspect of your inflammation, starting with barrier defects, then nerve fibre hyperresponsiveness and finally, stress inflammation. Light and creamy, the non-comedogenic formula contains a SymSitive complex that reduces your skin’s reactivity from the get-go and won’t clog your pores either causing any further irritation in that area. After application, your skin will feel calmer, and although you may not enjoy wearing your mask, at least your skin will feel comfortable while you do it!
4. The SOS Spot Cream
Skin concern: Acne, whiteheads, blackheads, blocked pores, excess oil and enlarged pores.
Texture: Lightweight milk serum
• Regulates sebum protection
• Shrinks pores
• Avene Thermal Spring Water (67.5%)
• Comedoclastin (25%)
What if I told you I could prevent your maskne before it becomes a problem? Avene Cleanance Comedomed Anti-Blemishes Concentrate is an innovative formula that has been released this year and it’s pretty special. Part of Avene’s Cleanance range designed for fighting all signs of blemishes before they form. The formula zaps excess sebum thanks to 25% comedoclastin, a patented natural active, which prevents oil from getting into your pores and causing spots.
When you pump out this formula you’d be forgiven for thinking that it won’t be gentle because of its effect on blemishes and alcohol-like scent. But, it’s not, it’s the opposite of that; with a soothing formula containing 67.5% Avene Thermal Spring Water, it’s no wonder this formula is so hydrating, calming and cooling on first application. The milky-gel feels so light and soothing, and can be applied to your under mask areas before you put it on, under makeup or on bare skin.