Not all acne is the same. The coronavirus era has seen a new type of acne emerge – maskne. According to doctors, maskne is actually a kind of acne mechanica – acne that forms due to skin irritation from pressure, heat and rubbing against skin, or simply when skin isn’t exposed to air as it should, developing roughness, clogging pores and getting acne-like (painful) bumps with continuing irritation. But there’s more. The prolonged friction from mask wearing can break down the skin barrier which normally protects the skin against bacteria and seals hydration within skin.
There are a few ways to tell if what you have is maskne. If it’s along areas of mask contact, such as the cheeks, the lower half of your face – in more severe cases the acne can look like a diaper rash in the mask area. The acne would look like little white bumps.
Under normal circumstances, if something is giving you acne, you remove it and the acne should go away right? Except that during the pandemic era, taking your chances with COVID-19 isn’t such a good idea. Wearing a face mask is one of the ways to severely limit spread of COVID-19. Medical experts have reached a consensus that wearing a mask in public is going to be the way of life for longer than we probably wanted. So wearing a face mask when you walk your dog or however short a run to the grocery store is still highly recommended (if not compulsory in some countries). But it’s not an all or nothing situation if you have maskne. Here are some doctor-approved tips to fight maskne.
1. Cleanse, Put On Mask.
Establish a face cleansing routine. If you wear a mask for hours, it might be a good idea, apart from the usual morning and bedtime cleansing, to find a moment during the day for a quick gentle cleanse as well. Use a salicylic acid cleanser such as Skin Laundry III as this will help to unclog pores. A gentle bedtime glycolic acid serum that works to unclog pores as you sleep is also ideal, such as Sleep Mode.
Always think of mask wearing in this sequence – cleanse, put on mask, take off mask, cleanse!
2. Moisturise with oil-free products
Protect your skin’s moisture barrier by applying a lightweight moisturizer such as Blue Orchid, an oil-free moisturizer which also contains probiotics to keep unwanted bacteria away. Wait a few minutes for it to settle before applying sunscreen and mask.
3. Try a different type of mask
Try changing to a reusable cotton mask if surgical masks are rubbing your skin too much. You should wash your reusable mask daily and not wash them with fabric softeners as these will leave a film on the skin and problems.
DOES MASKNE NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP?
If the maskne is serious and scarring you, it might be a good idea to seek professional help. Clinical grade acne facials such as Clear Blue facial and Deep Deep Clean go the extra mile to purge skin of trapped oil and debris. Angry and red bumps will do better with a visit to the doctor’s who might be able to recommend medical treatments to put a stop to these swiftly so we can all continue to wear our masks properly.