It's ugly, it's sore, and it pops when you squeeze. But it's not regular acne: it's "maskne"!
Though this condition existed before the coronavirus, more people than ever are experiencing exactly what it's like to get an acne outbreak just from wearing a mask. Although maskne is really annoying to deal with, it's certainly treatable, and you can minimize its effects if you make a few key alterations to your daily routine and choose your mask properly.
Let's break down how you can treat maskne and still stay safe from COVID-19.
What is Maskne?
The odd name explains it pretty well: maskne is just acne you get from wearing a mask, which is pretty common these days thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. But although the symptoms of maskne and regular acne are pretty similar, the reasons why maskne crops up in the first place are a little different.
When you wear a mask, you cause mechanical friction against your skin. That friction can rub away skin cells and irritate or inflame the skin. At the same time, masks push dirt and bacteria deep into your pores and create many of the same conditions that result in regular acne in the first place.
To make matters worse, masks require us to breathe onto a cover in front of our mouths. That means the mask material collects bacteria, moisture, and dirt throughout the day. All that stuff gets rubbed into our pores over time. It's no stretch to say that wearing a mask – although important for your health and the health of those around you – is awful for your skin.
Symptoms of Maskne
Maskne symptoms are about what you would expect:
- Skin irritation
- Excessive sweating on your face
- Blackheads and whiteheads
- Cyst formation
- Ingrown hairs
Most people experience these symptoms because they wear their masks quite close to their face or keep up the same makeup routines as they did before COVID-19 struck. Although millions of people experience maskne to one degree or another, there are ways you can treat maskne and still wear a mask responsibly.
What Can Help With Maskne?
Maskne treatment doesn't rely on you using a ton of extra products to curtail its effects (although a few key products don't hurt, which we'll detail below). Most maskne treatments are simple lifestyle changes or alterations to how you wear your mask.
Use a Cotton Mask and Keep It Clean!
For starters, look into wearing a cotton mask instead of a mask made from any other material. Cotton is comfortable and breathable, which means any irritation on your skin will be lower than if you used latex or another material for your mask.
Although cotton is pretty comfortable overall, make sure that you don't wear your mask too tightly. Wear it tightly enough that you don't have to adjust it constantly and it doesn't fall down, but not so tight that you push moisture from your mouth back into your skin.
We'd also recommend cleaning your mask frequently. While you can wash it with regular soap and water, cotton masks can generally be washed with your normal laundry. This gets rid of the dirt and bacteria you breathe out throughout the day and ensures that your mask will be clean the next time it touches your face.
If you can manage it, purchase multiple cotton masks and swap between them to minimize the amount of gunk and oil your pores have to live with.
Use Toner and Moisturizer Every Night
Your regular facial skin care routine can do wonders for preventing maskne, especially since maskne normally crops up as a result of clogged pores and skin irritation.
The key items are toner and moisturizer:
- Toner can help prevent and treat maskne since it cleanses your pores down deep, much more than a regular facial cleanser. It still gets rid of extra oil that your face might create over the course of a day to offset the extra debris it detects. Suki Skincare's Clarifying Toner is a perfect choice for clearing out your pores and cleansing your skin.
- Moisturizer is crucial to help your face recover from the cleansing effects of toner. It can also help your pores feel comfortable and soothed after a day being smothered by even the most comfortable cotton mask. The Cleansing and Moisturizing Lotion from Suki Skincare can do this and reduce the appearance of wrinkle lines at the same time.
You can already use both of these items every day, and we'd recommend it for everyone now that masks are mandatory in many locations.
Skip Your Makeup, or At Least Dial It Down
Many of us dedicated to great-looking skin also use tons of makeup. But while makeup routine is a staple part of our days, it's best to dial down on the cosmetics as much as possible. In fact, skip any part of your makeup routine you can bear to live without.
Putting on makeup means packing cosmetic material into your pores. While your regular skincare routine can normally clean makeup out, if your pores are already dealing with extra dirt and grime from wearing a mask, it might be too much for your facial skin to handle.
Consider only using makeup on your forehead or around your eyes instead of everywhere on your face for a good compromise. The good news about wearing a mask is that the fabric can cover-up many of the pimples, blemishes, and imperfections that we focus on every morning. This way, you still don't have to show off that embarrassing blackhead beneath your lower lip – your mask covers it instead of your makeup!
All in all, maskne is a temporary issue and it shouldn't be much of a problem for most folks, especially if they maintain a good toner and moisturizer routine. However, people who already have acne-prone skin might have serious trouble dealing with maskne. Follow all of the tips above to make your skin as comfortable as possible and prevent your maskne from getting out of hand. It's the best way to deal with this unfortunate condition while we wait for the coronavirus pandemic to end.