What is maskne and how to treat it?

The past 18 months, there has been many struggles and, in an effort, to slow down the spread of Covid-19, wearing a face mask has becomes part of our daily routine. In fact, tucking one into your pocket before leaving the house is now as common as grabbing your wallet and keys. However, while they might be helping to combat the rise of Coronavirus, they have introduced many of us to a different kind of outbreak called maskne.

If you develop breakouts from wearing a mask, you are not alone. This condition, known as “maskne” (mask acne), is a common side effect of using a mask. Maskne does not simply cause pimples, though. It may also result in skin issues including redness, bumpiness, and irritation.

You see, when you wear a face mask you trap a nasty cocktail of sweat, dirt and humid air against your skin. And the longer these impurities sit on your skin, the more likely they are to create build-ups of bad bacteria.

In this article we will discuss what we can do to help our skin better adjust to this “new normal” which for many of us includes “maskne”. 

What causes maskne? 

Because maskne can involve various skin conditions, the exact cause of your symptoms may vary. In most cases, maskne is the result of clogged pores. You already have oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells on your skin. But when you wear a mask, these substances can build up more and block your pores.

A mask also traps humidity due to your breathing and sweating, which may increase the risk of acne. Another possible cause is friction. The material of a face covering can rub against your skin, leading to chafing and irritation or you may be sensitive or allergic to the material of your face covering. Some masks are pretreated with chemicals or feel rough on the skin. Similarly, wearing a mask that’s been washed in a scented detergent may cause irritation.

Tips on How to Prevent and Treat Maskne

Whether you've noticed maskne already or not, incorporating these steps may help to prevent more pimples from forming.

Wash your face regularly.  You first want to make sure your skin is thoroughly clean before putting on your face mask, and cleanse again as soon as possible after removing your mask each day. Start by making sure you wash your face twice a day, before and after wearing a mask. For best results, we’d suggest you grab the Lumin Charcoal Cleanser or Billy Jealousy Daily Facial Cleanser and gently wash your face to remove any light build-ups of dirt and oil and pat your skin dry with a towel. This helps to proficiently lift away dead skin cells and keep those pores clear.

Apply moisturizer and rehydrate your skin. If your skin tends to be dry, a mask may cause irritation. When your skin is dry, its protective barrier is easily overcome, making the effects of maskne even more formidable. Applying a moisturizer can help hydrate your skin. A moisturizer can also serve as a barrier between your skin and the mask. Do so after washing your face to prevent dryness and repair the skin's natural protective barrier. The Lumin Moisturizing Balm or The Bluebeards Revenge Cooling Moisturiser will help you build the barrier your skin needs. 

Exfoliate Regularly. In addition to your twice-daily washing, the two most important steps in your skincare routine that can help maskne is an exfoliating cleanser. First off, exfoliating with a physical scrub isn’t the best idea. This will just create more friction and that’s the last thing your skin needs after wearing a mask all day. Remember, irritation and friction are not friends. Exfoliating with our Lumin Exfoliating Rub or The Bluebeards Revenge Face Scrub (see also Billy Jealousy Exfoliating Facial Cleanser) just once or twice a week will help to draw out trapped dirt and oils from deep inside your skin’s pores for a cleaner, healthier complexion.

Choose masks wisely. Opt for a soft, cotton mask (if possible) to reduce rubbing and irritation. When exercising with a mask, sweat and friction are inevitable, so the key is to use a clean, dry mask every time. Then remove the mask (after you wash your hands, of course) and wash your face as soon as your workout is done, You can also grab the AbsolutMen Face Mask, which is light, breathable, water-proof, dust-proof, skin-friendly, and allows for the mask to quickly dry for faster reuse. 

Don't forget to wash your reusable mask after every use! You shouldn’t be re-wearing your face mask before it’s had a good wash! Whether you’re wearing a reusable or disposable face covering, it’s important that you keep it clean by replacing it or washing it as often as possible

Stay Safe, Stay Clean

Maskne, or mask acne, involves acne breakouts from wearing a face mask. Although maskne can be frustrating, it’s important to keep wearing face coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regular face-washing, moisturizing, and wearing the right type of mask may help prevent skin problems. Ensure you wash your reusable mask after every use.

If your maskne is more severe, or if it persists after trying these recommendations, be sure to follow up with your dermatologist or healthcare provider.