If you noticed you started getting acne right around the time that a global pandemic started and you began wearing a mask a lot, you are not alone. Stress alone can change your skin, but wearing a mask for any length of time is not something we are used to doing. Mascne is a condition affecting both men and women, and today we want to share different ways to treat it to help you get rid of the mascne that is plaguing you.
“Mascne” or “maskne” are terms that were coined during the pandemic for acne that you get around the area of your face where the mask fits. Many people get this from wearing a mask for prolonged periods, and it can happen to anyone — even if you don’t normally have acne-prone skin. And for those of you that do have oily and acne-prone skin, you could be having more frequent outbreaks than ever before. This is an unfortunate side effect of wearing a mask, which we do to protect others as well as ourselves from catching and spreading the virus known as COVID-19. So what can you do to get clear skin again?
It’s advisable to wear a surgical or an N95 mask depending on your situation. But those types of masks can’t be washed, so bacteria will start to build up inside the mask. You can wipe them down with alcohol if you are required to wear this type of mask and want to reuse it, but these masks are meant to be used once (which is, unfortunately, causing increased waste in landfills). Try tucking a tissue between your skin and the mask to help absorb moisture. But if you just need a mask for a trip to the market or to do exercise outdoors, you can try a cotton or cotton blend mask with multiple layers.
If you are wearing reusable cloth masks, which are a great option for their eco-friendliness, you want to make sure you are washing them with fragrance-free, mild detergent frequently. There are a lot of bacteria in your mouth and nose, and they’re all staying inside the mask as you breathe. All the moisture and sweat you produce is trapped inside your skin. So if you have to wear a mask for long periods, consider changing your mask out to a fresh one during the day.
For those of you that don’t have much of a skincare routine at all, now is the time to start. Cleanse the skin at least once a day — if not more — with a gentle cleanser and don’t over-exfoliate. You’ll also want to make sure your skin is moisturised before wearing a mask to prevent irritation and mask burn.
Even if you’ve never bought an acne-prevention product in your life, if you are experiencing mascne, you might want to give it a try to see if it relieves your bumps. Try a sheet mask with aloe vera as it can be calming and reduce bacteria on the skin. If nothing you try is helping you get clear skin, seek the guidance of a dermatologist or come into our clinic to try micro-needling or a chemical peel.
No one can see your face when you are out and have to wear a mask most of the time. If you are having skin issues, try skipping the makeup — at least on the bottom half of your face. Makeup alone can clog your pores but couple it with a mask rubbing against your face with added moisture from your breath, and it’s just a recipe for disaster.
An added bonus: Try upping your vitamin intake with help from this expert roundup.