Maskne: How to Treat Acne Caused by Face Masks
With the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping the globe, we are all having to adjust to a totally new way of living including social distancing, more stringent hand washing and wearing face masks in indoor public spaces and on public transport.
Though completely necessary to help stem the spread of the virus, face masks can sometimes feel uncomfortable and restrictive when worn for long periods of time. You may have also noticed an increase in spots on your face, you’re not alone and this unfortunate affliction being dubbed as ‘Maskne’.
Can Face Masks Cause Acne?
Unfortunately, face masks can indeed cause acne breakouts. These acne breakouts are commonly known as ‘maskne’ and they are mainly caused by occlusion, which is when something causes a blockage in the pores.
This form of acne is called ‘acne mechanica’ because it is caused mechanically due to the friction of the face mask rubbing against the skin. This action can easily cause our pores to block due to the moisture build-up in your mask as well as sweat, oils and bacteria from cosmetics which can all be a cause of spot outbreaks. This can lead to irritation, redness and unsightly marks around the mouth and nose where the mask has been.
5 Tips to Prevent Maskne
Face masks are here to stay for the foreseeable future and will continue to be mandatory in most places around the world. You can minimise your chance of an acne breakout by taking the following steps:
Wash your masks daily
This is especially important when wearing a reusable face mask, particularly when wearing them for several hours. Fabric face masks should be washed at a temperature of at least 60 degrees in order to kill harmful bacteria and potential contamination with the Coronavirus. Disposable masks should be disposed of after each use and you should ensure your hands are clean before putting the mask on and only touch the ear straps.
Cleanse your face daily
Ensure you thoroughly cleanse your skin to remove all the impurities, pollution and traces of cosmetics prior to wearing a mask and afterwards, especially before you go to bed to reduce the bacteria transferring to your pillowcase.
Use a mild cleanser to prevent aggravating irritated skin and do not be tempted to wash your skin more frequently than twice a day. If you suffer from acne, there are plenty of acne treatment options available such as cleansers that contain salicylic acid which are brilliant at unblocking pores and helping to prevent breakouts.
Skip the heavy foundations
If you have problematic skin it can be tempting to layer on the makeup but if you’re wearing a mask for most of the day, only the top half of your face is on show so why not emphasise your eyes instead with adventurous eye make-up? If you must wear makeup, it is recommended to reduce the amount of makeup you put on or opt for a tinted moisturiser, BB cream or a light concealer instead to disguise the blemishes without overwhelming the pores. A product such as Skinetica is an ideal alternative to your usual foundation.
Drink plenty of water
It might sound obvious but in order to keep your skin looking its best, it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking between 6-8 glasses of water a day. Dry skin can trigger excess oil production, which could contribute to acne. Staying hydrated is a well-known tip for clearer skin and is no less important today.
Besides keeping your skin hydrated, drinking water is known to support a healthy immune system. Several studies show that by improving your immune function, you’re more likely to protect your body against infections, which could prevent ‘mask acne’ breakouts.
Don't forget to moisturise
Invest in a good moisturiser, particularly one that is water-based, this can help to keep your skin hydrated especially those moisturisers that contain glycerine. A facial spray is ideal for keeping your skin fresh and moist on the go and can help to prevent dirt and oil build-up.
How to Treat Acne Caused by Face Masks
Now that you know how to prevent ‘mask acne’, you may be wondering how you can treat the existing spots you already have due to the use of face masks. Despite having different causes, maskne and other forms of acne have similar treatments. There are different treatments you can try:
Topical skincare products - these are known as ‘over the counter’ acne treatments and they contain low doses of acne medication (e.g. benzoyl peroxide) which will kill spot-causing bacteria. The Acnecide 5% Benzoyl Peroxide gel is one of our best acne products and it has shown to be extremely efficient in the treatment of mild acne.
Prescription tablets and topical treatments - if you have moderate to severe acne or if you develop nodules or cysts, you should see a GP. Your GP will prescribe you stronger doses of acne medication or even antibiotics, so that your acne can be appropriately treated to avoid scarring.
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