Updated: Aug 3
Non-medical masks are now a requirement to enter any public indoor space here in Hamilton and many other municipalities in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19, Many of us have been wearing them before the mandate, (front line workers, I'm looking at you - THANK YOU!) So it's no surprise we are hearing complaints about breakouts more than ever right now. If this is something you're struggling with, say no more. We got you.
What is Maskne anyway? Maskne is a general term we use to describe the breakouts or congestion you get in the area under where you wear your mask. This could be anything from blackheads (open comedones), whiteheads (closed comedones), pustules, papules, and just a generally uneven texture of skin on the bottom half of your face. These breakouts are typically caused by the moisture and bacteria that builds up from speaking or even breathing behind your face covering. A smaller percentage of people may experience more of a rash situation around the mouth and this may be classified more as a perioral dermatitis, which may require antibiotics. You would need to consult with a dermatologist if you feel this may be the case.
The good news is that maskne can be treated fairly easily. Here are some tips to keep your skin clear, while we all do our part to stay safe from COVID-19.
Make sure your mask fits properly and doesn't rub against your face. - This can cause irritation and inflammation in the skin.
Your non-medical mask should be made from layers of natural fabrics such as bamboo or cotton. - These fabrics allow for more breathability, to help combat congestion.
Make sure you are employing a healthy and consistent skin care routine. - Cleansing and moisturizing at the bare minimum is imperative to keep the skin functioning properly and give it the ability to heal itself. Moisturizer will also help to act as a barrier for bacteria getting into the skin.
Wear your SPF every day. - Wearing a physical sunblock with zinc in it can help keep your skin healthy even under your mask, as zinc is an anti-inflammatory ingredient. SPF will also act as a barrier between your mask and skin, to aid in congestion prevention.
Consistently exfoliate your skin, preferably with a product formulated with salicylic acid. - Salicylic acid is a fantastic hydroxy acid that has the ability to penetrate the pores. This is the only acid with this ability, making it the perfect ingredient for a deep cleansing exfoliation. It is one of the best ingredients in preventing breakouts and congestion overall. How often you exfoliate your skin will depend on which product your are using. Make sure you check with your skin therapist on how to properly use your exfoliant.
Do not over exfoliate your skin. - You may feel like you just want to scrub all of the grime off of your face at the end of a long day, but this can actually be counter-intuitive. The more you disrupt the natural acid mantle on your skin, the more susceptible you will be to irritation and breakouts.
Cleanse your skin as soon as you can after your day is done. - The quicker you get the bacteria and buildup off of your skin, the less opportunity the bacteria has to breed.
Masque after you mask. - Masques with anti-inflammatory properties are fantastic to help with breakouts. Something cooling and with anti-acne properties are the perfect solution for inflamed, congested skins. You can choose to use your masque all over your face or you can spot treat any areas of concern. This will help breakouts clear up quickly.
Try a professional skin treatment - A skin treatment from a spa performed by a professional skin therapist is always helpful in treating any skin concern. A spa therapist will have products that have a higher potency of active ingredients than are available to the general public. Your skin therapist will also be able to craft a great homeware routine for you to help you reach your goal of clear skin, then maintain those results at home. Both a full facial treatment and quick resurfacing peel are equally fantastic solutions to treat maskne.
Make sure you are washing your mask every day or using a different disposable mask every day and changing it once it is soiled. - It is ideal to have multiple fabric masks so that you can switch between them throughout the week and you don't reuse them. Disposable masks, should be disposed of every time you wear them. By doing this, you will prevent reintroducing bacteria onto the skin.
Here are some fantastic products you can try to both treat and prevent maskne:
Clear Skin Willow Bark Exfoliating Peel:
This is an easy to use exfoliant that uses the power of salicylic acid to exfoliate deep into the pores and help to clear congestion and breakouts. Regular exfoliation will help to keep your skin clear and healthy, while aiding in deeper penetration of your following products which will result in an increase in hydration in the skin. Your skin will have a brighter, more even complexion and a smoother texture over all. This product is to be used after cleansing and before toner, serum and moisturizer.
Acne Advanced Clarifying Masque:
is a fantastic spot treatment for breakouts. This product also has salicylic acid in it, with it's ability to exfoliate deep into the pores, where the p. acnes bacteria (that cause acne) start. This masque is also formulated with different types of clay, to help to dry out excess oils and aid in reducing inflammation. Just put a dab onto clean skin in any area where you are experiencing a breakout and this masque will work it's magic. Wear it overnight for best results.
Mangosteen Daily Resurfacing Cleanser:
This is a gentle but effective daily cleanser that uses lactic acid to gently exfoliate the skin daily. Although a secondary exfoliant is still necessary, this cleanser will encourage cell turnover on a daily basis, keeping the skin's barrier functioning correctly and giving it the ability to protect itself.
Clear Skin Probiotic Masque:
This is a cooling, soothing and hydrating masque that provides fantastic anti-inflammatory and anti-acne properties and balances bacteria in the skin. The most comforting treatment after a long, hot day behind a face mask!
Lilikoi Light Defense Face Primer:
This incredible primer not only provides excellent SPF and blue light protection, but it is also fantastic to create a barrier on top of your skin to fend off pesky bacteria. The zinc in this product provide additional anti-inflammatory benefits, to keep skin calm throughout the day.
Make sure to contact your local skin therapist for more information about treating and preventing maskne.