Yes, maskne. The term is as irritating as the actual condition of mask induced acne. As if you needed more stress in your life—in 2020 an unfortunate side effect of being a conscientious human is acne. Why do bad things happen to good people??
While we all try to safely resume public life, mask-wearing is absolutely necessary to stop the exponential spread of Covid-19. No one enjoys wearing masks, but I do enjoy my Covid-free existence and I would like to keep it that way.
Beyond the personal benefits, I also like to take pride in the fact that I am helping the front-line doctors, nurses, EMT and essential staff at the hospital by doing everything I possibly can to not add to their case loads. It's also a nice and simple gesture that shows you care about the people in your community. It's not hard; it's actually the bare minimum these days to do your part to stop the spread. So please just wear the dang mask.
No one enjoys wearing masks, but I do enjoy my Covid-free existence and I would like to keep it that way.
Anyways, if you're cool and wearing a mask on the reg, then you might have noticed some changes in your skin. The technical term is acne mechanica which refers to the mechanical friction of the fabric against your skin that irritates the tiny hair follicles that is then compounded by the moisture that gets trapped beneath your mask. The warm, moist environment under your mask creates an a Ozarks level pool party for bacteria, figuratively speaking.
Acne Mechanica: an acneiform eruption that has been observed after repetitive physical trauma to the skin such as rubbing, occurring from clothing
Thankfully, with a few adjustments you can regain peace and tranquility in your skin and keep maskne at bay.
10 SIMPLE SKINCARE TIPS FOR AVOIDING AND DEALING WITH MASKNE
1. Get a cotton mask
The natural fabric allows more airflow and lets the skin underneath breathe a little better. A tight weave cotton fabric from a shirting or bedding fabric is comfotable and offers a reasonable amount of protection with excellent breathability. And there's quite a few really cute masks out there to choose from.
2. Wash that mask!
Treat your mask like underwear. Get a set of them and wash them regularly—especially if you wear makeup. Putting a dirty mask on your face is the fastest route to acneville.
3. Use a gentle facial cleanser, twice a day
You want to wash your face with a gentle cleanser, like DIME Beauty Gentle Jelly Cleanser or Activist Collective Sea-to-Skin Cleansing Gel. Make sure your face cleanser does not contain SLS (Sodium Laurel Sulfates) that will strip your skin of oils that you need to maintain a healthy skin barrier.
Do not scrub your face with brushes, tools or even a washcloth. You need to give your skin a break from all that friction. Wash your face with only your fingertips.
4. Use a light moisturizer while wearing a mask
Skip the heavy oils and creams for your daytime moisturizer. The oils combine with moisture from your breath to create a waxy substance that will clog pores. Make sure the moisturizer you're using is lightweight and fragrance-free. We particularly like Alder New York's Everyday Face Moisturizer because it contains Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C and Oatmeal extract to soothe inflamed skin, or Kinfield Waterbalm Universal Moisturizer that's formulated without any oils, waxes or petroleum.
5. Hydrate with Hyaluronic Acid
Consider hydrating your skin with a water based serum that contains Hyaluronic Acid instead. All moisturizers contain some oil as it's the emulsion between water and oil is what creates the cream.
If you have normal to oily skin, skip the moisturizer and opt for a water based serum that contains HA which will help keep skin continuously hydrated.
If you have dry or dehydrated skin, using a water based serum with HA will help you to get by with the lightest moisturizer possible.
6. Skip the chemical actives for now
You might be tempted to dial up the enzymes and reach for your retinols to exfoliate the problem away—but please think again. You've got irritated skin and you're only going to exacerbate the situation by introducing more acids into the mix. So back away from the AHA mask save that for another time!
7. Vitamin C is still your friend
The healing and skin protecting properties of Vitamin C is a mild exfoliant that supports your skin by encouraging cell-turnover and healthy cell production. It will also decrease any hyperpigmentation and scarring that might occur from current acne spots. We highly recommend Activist Collective Vitamin C Superpowder that you can add directly into your favorite serum. Or the Active Hydration Serum which contains Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid and Pro-Vitamin B5 to soften and soothe inflamed skin.
8. Acne patches are your secret weapon
Pimple patches are amazing for quickly reducing the amount of time to heal a current spot. The discreet face stickers are infused with compounds that fight bacteria and soothe inflammation. Plus, the sticker protects the spot from yet more dirt and grime that can re-infect the area and slow spot healing time. And it keeps you from being tempted to touch it with your dirty fingers while it heals (I'm a picker, can't help it). We especially love DIME Beauty's Power Patch Blemish Aid—a skin savior!
9. Wear sunscreen and wait 15 minutes before applying your mask
Yes, you still need to use sunscreen. UVA rays that damage skin can penetrate through your mask and even the windows of your car. Don't think you can skip this crucial step! Just wait 15 minutes after applying sunscreen to put on your mask if you can (30 minutes if you're wearing an N95 mask).
10. Use a restorative night cream to heal the skin barrier
Wash your face with a gentle cleanser as soon as you can safely take your mask off and apply a heavy, restorative cream at night. Choose a product that contains Niacinamide, an ingredient that will improve cermide prodcution to help you skin naturally protect the skin barrier. Linoleic Acid found in sunflower or safflower oil is an essential omega-6 fatty acid our skin barrier needs but doesn't produce on its own. Use products at night that will soothe and support healing like DIME Beauty Restorative Night Cream or Earth Harbor Nymph Nectar Superfruit Radiance Balm
I hope these tips help you to adjust to this new normal we are all experiencing. Thank you for wearing your mask and taking care of yourself and others. Good things are coming, hang in there!
Take care & party on!