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You’re wearing your mask, maybe even double masking, but now your skin is paying the price. Here’s how to prevent and treat the latest undesirable phenomenon in skincare: “Maskne.”
In the last year, we’ve grown so accustomed to wearing masks that, for some, forgetting to wear a mask can feel like forgetting to put on pants. While it was an adjustment at first, masks—even double masking—are now fully a part of our everyday attire; they have even made their way into the couture collections of fashion houses like Fendi and Alexandre Vauthier, even Kevan Hall who created a beautiful line of Kevan Cares couture masks (our publisher’s fave).
With the rise of face-mask wearing, we’ve also seen a variety of new skincare ailments on the rise, too. A new phenomenon, aptly named “maskne” by Instagrammers, is acne associated with wearing a face mask. Additionally, many people have experienced issues with dry skin, rashes and irritation due to long-term face-mask wearing.
Silver lining… we now have more time to care for our skin, too. In fact, studies show 22 percent of women have changed their skincare routines due to COVID. So, what can you do to keep your skin happy under a face mask and get rid of mask acne?
With the rise of face-mask wearing, we've also seen a variety of new skincare ailments on the rise, too.
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THE MASK MATTERS
Masks that are made from natural fabrics will often reduce the irritation on your skin. Materials such as cotton, silk and other natural fibers will be the most-gentle to your skin and don’t contain the harsh chemicals associated with synthetic fabrics. Celebrity aesthetician Amra Alihodzic recommends silk face masks, which have been rising in popularity for their gentle skin benefits and stylish look, as well as masks that incorporate healthy materials into their coverings.
Natural fibers are also more likely to absorb moisture caused by breathing, rather than letting the condensation accumulate on your skin. Another way to keep your skin free of fabric is by using a mask guard to separate between the mask and your face.
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Be sure to wash your face (and your mask) regularly! Washing your face with a gentle, daily cleanser is a great starting point to preventing maskne. Some of our favorites include: Cellcosmet Switzerland, Sisley Paris and SK-II. If you are a heavy mask-wearer, Alihodzic recommends using a face wash with glycolic or salicylic ingredients.
Re-wearing your mask too many times before running it through the laundry is also another common reason for breakouts. Facial oils, makeup and dirt get trapped in your mask. Putting that back onto your face can clog pores. If you have reusable masks, try washing with hypo-allergenic laundry detergent. If you’re wearing a disposable mask, be sure to swap it out often!
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If you are breaking out with mask acne, don’t make the all-too-common mistake of shying away from moisturizers. It is a common misconception that using moisturizer on oily or broken out skin will make the problem worse. In fact, many people break out from having dry skin! The American Academy of Dermatology recommends moisturizing before and after masking up, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Alihodzic also suggests getting a moisturizing toner to spritz and refresh your skin periodically throughout the day. If you have a 15-minute break from wearing a mask, use a hydrating toner, and also spray your face mask with a disinfecting spray for clean and happy skin.
It’s especially important to use products with great moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides and non-comedogenic gel formulas. Always look for non-comedogenic products as these will not clog your pores, ultimately preventing maskne.
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Isn’t this the remedy to so many things? Drinking plenty of water will ensure your skin stays hydrated. There are so many skin benefits and whole-body to drinking enough water throughout the day! A good guide is drinking the number of ounces of water that equals half your body weight. A spec of sea salt has been known to improve absorption.
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BREAK UP WITH MAKEUP
Johns Hopkins Medicine suggests that you skip wearing makeup on days when you are wearing a mask, at least on the lower part of the face. Give your skin a much-needed break and draw the focus up with a bold eye look—it’s all about the eyes. Your pores will thank you! Simple skincare products will replenish your skin while you take a break from foundations, powders and concealers.
No matter what skin type you have, wearing face masks means you’ve got to be a little more diligent about your daily skincare regimen to avoid the most common reaction, mask acne. Make sure you are taking care of your skin properly to avoid any major skin issues.
Stay safe and stay beautiful!