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In the age of COVID, one new thing we’re all now dealing with is something that’s called maskne. We’re all grabbing our face masks before heading out the door in the morning. Or at least you better be! While masks are our best defense in this pandemic, there’s definitely one small downside to them. Maskne. Breakouts under your mask from the build up of humidity, moisture and bacteria. But there’s a solution and ways to combat these breakouts.
What Is Causing Maskne?
Maskne is obviously a brand new term dubbed during the pandemic. It’s caused by wearing a face mask for long periods of time which can trap moisture and bacteria in the area causing your skin to breakout. This increases your chances of breakouts and also can result in more oil being trapped. This can clog pores and result in pesky pimples.
Also, the simple face-covering itself can rub and irritate the skin causing some skin issues. And lastly, the sole fact that we’re in a pandemic and our stress and anxiety is at an all-time high, breakouts are more incessant.
If you’re wearing a face mask and noticing you’ve been breaking out much more frequently around the area, there are several ways to fight it.
Choose A Cotton Face Mask
First, let’s start with the face mask itself. It’s best to go with a 100% cotton face mask. They’re more breathable (but still effective) which will reduce the moisture and humidity under the mask. If you’re wearing a polyester face mask, you’re just making things so much worse as this fabric can be more irritating and not breath as well as cotton. Cotton face masks are recommended by the CDC and you can shop my favorites here.
Wash Your Face Mask
It’s important to use one face mask per day. Especially if you’re wearing them for many hours at a time. Dirt and oil will sit on the inside of the face mask and putting this back on your face will just cause more issues. You’ll avoid more breakouts if you always use a clean face mask whenever possible. To wash your face mask, you can use a gentle detergent that’s fragrance-free. This depends on your sensitivity. If this is even breaking you out, try washing your face mask with your facial cleanser instead.
Add In An Exfoliating Toner
Toners are fantastic in that they exfoliate the skin and remove excess dirt and oil. A toner is used after you cleanse and before you moisturize. Find a toner that has an exfoliating ingredient in it like salicylic acid, or lactic acid. These will help remove that dirt and oil that’s clogging your pores.
TIP: If you’re wearing a mask for 8+ hours, it may be smart to bring a toner and gentle moisturizer to keep in your office. Half way through the day, tone and moisturize to remove dirt and oil that’s been building up.
Spray Your Face Mask With A Toner
This one comes from my friends over at COSMEDIX who suggested this. Take your toner (I use this one) and spray it on the inside of your mask. Give it a few seconds, because the ingredients can make you cough if you inhale it the second you spray it. Then put your mask on. It creates a barrier and helps to fight bacteria throughout the day.
Do Your Skincare Routine As Soon As You Get Home
Instead of waiting until right before bed to remove your makeup and wash your face, do your skincare routine the moment you get home. If you take your face mask off and just wait a few more hours to cleanse away all the dirt and oil that’s been sitting on your face all day, it’ll only make dealing with maskne worse. Get ahead of it and wash your face immediately. This alone should make a huge difference.
Wear Minimal Makeup
Anything to reduce excess dirt and oil is important. And not wearing a ton of makeup can help with that. Makeup can clog your pores and make things worse. Since half our face is covered, I say leave the foundation off if you can.
Do A Weekly Mask
If your skin isn’t becoming super sensitive, I would recommend doing a skincare mask that helps with oil and regenerating skin cells. I personally love the COSMEDIX Detox Mask which is a charcoal mask that helps with excess oil. And at night, I love to apply my Beautycounter Overnight Resurfacing Peel. This isn’t so much as a mask, but a nighttime anti-aging product that helps to regenerate skin cells and can help your breakouts recover more quickly.
Use A Spot Treatment
I’ve never had a spot treatment until now. But with a few extra zits on my face, it was time. I like this COSMEDIX Rapid Relief Acne Treatment with 2% Salicylic Acid. Just add a thin layer over your breakout and let it do its thing.
Photos by Hannah Lozano