What is maskne?
Maskne is the new term for acne caused by mask wearing.
The technical term is “acne mechanica,” which is caused by rubbing and pressure against the skin.
Sports players often get spots in areas where they wear helmets or chin guards.
Even if your skin has been blemish -free for decades, wearing a mask can cause blemishes, pimples, zits.
Here is a photo of my first maskne spot that I scratched.
I’ve also noticed whiteheads or millia around my eyes after mask wearing.
Maskne and wellbeing
Compared with bruises and bleeding from PPE and N95 respirator masks, pimples may seem trivial. Yet, the effect on self-esteem, mental wellbeing, relationships and perhaps job performance is huge.
So what causes maskne?
A combination of three things:
- – stress from the pandemic, combined with
- – breathing into a mask creates hot and humid air inside the mask. This is the ideal environment to grow bacteria and organisms
- – constant rubbing causes micro-tears, allowing easier entry for bacteria and dirt to clog up our pores
Before you reach for teen products to attempt to ‘blast away’ the zits and spots.. stop.
Even Dermatologists advise against blasting maskne spots with alpha hydroxy acids, chemical peels or Retin A.
Why because masken skin is already fragile.
By blasting away with harsh products you’ll end up with worse issues ( in addition to the spot) such as:
- dry patches that flake or itch,
- stinging or burning,
- inflammation .
So what do you do?
Here are my 15 tips to deal with acne, maskne and other annoying blemishes during the pandemic:
1. Wear disposable masks for one day only. No leaving them hanging in the car or sitting in your handbag or coat pocket.
They will soon be infested with acne causing bacteria. It’s the bacteria that cause the blemishes. Bacteria breed in moist places.
2. Wash your fabric face mask daily using soap and water – let it air dry. Have enough spares so that you don’t re-use.
You can make your own from old T shirts and pillowcases. Look for patterns online.
3. Choose cotton masks as they allow the skin to breathe.
4. If you exercise or sweat in the day, then take off that mask and put on a fresh and clean one immediately.
5. Use gentle skin care products that don’t strip your skin of it’s protective sebum, or cause undue friction. Avoid avoid anything with SLS or sodium lauryl sulfate.
6. If your skin is really sore, use your fingers to rinse your cleanser – no buff puff, no loofa, no washcloth and no scrubby bits.
7. Avoid pore blocking ingredients such as cocoa butter.
8. If you wear makeup, avoid oil based foundation – ideally use a mineral sunscreen.
9. Use a light moisturiser in the day like Proposal in Paris
and apply it at least 15 minutes before you wear a mask. It will act as a barrier to prevent chafing.
10 Use lip balms or serums to keep your lips protected. I recommedn this one made with rooibos and lanolin
11. Apply your rich moisturiser/night cream in the evening and allow it to repair overnight.
12. Exfoliate once or twice a week with gentle natural jojoba or bamboo spheres.
This will allow your moisturiuser to be better absorbed.
13. If you do get a spot, do not scratch it. If it darkens, you need a special cosmetic form of vitamin C
14. Essential oils can be used – ask Wendy for a bespoke blend for your skin.
15. If your skin is feeling dry or tight, use a hydrating face mask
with hyaluronic acid once or twice a week
Interesting things about Korean Pop masks
Unlike the West, face masks have long been part of Asian culture, for blocking air pollution, protecting against spreading airborne viruses.
In 2009 cool Korean teens began wearing a particular brand of face masks as a fashion statement.
The ‘Sakun’ face masks wer the epitome of cool and mysterious. Plus a convenient way to hide the embarrassing teen zits that were not hidden by a long fringe.