For many of us, wearing a mask or other face-covering has unfortunately become a part of everyday life. Aside from being uncomfortable, wearing a mask for prolonged periods of time can also irritate your skin and may even lead to the dreaded mask acne (also known as “maskne”). By having a better understanding of what causes maskne and how to combat it, you can achieve clearer skin—even if you spend the majority of your day in a face covering.
What Causes Maskne, Anyway?
There is a specific type of acne that is actually caused or exacerbated by friction or pressure on the skin, which is exactly what can happen when you wear a mask for extended periods of time. This type of acne is known by the scientific name of acne mechanica.
When you wear a mask, especially in humid and/or hot conditions, sweat and bacteria can build up on your skin and cause pores to become clogged. Over time, this can result in the appearance of pimples or small cysts on the skin. Even in cooler conditions, when your skin tends to be drier, friction from your mask rubbing up against your face can cause hair follicles to break. This, in turn, allows bacteria to more readily enter the skin and cause acne.
What Can You Do About Maskne?
As frustrating as it can be to experience maskne, the good news is that there are steps you can take to minimize its appearance and achieve clearer skin.
First and foremost, make sure the mask you’re wearing is clean. Swapping out disposable masks at least once every couple of days (or more, depending on how often you’re wearing it) is the best way to keep your skin free of acne-causing bacteria. If you wear a reusable mask, make sure you’re taking the time to wash it regularly. Ideally, you’ll want to stick to a clean-and-free detergent to reduce the risk of allergic reaction or skin irritation.
Now is also a good time to update your skincare routine. Get into the habit of washing your face before you put your mask on and after you remove it. This is a great way to get rid of bacteria that would otherwise make its way into your pores and cause acne. Just be sure to stick to a gentle cleanser that won’t strip your skin of the natural oils it needs to stay healthy.
Exfoliation is also your friend when you’re wearing a mask regularly. There are plenty of exfoliating masks like our Smooth Move Mask that is gentle and will clean out your pores without drying out your skin. Exfoliating even once a week can make a big difference in the appearance and health of your skin. Just be sure to follow up with a great moisturizer.
Speaking of moisture, staying properly hydrated not only works wonders for your skin, but will keep you feeling your best while you’re out and about with your mask on. Aim to consume at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day. This means if you weigh 150 pounds, your goal should be to drink at least 75 ounces of water a day.
The Bottom Line on Maskne
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as though mask-wearing will be disappearing from our daily routines anytime soon. The good news, though, is that with the right skincare routine and mask-wearing habits, you can protect your skin from that dreaded maskne!