Treating your skin well is necessary for its health and well-being. Keeping it clean is a great first step, along with natural skincare treatments for common problems like acne.
Though there are many factors that can contribute to skin issues, today we have one particular contributor in mind. It may not be the new guy in town, but in pandemic-land, it’s increasingly more prevalent. It’s even been dubbed with its own cutesy name. Yes, we’re talking about the dreaded maskne!
What is Maskne?
The term ‘maskne’ (mask acne) refers to acne and breakouts that are caused by the continuous wearing of face masks or face coverings. Maskne has turned into a big problem for many since the onset of COVID-19. Yes, in the face of a pandemic, pimples may seem like a small problem, but the maskne skin condition is no small concern for the people going through it. You deserve to feel comfortable in your own skin!
What Causes Maskne?
Things like stress and lifestyle can contribute to acne, but with maskne, the culprit is traced to face masks and coverings that can thoroughly irritate your skin. Below are our top three reasons your face is vulnerable to maskne.
Your Mask is Chafing You
The reality is that wearing a mask for prolonged periods of time can be downright uncomfortable. It continuously rubs against the skin of your face, creating friction. This friction irritates and inflames your skin. Then the skin irritation and inflammation causes breakouts, otherwise known as mask acne or maskne.
Your Skin Can’t Breathe
Masks are supposed to create a barrier between the air and your nostrils and mouth. However, it also creates a barrier between your skin and fresh air. That means your skin can’t breathe and things like moisture begins to collect.
You’re Breeding Bacteria
Unfortunately, since masks trap moisture on your skin, this then creates a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. By blocking your skin from fresh air and holding in moisture, you’re actually perpetuating a cycle of events that results in skin issues like maskne.
Natural Skincare Options for Treating Maskne
There are several ways to treat maskne using natural, DIY ingredients you can often find already in your home. Some may be more effective than others, depending on how severe your maskne is and how your skin responds to these ingredients.
Honey is well-known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. All of these qualities make it excellent for both acne and maskne. You can incorporate it into your maskne skincare routine by using natural skincare products that contain raw honey in the ingredient list. Alternatively, you can make a DIY honey face mask to soothe your skin while killing off bacteria and germs.
Aloe vera naturally contains salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is great at fighting acne, as well as minimizing the appearance of acne scars. Ergo, applying aloe vera to your skin as a moisturizer can be beneficial and healing for maskne.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar, like all vinegars, is excellent at fighting bacteria and fungus. Moreover, it contains organic acids that specifically fight C. acnes bacteria which is known for causing acne. This means that applying diluted apple cider vinegar can be very helpful in soothing and cleansing skin suffering from maskne.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is famous for its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. That makes it quite excellent at minimizing maskne, while also being natural and gentle on your skin. Just make sure to dilute your tea tree oil before application and use some kind of carrier, like jojoba oil.
Green tea is rich in polyphenols which are very helpful in fighting bacteria and germs. It also happens to be soothing to the skin and is known to reduce inflammation. For maskne, try using cold brewed green tea as a toner after cleansing.
Maskne Skincare Tips
Remember that maskne isn’t that different from regular acne. However, since the triggers differ, that means there can be different ways to avoid it as well. By adjusting your skincare routine to cater to the new demands of your skin and life, it can go a long way in preventing maskne. Two vital things you can correct and see success with are below.
Non-Comedogenic Skincare Products
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to mask-appropriate skincare is to make sure all your products, especially moisturizer, are non-comedogenic. This will ensure that your skincare products don’t cause clogged pores and clogged facial hair follicles. Clogs like these are a major contributor to breakouts!
Water-Based Skincare Products
A second most important thing is to switch all of your oil-based skincare products to water-based ones. This is because water-based skincare products are much lighter and gentler on the skin. Oil-based products are heavier and have a higher chance of blocking your pores and not allowing your skin to breathe.
Products to Swap in Treating and Preventing Maskne
Trade Harsh Cleansers for Gentle Cleansers
As with regular acne, you need to properly cleanse your skin twice a day, morning and night. However, with maskne you can’t use harsh cleansers or it will simply strip your skin of oils and dry it out. This will have an opposite effect to the one you’re desiring and unfortunately, it will leave your skin more vulnerable to maskne.
Try using a gentle cleanser instead, preferably one that is free fragrances and sulfates. Fragrances and sulfates are known to irritate and dry out your skin.
If you are already suffering from maskne, try opting for a facial cleanser that contains salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is famous for its acne-fighting abilities. It unclogs your pores and also exfoliates your skin at the same time, which may help to reduce your risk of further breakouts.
Trade Physical Exfoliants for Chemical Exfoliants
Acne breakouts are caused by a buildup of dirt, oil, and bacteria on your skin. Maskne isn’t any different. Using an exfoliant regularly––at least twice a week––can help to unclog pores, remove dead skin cells, and prevent the buildup of bacteria and debris on your skin.
However, it’s advisable to use a chemical exfoliant instead of a physical exfoliant. This is because chemical exfoliants are comparatively gentler on your skin, while physical exfoliants could create micro tears in the skin, causing irritation and cracking. All of which will only serve to make your skin even more vulnerable to maskne.
Trade Heavy Moisturizers for Lighter Moisturizers
Possibly the most important step in any skincare routine, and instrumental in dealing with a variety of skin issues; moisturizing is essential. For maskne, it’s best to choose a light moisturizer. Make sure that your moisturizer is not an occlusive, but rather a humectant. Opt for a lotion-like moisturizer formulation, instead of heavy cream ones.
Trade Peroxide Spot Treatments for Hydrocolloid Spot Treatments
While you work to prevent and minimize maskne, it is also important to treat already existing pimples. One of the best ways to do this is to use spot treatments.
These can be benzoyl peroxide-based formulas, as well as salicylic acid formulas. However, if you apply these in areas where your mask touches or chafes your skin, these spot treatments could aggravate the problem even more.
During the day time at least, it may be better to use hydrocolloid acne patches as a spot treatment. These patches are designed to suck out moisture and debris from inside the pimple. Some hydrocolloid patches are enhanced with salicylic acid for added benefit. Even better, they can help protect areas with maskne from further chafing and rubbing.
Maskne is nothing if not annoying but thankfully, there are things you can do to help mitigate it or even prevent it altogether. A proper skincare routine is one of the best things you can do for your skin in the era of masks and face coverings. Oh, and don’t forget to swap out your mask or wash your reusable mask regularly!