‘Maskne’, or mask related acne, is a real thing, and you’re not alone if you’re noticing a few extra bumps and irritation pop up lately. While easily covered by the mask, there are many practical ways to prevent and treat maskne to keep your skin health in check while doing your bit to help protect the community.
What causes maskne
Maskne, or any acne really, forms due to two main factors 1) clogged pores and 2) a build up of excess oil and bacteria.
Wearing masks for extended periods of time creates a warm and humid environment, which causes most of us to sweat a little more and produce more natural oils. It’s also the perfect breading ground for bacteria and before you know it you have angry clogged pores and breakouts all over your chin.
The constant rubbing of the masks, coupled with certain synthetic fabrics can also be incredibly irritating on the skin and can cause micro-tears, associated redness, rosacea and, in some extreme cases, contact dermatitis.
Even if you’re not prone to breakouts and irritation normally, if you’re following the guidelines and wearing a mask frequently it is probably time to incorporate some simple, practical steps to your skincare routine to help prevent maskne from ‘popping’ up.
How to prevent and treat maskne
Wash your masks often – How often do you change your underwear? Hoping that once or twice a day was your answer, the same goes for your mask! Wash your masks frequently with hot water to remove bacteria and other pollution and grime. Don’t leave them in the bottom of your handbag either. Fresh is best ☺
Be picky about your mask– And I don’t just mean pick the cute ones. Select your masks based on material. Ones with a soft and gentle natural fibre inner layer are best (like cotton or bamboo) as these will be a lot more breathable, gentle on the skin and less likely to cause irritation.
Cleanse gently– Double cleanse your face, twice a day. Opt for gentle cleansers as harsh, drying cleansers can strip your skin of too much of its natural hydration, which will stimulate overproduction from your oil glands, and the acne cycle continues! Stripping cleanses also damage your skin's barrier protection, which can make your skin more prone to sensitivity and irritation. Instead, choose gentle, pH neutral cleansers. Cleansing oils and balms, such as the SEEH Skincare CLEANSE Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm, are pH neutral and are great at balancing our skin’s natural oil production levels.
Exfoliate routinely - You have a few options here – chemical and physical exfoliation! Physical exfoliation works on the surface of the skin, while chemical exfoliation works at a deeper level so we always recommend a combination of both. Exfoliation can both prevent and treat existing acne, by removing dead skin cells, unclogging blocked pores and promoting skin cell turnover.
For a customisable physical exfoliation check out the SEEH Skincare CLEANSE SMOOTH Duo. Or for a creamy clay mask that is packed full of gentle AHA exfoliating fruit acids, try our SEEH Skincare CLARIFY Matcha Clay Mask. While exfoliating is key, don’t overdo it. Twice per week is perfect.
Go foundation free – Skip the foundation and contouring (let’s be real…no-one can see it anyway!) and instead focus on the brows and eyes. If you cannot bear the thought of going make-up free, opt for lightweight and water-based mineral makeup.
Socially distance … from your pimples– Lastly, avoid the urge to squeeze, pick and touch pimples. Aggravating your acne will only increase inflammation, delay the healing process and lead to scarring.
Maskne is both preventable and treatable and is not a good enough reason to stop wearing protective masks! Just up the cleanliness!