This year has been one for the history books, and the roller coaster keeps on going. Right before the pandemic hit, we never thought it would become the new norm to see people in protective face masks every which way you turn. One of our main lines of defense against a global virus, our face masks have come in all shapes and sizes. From medical-grade filters and surgical types, to the fashionable and mass-produced trendsetting fabric masks, it’s a comfort to see mask wearers setting a standard for slowing the spread. As a skincare brand, we know that one of the side effects of wearing a mask for long periods of time is what’s widely become known as maskne. Wearing masks for hours on end — combined with talking, sweating (woo, that summer heat!), or simply wearing makeup — is one of the easiest ways to create a playground for bacteria, and subsequently, acne breakouts. So, what can we do about it? If it’s one thing we know, black skin and acne can lead to more prominent scarring than fairer skin, leading to a vicious cycle of trying to get rid of not only unsightly blemishes, but the hyperpigmentation they leave behind.
We’re giving you some tips on how to battle the frustrations of maskne.
1. Wash your masks regularly.
An easy way to make sure you’re starting with a clean slate, free from contamination, is to make sure that you have several masks in rotation. Using a clean mask each time you need one will ensure you’re starting off on the right foot. We suggest keeping at least seven masks in rotation, making sure to wash them regularly — whether by hand or in the washer (both with hot water) — to reduce the possibility of a breakout. If you’re using the surgical masks, they’ll deteriorate if washed, so grab a pack, if you prefer those, cut the ear loops and discard them in the proper place (please don’t litter — we’ve seen one too many on the streets!), and use a new one, each time.
2. Wash your face before wearing your masks.
In combination with making sure you’re using a clean mask each time, keeping your face clean is another way to reduce your chances of breaking out. Some of our favorite acne fighters are the Squeaky Clean Bundle - Brightening Cleanser and Exfoliating & Nourishing Cleanser (everything you need, at your fingertips!), the Breakout Box 3-In-1 Acne Treatment Kit, to treat the aftermath, or swap one type of mask for another with the Green Tea Antioxidant Face Mask — it actually helps to prevent breakouts. If you must wear makeup, keep it light. Reduce your chances of clogged pores and extra layers of gunk, and you’ll likely see an improvement in your skin.
3. Talk to a dermatologist, if you’re not seeing any improvement.
If you’ve tried everything, including trying to take breaks away from others, so that you can remove your mask for some time, and you’re not seeing any improvement in your breakouts, make an appointment (virtual calls are available) to talk to a dermatologist. They will be able to give you advice based on your unique skin type, environment, practices, and concerns.
Maskne is definitely a thing, but it’s a thing that doesn’t have to get us down. Between creating clean habits, creating an effective skincare routine, and calling in the professionals, you’re well-equipped with some tools to make your maskne a thing of the past!