Suffering from mask acne? These 8 tips will help prevent and treat blemishes from wearing a mask.
We’ve all been adapting to a world with masks, and as if that wasn’t stressful enough, now we have mascne. You may have noticed more blemishes during this time, especially on your cheeks, nose, and chin. Mascne (or ‘Maskne’) is the lovely term created for this mask acne.
What causes mascne?
To prevent blemishes, it’s important to understand what’s causing them. Even if you usually don’t break out, you can still experience bumps or rashes from masks.
Masks tend to trap bacteria in an enclosed space on our faces. The bacteria we breathe out from our mouths can easily thrive and grow in that humid environment, resulting in acne or dermatitis.
The material of your mask, how often you wash it, and what you wash it with will also affect breakouts. So, how do you prevent blemishes? Here are 8 tips to prevent and reduce mascne so you can keep your skin glowing and blemish-free.
1. Use a silk face mask
At the beginning of the pandemic, my only masks were a polyester face mask and a cotton face mask. They were both irritating my skin and trapping bacteria, no matter how often I cleaned them.
Silk is one of my favorite skin-friendly fabrics (I use this silk pillowcase), so a silk mask seemed like the best bet.
The silk mask was immediately a game changer. The material is much smoother and softer which caused less irritation and blemishes. All of my masks are now silk.
2. Get more than one mask
It’s important to have several face masks to use on rotation. As someone who works from home and minimizes my outings, I have 3 silk masks. If you spend a lot of time wearing a mask, you may need more.
The idea is to have enough masks so you don’t wear them more than once without washing them. You can use the front and back of silk masks if they’re silk on both sides.
Having enough masks prevents you from placing the same bacteria back on your face. When you use the same mask over again, there’s a high chance you’re placing dirt, bacteria, and dead skin cells back on your face.
3. Wash your masks
Just like clothes, face masks need to be washed. Hand-washing your face masks is the best option, especially for silk masks. It’s important to use a high-quality soap because a typical laundry detergent with chemicals or fragrances can irritate skin.
To wash my face masks, I use my gentle face wash (code: plantivore) or a quality body wash soap like this one by Alaffia.
Pro tip: add a few drops of tea tree oil to your soap when washing. Tea tree oil is antibacterial and is often used for acne spot treatment.
4. Avoid wearing makeup
Wearing makeup underneath a mask can really clog pores and worsen skin problems (AAD). Skin already has limited air flow under a mask, and adding makeup on top of that doesn’t allow the skin to breathe.
Try avoiding foundation whenever possible under a mask. Instead, practice good skincare habits and use minimal makeup.
For a clean but polished look, I like to use concealer for under eyes, a little bronzer on my forehead, an eyebrow pencil, mascara, and lip balm.
5. Exfoliate your skin
Exfoliating your skin regularly is important, but it’s even more important when wearing masks. We’re preventing our face from easily shedding dead skin cells when a mask is pressed to our face.
Typically I exfoliate 1-2 times week, but my routine increased to 3-4 times weekly. If you’re noticing bumps or rough texture on your cheeks, it may be a good idea to try exfoliating.
There are two types of exfoliants – chemical and physical. Chemical exfoliants eat away at dead skin cells, while physical exfoliants slough off dead skin cells. Exfoliating schedules will depend on your skin type and exfoliation method (AAD). I prefer chemical exfoliants and do 2-4 exfoliating sessions weekly.
My favorite exfoliants are this face wash with salicylic acid (leave it on as a mask for 10-15 minutes), this pumpkin enzyme face mask, and this physical exfoliant scrub.
6. Use a toner spray
One of my favorite skincare additions has been using a toner spray. Toners with ingredients that are antiseptic and anti-inflammatory can prevent the growth of bacteria.
Try applying a toner spray after you’ve cleansed your face, but before moisturizing. This spray prevents pores from clogging and really helps calm the skin. I also use this spray with antibacterial properties to prevent and clear breakouts.
7. Try an LED mask
Counteract the daily mask wearing with an LED mask! An LED face mask is a tool to improve your skin using various wavelengths of light.
Try wearing it for 10-15 minutes twice a week on the blue setting. Blue LED light kills acne bacteria. It’s quite relaxing to lie down at night and wear the mask while listening to music or a podcast!
8. Manage stress, diet, movement, hydration
It’s important to mention a few of the main factors that affect skin in general. Stress can negatively affect skin and cause blemishes. It’s important to find practices that help you manage stress. Read a book, talk to friends, or try a new hobby.
Regular movement is a great way to manage stress. Whether you like to take daily walks, do pilates or yoga, or play sports, find your favorite way to move your body — bonus points if it’s outdoors. Sweat out any toxins and get daily Vitamin D to help improve skin.
Eat a nutrient-dense diet with plenty of vegetables, legumes, and fruit to help skin clear up and glow. Don’t forget to hydrate with plenty of filtered water for a beautiful complexion!
Looking for a skin-friendly smoothie to promote a healthy glow? Try my easy Nutty Buddy smoothie!
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