As we approach our one-year quaranniversary, many of us have gotten used to the practicalities of mask wearing – keeping an extra one nearby at all times, the delicate placement of mask and glasses, and that double-back to the car when we forget our mask when running errands.
But we’re also dealing with one pretty pesky side effect we didn’t expect, but doesn’t seem to be going away – maskne. That is, breakouts caused by the built-up of bacteria and moisture and general friction of constantly having a piece of material on our faces.
Today, we’re sharing 10 tactics that can help reduce and improve mask-based acne.
1.Wash reusable masks often
If you are the reusable mask user, invest in 7-10 masks you can use all week, the goal is to get your reusable mask to a one-use-and-wash routine – but at the very least use a fresh mask every day. Keep an extra mask on hand always in case yours gets damp or dirty during long uses. We love Snug As A Bug Mask Storage Bag Set for keeping our masks organized.
2. Never reuse disposable masks
If you prefer disposable masks – throw each one away after every use, despite the temptation to use it again after a “quick wear”. Be particularly strict about this if you notice make-up or residue from your previous wear, as acne-causing bacteria is likely waiting to be transferred back to your face.
3. Don’t keep you mask at your chin when not in use
It’s become common practice when running between stores, doing drop offs with friends or heading on and off public transit to simply pull your mask down near your neck when not needed, although this is super convenient, this creates friction and added bacteria on your decolletage area, which can lead to frustrating breakouts.
4. Add acne-fighting ingredients into your daily skincare routine
Routine and consistency is an important part of a skincare routine, by establishing a morning and nightly routine that incorporates acne-fighting powerhouses, your skin can come to depend on ingredients that will help kill the buildup of bacteria that occurs from mask wearing. We love The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% because a few drops can be easily added to your current moisturizer, and it doesn’t break the bank. Plus, it now comes in a powder format for a more concentrated application.
5. Spot treat where needed
For pesky and stubborn breakdowns, spot treat overnight (or during the day if possible) to kill bacteria and begin the healing process. Make sure to apply a bit of extra moisturizer to those zones in the days following, as spot treatments can be a bit drying. Two of our favourite spot treatments are Meet Blume Meltdown Oil for Acne-Prone Skin and Origins Super Spot Remover Acne Treatment Gel
6. Ditch the makeup when you can
Even if applying make-up is part of your self care routine or helps you get ready to tackle the day, be strategic when you know you’ll be wearing a mask. Concentrate makeup on your eye area (think brows, liner and mascara), and ditch the concealer and foundation (yes, even if you’re mid breakout). This will give your pores a fighting chance at breathing, especially if you’re wearing a mask for hours.
7. Remove mask every few hours when possible
If you are wearing your mask for a whole workday, try removing and replacing your mask every few hours whenever possible. Make sure you find an area where you can stay six-feet apart and give your face a few minutes breathing time before suiting back up again.
8. Up your intake of acne-fighting foods
We’re big believers in healing from the inside, and while diet can’t fix every case of maskne, it can certainly give your skin a leg-up. Avoid foods that cause your blood sugar to spike, like white pastas and bread, processed sugar, saturated and trans fats and dairy. Instead, focus skin-supporting foods, luckily these are varied and delicious! We’re talking whole, unprocessed foods, colourful vegetables like spinach, carrots, sweet potato and oily and fat rich foods like nuts and seeds, avocados and salmon. Don’t forget to stay hydrated, as it helps flush out toxins and keep skin healthy and plump.
9. Support your skin with Supplements
You can also give your skin a boost from the inside with supplements! We love how many different forms there are, including gummy, which are easy and delicious to take everyday, and powder, so you can quickly add them to your favourite daily liquids. Our faves are Organika Enhanced Collagen Protein Powder Relax and SUKU Vitamins Radiant Complexion Rich Raspberry.
10. Consult a professional if the severity increases
If you’re giving it the college try and can’t figure out why your skin is reacting so poorly to mask, consider consulting a dermatologist. A virtual consultation can help to get quick tips from a professional about your unique skin and how to support your skin
Maskne can be very frustrating – just another one of the many changes in our lives recently that we’ve had to get used to, but don’t love the idea of. But, of course, the benefits and necessity of wearing a mask far outweigh the inconveniences our poor skin is experiencing. And in the meantime, we’ll continue to hope for a mask-free existence in the future!