Not all heroes wear capes.
We all can do our bit by wearing masks to protect both ourselves and the people around us, and if that doesn't make us heroes, then I don't know what does.
Wearing masks is the new normal but wearing masks for prolonged periods can cause skin irritations, acne, abrasions, redness, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and even cuts or scratches and that adds a new word to the 2020 dictionary: Maskne.
What Is Maskne?
Masks + Acne = Maskne
Maskne is the name given to acne breakouts caused around the jawline, cheeks, and mouth due to wearing masks.
The medical terms for maskne include acne mechanica, periorificial dermatitis, and irritant contact dermatitis.
What Causes Maskne?
- Clogged pores
- Bacterial infection
- Hot weather
- Cold weather
Oil, moisture, sweat, and grime trapped under the mask results in clogged pores on the facial skin. This leads to conditions like acne, rosacea, and eczema.
The humidity during hot weather makes the skin more oily, moist, and sweaty while the cold weather makes the skin dry and flaky. Both make the acne breakouts worse.
d by the mask's fabric rubbing, pulling, or pushing again the delicate facial skin causes irritation and inflammation and rashes.
Propionibacterium acnes or P. acnes are acne-causing bacterias that trigger breakouts on the infected skin.
Breathing in our masks for hours at a stretch trap in the hot air which causes suffocation and irritation can also lead to maskne.
[Also Read: The Ultimate Guide You Need To Get Rid Of Acne]
Maskne Skincare & Prevention Tips
1. Use Good Quality Masks
Do not use masks made of synthetic material. Thicker and denser masks filter better but can cause breathing difficulties.
Opt for 100% cotton masks that have layers for filtering the air. Cotton is lightweight, lets the skin breathe, and also absorbs sweat.
Silk marks are great too. Silk masks are gentle on the skin but they can be quite expensive.
Choose a mask that fits you properly but isn't too tight either.
2. Wash Your Masks
Masks collect oil, grime, sweat, and dust daily hence they need to be washed thoroughly after use. It is better to use one mask per day. Buy a few extra masks so you can rotate them regularly.
Wash your masks between uses with warm water, detergent, and a little vinegar. Dry your masks under the sun since sunlight is the best disinfectant.
3. Keep Your Hands Off
Resist the temptation of touching your acne. Touching, poking and prodding will only make the infection worse and can spread it to other areas.
It can also cause unwanted cuts, scratches, bruises and you will end up with a scar or mark.
Wrap an ice cube in a thin cotton cloth and hold the ice pack on your acne infected area. This will soothe the area and reduce inflammation. It will also calm irritated skin and help keep your hands away from your face.
Wash your face before you put on your mask. Cleanse your face using a mild soap or face wash. Rub gently using circular motions to remove all traces of oil, sweat, and dirt trapped on the skin surface.
Wash your face once again when you finally take off your mask for the day. Do not use soaps or cleansers containing alcohol, sulfate, or artificial fragrance as these can irritate sensitive skin. Use organic soaps that are gentle on the skin.
Cleansers containing Salicylic Acid work really well for acne-affected skin. Salicylic Acid prevents pores from getting clogged up and also helps cleanse clogs that have already formed.
Make sure to moisturize your face after cleansing. A good moisturizer will nourish your skin and act as a protective layer for your skin.
A good moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid works well for irritated skin. Hyaluronic Acid is anti-inflammatory and soothes the skin.
Hyaluronic Acid contains adenosine, panthenol, and glycerin, which repair the skin and boost collagen production.
Moisturizing locks in moisture and shields the skin. Moisturizing also reduces friction caused by the mask. Keep your skin well hydrated, especially if you have dry skin.
6. Pat Dry
Always pat dry your skin after washing or cleansing your face.
Rubbing the skin with a piece of fabric can cause friction and irritation which might aggravate sensitive skin.
Gently patting the skin dry prevents the skin from getting pulled or dragged. It also improves blood circulation in the area.
[Also Read: Back Acne: Causes, Home Remedies & Lifestyle Tips]
7. Skip Makeup
It is best to skip makeup if you are already suffering from maskne. Letting the skin breathe freely is very necessary for clear, healthy skin. Wearing makeup under the mask is really unnecessary.
However, if you wish to wear makeup while wearing a mask then just stick to the bare minimum. Use non-comedogenic makeup products. Opt for lightweight cosmetics that are not heavy on the skin.
Remember to keep your makeup brushes, sponges, and tools clean to avoid any bacterial infections.
8. Keep Your Accessories Clean
Our cell phones, earphones, eyeglasses, etc are accessories that come in contact with our face many times in a day. They contain germs that can cause infections in our skin.
Our facial skin is especially delicate and sensitive. Make sure to wipe and sanitize all the accessories that come in direct contact with your face.
Face towels, pillowcases, and bed sheets should be routinely cleaned.
9. Wash Your Hands
Keeping our hands away from our faces is easier said than done.
Despite being cautious our hands eventually find their way to our face. We also have to use our hands while putting on, taking off, or adjusting our masks.
We use our hands for doing almost everything and as a result, they contain dirt, dust, and germs which can worsen acne, hence remember to frequently wash your hands to keep them clean.
10. Use Non-Comedogenic Products
Don't use heavy creams and lotions that clog up the skin's pores.
Do not use oil-based skincare products on acne-prone or acne-affected skin. This will make the skin more oily and greasy and the acne will flare-up.
Always choose products that are labeled as non-comedogenic. Non-comedogenic products are specially formulated so that they do not clog the pores.
You can also choose water-based skincare products that are free of cosmetic oils that promote acne.
I stress, do not stress.
Stress and anxiety take a toll on the skin's appearance.
Stressing about acne won't stop or reduce it. In fact, stress kicks off a vicious cycle; acne causes stress, and stressing about acne causes further breakouts.
Relax and engage in de-stressing activities.
While maskne can discourage you from wearing masks but do not skip wearing masks because of this devil, try these tips and you will get clear skin eventually. Masks protect both you and the people around you.
Follow the tips mentioned above and take care of your facial skincare routine. Consult a board-certified dermatologist if your maskne persists or escalates beyond control.
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