Image courtesy of Glossy
If you're breaking out because of your mask, don't worry—you're not alone. It has a name and it's called "maskne."
The issue first garnered mass attention when healthcare and other frontline workers posted selfies of their skin breaking out from wearing their masks for lengthy periods of time.
Maskne breakouts can generally be categorized as "acne mechanica," which is acne caused by repeated physical trauma to the skin. Contact dermatitis and clogged pores are also reasons why people are experiencing maskne specifically around the mouth area and along the jawline.
Think about it—our sweat, natural oil, and bacteria are all festering underneath our masks. To make things worse, we're in the thick of the summer season and the added moisture isn't going to be doing anybody any favors. Dry skin types aren't exempt from this either. For individuals with dry skin, a mask rubbing against your skin can actually cause your hair follicles to break open, allowing bacteria to accumulate.
Ironic how the very thing allowing us to be outdoors is giving us a reason to want to stay indoors, non?
Worry not, because there are 3 easy, solid things you can do to avoid maskne:
1. Opt for cotton
Because cotton breathes, 100% cotton masks are preferable. However, you will have to be diligent about laundering them. If financially able, try stocking up on a few of them as if you were stocking up on underwear. You can also consider upcycling any cotton-based clothing you no longer wear and fashioning them into reusable masks.
2. Avoid applying makeup
The last thing you want is for your makeup to clog your pores underneath your mask. If you need coverage, consider non-comedogenic tone-up creams or tinted moisturizers with SPF. Concealer should be enough for spots and blemishes that aren't covered by the mask.
3. Keep your daily routine simple
I'm sorry hun, but the 10-step skincare routine just isn't fetch this season.
Non-cotton masks effectively trap all the moisture and bacteria, which spells disaster for skincare routines that use a healthy cocktail of serums, essences, and moisturizers. Keep it to the basics: cleanser, toner, and a light moisturizer. You don't want your skin to be too satiated, but you also don't want to have dry skin either.
Products that actively maintain your skin's natural barrier are highly recommended. CosRx' Pure Fit Cica Cleanser actively rebuilds and reinforces your natural moisture barrier, which you want to fortify to counteract the friction caused by the mask. Pyunkang Yul's Moisture Serum effectively moisturizes your skin while being lightweight and balances your skin's oil-to-water ratio.
Somebymi, K-beauty's well-known star for acne-care products, has a gel-type spot cream (AHA BHA PHA 14 Days Super Miracle Spot All Kill Cream) that will help you treat any existing breakouts without drying your skin or compromising your skin's barrier. Pimple patches are also great since it will simultaneously shield and treat your breakouts.
Overly washing your face can dry it out, so micellar waters are a great option if you need to clean your mouth area and/or jawline at any point during the day. Benton's Tea Tree Cleansing Water will leave your skin feeling hydrated, soothed, and refreshingly free of excess sebum.
Avoid exfoliating your skin or applying Retinols during the day. Anything that will allow your mask to further irritate your skin should be avoided. Save the exfoliating and Retinols for the evening time.
However, should your skin continue to experience breakouts or worsen despite preventative measures, it is recommended that you consult a dermatologist.