How to Avoid Maskne

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

What is “maskne”?

If you’re convinced you’re experiencing breakouts and redness after wearing a face mask, you may not be imagining things.

‘Maskne’ refers to the unfortunate development of pimples and spots after wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These types of breakouts are easily identifiable because they only occur in the areas of the face protected by a face covering or mask (the chin, nose, and mouth).

What you’ll likely notice are shallow whiteheads as opposed to deep, painful red spots which are usually caused by regular acne.

What causes “maskne?”

Acne caused by masks is different to normal acne (caused by hormonal changes) as it’s a direct result of a physical disruption of the skin. The constant rubbing of material against our skin can result in micro-tears, which leads to bacteria, dirt and oil easily entering underneath the surface and clogging up pores.

The very nature of face masks is that they’re designed to limit airflow from entering or exiting the environment, which means those skin cells that would usually be shedding throughout the day are trapped on the surface and have nowhere to go.

Why am I getting spots when wearing a mask?

Face coverings play a vital role in the fight against COVID-19. However, the heat by wearing a mask creates can cause facial breakouts for two main reasons:

Physical rubbing – if you’re wearing a mask for long periods of time, the excess heat and pressure of the material against your face can cause a breakdown in the protective layer of your skin. This layer helps keep out external aggressors and works to keep your skin hydrated. Without this layer, your skin may be more prone to pimples referred to as ‘acne mechanica’.

Trapped moisture – the combination of sweat and oil that gathers under the mask (not to mention trapped breath) can clog pores. The lack of air circulation encourages bacteria growth and can lead to blackheads, whiteheads or pimples that will vary in size depending on how infected they become.

How to prevent “maskne”

Some of the preventative measures you can take before leaving your house with your mask on:

  • Wash your mask – recommend washing your cloth mask after every use to prevent the build-up of bacteria. This can be done either in a washing machine or by hand washing.

  • Avoid touching your face – you can help your fight against “maskne” by reducing the number of times you touch your face and transferring grease and dirt. Enlist the help of your friends to point out when you’re excessively - or even unnecessarily - touching your face.

  • Wash your face – it’s not just washing your hands! Now more than ever it’s important to practice proper facial hygiene. Try gently cleansing your face (especially the ‘maskne’ prone areas) in the morning and evening to make sure as much build up from the day is removed. Remember to be gentle on your skin rather than using harsh scrubs, as the aim is to help protect your skin rather than damage it further.

  • Face mask size – when browsing face masks, look to buy one that covers your nose and mouth without being too tight or too loose to avoid unnecessary friction.

  • Mask material – for those who live with acne-prone skin, soft material like silk or cotton are preferable over synthetic materials which are harsher on the skin.

  • Skincare routine – give your skin a fighting chance by using non-comedogenic (pore-blocking) moisturisers underneath your mask and avoid wearing heavy makeup that will clog up your skin more.

Other things you can review:

  • Being as physically active as possible

  • Getting plenty of sleep. Our good night’s sleep guide can help too

  • Sticking to a daily routine

  • Eating healthily

How to treat mask induced acne

‘Maskne’ doesn’t just effect those with pre-existing skin conditions

A mask creates a hot and sweaty area around your nose and mouth can lead to flareups and breakouts in anyone, although those already living with skin conditions will find their breakouts harder to control.

To help with this condition we have put together a purifying facial treatment, utilising the best Eve Taylor products.

Ask a member of the team for more information.

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