What Causes Maskne?
Numerous factors may lead to the development of maskne. The friction from wearing a face mask for extended time periods is the most obvious, but other risk factors for maskne include:
- Makeup – Wearing makeup under your face mask increases chances for clogged pores and acne mechanica breakouts.
- Humidity – The heat and humidity from breathing into a mask are challenging enough on their own, but with the increased temperature and moisture in the air during the summer months, people are much more likely to experience breakouts too. In addition to causing breakouts, heat and humidity make the symptoms more severe, leading to deeper, painful types of pimples, including nodules, papules, pustules, and cysts.
- Cold, Dry Weather – Unfortunately, the change of the season is not likely to offer much relief for maskne sufferers. Skin is likely to be naturally drying during the fall and winter seasons, and the friction from the mask will more quickly remove the skin’s natural oil barrier. This dryness and repetitive motion can lead to a breakdown in the skin, and the hair follicles may break open instead of clogging the way they do in the summer. This can lead to folliculitis, a bacterial infection of the hair follicles in addition to surrounding pores clogging with the shedding dry skin cells.
- Stress – Stress causes an increase in the production of cortisol and other hormones. This spike in hormone production taxes the immune system, and when our immune system is tired, the body starts rerouting its resources away from the skin, increasing skin health symptoms and taking longer for issues to be resolved.
- Sunscreen – You still need to apply sunscreen every day, especially if you’re going to be outside for long hours, but this added layer of protection is also an extra product on your already irritated skin, which can contribute to clogged pores. Choosing a lightweight sunscreen or a facial moisturizer with built-in sunblock can help to minimize the number of potentially pore-clogging products beneath your mask.
- Apply a barrier – After cleaning and moisturizing your skin each morning, apply a thin layer of barrier ointment to the inflamed, irritated, or damaged areas of the skin (recovery balm). Allow the barrier agent to sit for a few minutes before putting on your mask. This step is typically not recommended if you are using disposable masks.
How to Treat Maskne
Prevention is the best approach to avoiding maskne, but what happens when you wear a mask for hours each day? How do we increase our safety against COVID and still have great skin?
Find a breathable mask that fits correctly
Finding a mask that fits the shape of your face and mouth is important. With so many choices it shouldn’t be hard to find many options. Your acne might even be caused by the type of material used in the mask. Cotton is cooler and more breathable. If you’re relying on a reusable mask then be sure to wash it daily to get rid of any build-up, oil or dirt.
Make sure that your mask allows you to move your mouth and talk without too much rubbing. Experiment with retying the strings behind your head, instead of around the ears
- Use a gentle cleanser A proper cleanse, morning and night, to ensure you are removing any buildup of acne causing bacteria, makeup, sweat and debris.When selecting a cleanser, you want to make sure you choose one that is free from harsh chemicals and fragrances, in addition, you want to find something that is light and gentle on your skin. AlumierMD has a range of cleansers to choose from. All of their products, including their cleansers, are free from, dyes, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and fragrances. They have formulated the perfect gentle and clean solution to protect your skin. Here are our top cleanser recommendations from the AlumierMD line:
Purifying Gel Cleanser: Purifying Gel Cleanser is a pH-balanced foaming cleanser that gently and effectively cleans skin by removing impurities and excess oil, leaving it smooth and soft. Coconut and plant-based surfactants gently cleanse. Chamomile, aloe and opuntia ficus-indica soothe and hydrate for skin that feels fresh, supple and comfortable.
HydraBoost Cleanser: HydraBoost is a smooth, hydrating pH-balanced creamy cleanser that delicately removes impurities, excess oil and makeup. The natural cleanser yucca seed extract gently cleans skin. Vitamin E, sunflower seed oil and argan oil moisturize, leaving skin smooth, soft and intensely hydrated.
Acne Clarifying Cleanser: Acne Clarifying Cleanser deep-cleans pores and calms skin for a clearer complexion. Salicylic acid penetrates pores to help control acne pimples and allow skin to heal. Oligopeptide-10 works synergistically with salicylic acid to improve the appearance of acne. Boswellia, honey and rice bran extract soothe and hydrate skin, leaving it fresh, supple and comfortable.
Moisturize: Apply a clean and lightweight moisturizer before putting on your mask. A good moisturizer will act as a barrier between your skin and any irritation from your mask. You want to make sure your moisturizer is light, fragrance free, and non-comedogenic (specifically designed to prevent the clogging of pores). Here are our recommendations:
HydraSmooth: An ultra-light, fast-absorbing, non-comedogenic moisturizer formulated to restore clarity to acne-prone skin.Salicylic acid deeply penetrates pores to remove dead skin cells, help control acne pimples and allow skin to heal. An innovative encapsulated salicylic acid technology provides controlled delivery into the skin, which decreases side effects and extends effectiveness over time. Hinokitiol, sea whip and boswellia relieve redness and irritation. Allantoin and vitamin E maintain skin’s moisture balance and the hydrolipid barrier.
HydraClarité: HydraClarité Moisturizer is an ultra-light non-comedogenic antioxidant-rich hydrator specially formulated for oily and blemish-prone skin. Hinokitiol and sea whip soothe the skin and relieve redness and irritation. Allantoin and honey maintain the skin’s moisture balance.
Make Sure Your Mask is Clean: wash your mask between each wear. Not only is this a good idea to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, this also helps make sure there is no bacteria getting transferred between your mask and your face each time you put it on.
Go barefaced: Putting a mask on top of makeup can further aggravate skin issues such as clogged pores and irritation. Now is the perfect time to give your skin a break and go barefaced under your mask.
- Spot treatment – At night, after you’re done with your face mask for the day, use a benzoyl peroxide spot treatment of 2.5% to 5% concentration directly on pimples. Clean any excess Spot Clearing Lotion from your skin in the morning before putting on your mask.
- Retinols – Ensure you are getting adequate CHEMICAL exfoliation, to remove excess buildup of oil and skin, and to facilitate healthy skin turnover. This is different from a mechanical scrub, with beads. f you do use a retinol treatment for breakouts, apply these products only at nighttime when you won’t be wearing the mask anymore, and be sure to completely clean them from the skin and apply a moisturizer before putting on your mask in the morning. If this is your first time using retinol, Try every 2nd night, to encourage deep skin exfoliation. This works even better when alternated every other night with an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) for surface exfoliation.
- Sunscreen – Applying sunscreen also helps to prevent unnecessary damage and irritation from the sun, and for people of color, sunscreen can help to reduce the risk for hyperpigmentation. Mineral sunscreens are beneficial for acne-prone skin. Chemical sunscreens get absorbed by your skin which can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation. Mineral sunscreens are a better choice to prevent acne as they “sit on top of the skin” AlumierMD’s range of mineral sunscreens are non-comedogenic, won't clog pores, leave no white cast, are non-greasy and are applied effortlessly. Clear Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 42 is oil-free, perfect for acne prone skin types. Sheer Hydration Broad Spectrum Sunscreen vSPF 40 Tinted and Non-Tinted have a little more hydration, and you can usually get away with using this product alone as a daytime moisturizer.