While masks are helpful in slowing the spread of viruses, they unfortunately increase the prevalence of mask acne. Also known as maskne, or mascne, these troublesome pimples around the face mask area have become a regular issue for millions of people – even those who don’t normally experience breakouts. Here are some tips and tricks to effectively deal with maskne.
What is maskne?
Maskne is acne experienced in the area a face mask usually covers, around the mouth, chin and nose. These are areas associated with the t-zone, an area of the face where people often experience breakouts due to the higher oil content in the skin. Wearing a mask without taking steps to fight back can make things worse, so we have information to help you steer clear of it.
What causes maskne?
Regular acne is caused when oil, dead skin cells or dirt clog your pores. If the pore is exposed to bacteria, it can cause the inflammation and the standard red bump associated with pimples. Masks help prevent saliva droplets from escaping when you breath, talk, cough or sneeze. Because your face naturally produces a significant amount of oil and masks are sealed tight to prevent anything from escaping, the mask creates a humid environment that can lead to increased acne – moisture, bacteria and oil sealed against your skin. Check out how to get rid of chin acne for more information on how chin acne forms and how you can treat it.
Another factor contributing to maskne can be stress. Stress is a common cause of standard acne breakouts, and it can work twice as hard against you when it comes to maskne. You have to remember that in the humid environment beneath your mask, you’re about as prone to acne as you can be, so limiting stress helps. Of course, that’s easier said than done, so this is just something to keep in mind and work at over time.
How to prevent mask acne
Thankfully, there are a number of steps you can take to help prevent maskne.
You can purchase a large set of masks and switch them out often so you’re always putting a fresh, clean one on your face. If you use the same mask over and over, it can pick up more and more grime to press against your face.
If you don’t want to purchase masks in bulk, make sure you wash your masks frequently. Ideally, you’d be able to wash your mask after every extended use to keep things clean. That’s obviously not always viable, so one tip is to keep enough masks that you can have a rotation of your favorites, and just make sure to wash your masks a couple times each week. When a few are in the laundry, you’ll have plenty more to choose from. If bacteria form on your first mask, it won’t have a chance to contribute to maskne if you’ve already switched to your second!
Makeup should also be a consideration. There’s no reason to waste time going over the areas that will be covered by your mask anyway, unless you plan on being in photos without a mask! And makeup can further contribute to clogged pores if you seal it down in the humid environment within your mask.
Make sure you are washing your face twice a day (morning and night.) The ProactivMD® 3-Piece System includes an Ultra-Gentle Cleanser to gently exfoliate the surface of your skin so it feels clean and not dried out. That way, you start with a clean canvas and it will feel incredible washing your face after keeping that mask on all day or right after a workout!
Keeping the oils on your face well-balanced with a cleanser and moisturizer is also important. Skin that is too oily can contribute to maskne breakouts, but skin that is too dry can lead to chafing and rashes. The Ultra-Hydrating Moisturizer in the ProactivMD 3-Piece System helps strike that fine balance between moisture, oil and dryness.
And, don’t store your masks in a dirty pocket, car floor, gym bag or purse. Keep clean ones in the plastic containers they come in or toss them in a fresh plastic baggie so they remain clean.
How to get rid of mask acne
When you’re not in public where masks are required, one of the most effective ways to recover from maskne is to let the mask stay off for as long as possible to let your skin breathe. Stay on top of washing your masks even more so during a breakout than other times as you want to keep acne-causing bacteria off your skin as much as possible.
Proactiv offers three acne treatment systems that contain premium acne-fighting ingredients, including a retinoid, to help prevent maskne before it develops and get your skin back on the path to clearing up if you are already experiencing it. Adapalene Gel 0.1% in the ProactivMD 3-Piece System targets the areas affected with acne on a cellular level to help restore a more even skin tone and texture.
The ingredients in the detergents you are using to wash your masks can play a role during a breakout. If you have sensitive skin, you might experience a reaction on your face that can exacerbate maskne. With sensitive skin, irritation can occur from detergent on clothes, it’s just a bigger drag if the irritation happens on your face! Fragrance-free detergents can be the gentler alternative for sensitive skin, and are definitely worth checking out with the goal of keeping your face clear.
The bottom line
Make sure to keep your masks clean and switch them out often. Wash your face regularly and be sure to moisturize to maintain well-balanced hydration for your skin. And, if you’re wondering how to treat maskne that you’re already experiencing, try one of Proactiv’s three acne treatment systems for skin that looks healthy and feels fresh and clear.