Updated: Sep 23
With the new norm being face masks in public, this brings a whole new set of problems when it comes to our skin. Have any of you experienced this? WHY?!?!? Why is this happening? Well, I am here to shed some light on the issue of mask acne!
What causes mask acne, aka Maskne?
Well, there are many reasons for the dreadful acne and irritations that occur under our masks. Let’s take a look at a few of those reasons here.
Our skin really loves a happy balance of humidity and dry climates. With it being summer time, the heat making us sweat plus our breathing and all done under a mask, creates a very moist climate for bacteria to grow. Moisture is like bacteria’s happy place. It thrives here and creates havoc on our skin.
Then we have the dirt and debris that we encounter throughout the day. Think about it. You get up in the morning, wash your face, put on your makeup and get ready to start your beautiful day. You walk out the front door and BAM! Your face is now collecting dirt and pollutants that are flying around in the air. They attach to your skin and your makeup and just sit there until you wash it off. Now we add a mask on top of all of this, creating that wonderful moisture filled environment. Dirt, sweat, oil and makeup trapped under that mask start to clog your pores and acne starts to form.
Now, your mask can play a role in all of this too! If your mask is constantly rubbing against your skin because it’s too loose or even too tight, your skin will become irritated. You may notice a little rash forming around the areas where your mask sits. If you’re wearing a mask that you get from medical offices, those masks are possibly chemically treated prior to being boxed up. If you wear a cotton cloth mask, you risk the chance of the cloth absorbing your skins natural oils creating even more havoc on your skin. And let’s not forget, you have to wash them. Residue from the detergents and fabric softeners you use can lead to clogged pores or even irritate your skin on contact. If you’re not washing your mask, GROSS! You should look under a microscope and see all the bacteria growing in that mask you keep wearing over and over again. Catch 22 here, do you agree?
So what do I do? How do I treat my skin and prevent this from happening or getting worse?
There are so many things you can do to help keep your skin happy while we learn how to work with this new norm of wearing masks. Ready?
Get in to see your local esthetician. I know this is hard, as right now, many of us are not allowed to work. But here’s why you should see them. We can help you get your skin back into tip top shape. We can access stronger products than you are able to as a consumer. We also have some really incredible tools we can use to help address some of the issues you are dealing with.
Replace your mask often. If you’re wearing a disposable mask, throw it away after each use and replace it with a new one. Now, for people like me who are super like “no no no! Protect the environment!”, and wear cloth masks, you want to replace this cloth mask as often as you can. At least a new one each day. And make sure to wash those masks often. If you’re not able to replace your mask right away, spray a little isopropyl alcohol on it and let it dry completely before you put it back on your face.
Wear less makeup! Ohhh this is a hard one, but honestly, we are halfway hidden under a mask for a good majority of the day, so no one is seeing much of your face. If you must wear makeup, opt for maybe just concealer in the areas where needed and play up those eyes a ton! But make sure that you wash your face to remove all the makeup, dirt and debris sitting on your skin the moment you get home.
Don’t touch your face…This is hard for a lot of people including myself. If you are constantly touching or picking at your face, you risk spreading bacteria and creating more problems than you originally had. You could also cause unwanted scarring. So play it safe and keep your hands off your face.
Most important, keep your skin nice and clean. Wash morning and night with gentle, hydrating skincare products. Treat your skin like it is the most sensitive skin. Use oil or milk cleansers, hydrating serums and gentle exfoliators. You want products that won’t strip your skin or over exfoliate too. If you have just a few spots that are breaking out, use a spot treatment with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid on those areas or treat yourself to a charcoal/clay mask in that area of concern and then a hydrating mask everywhere else. Some great ingredients to have in your skin arsenol are jojoba oil, shea butter, or products with lavender, aloe and colloidal oatmeal.
One of my absolute favorite lines to use, even on the most sensitive skin types, is Katari Beauty. Katari travels the world to get us the most purest ingredients that have been used for centuries in ancient beauty rituals. Each product is one single ingredient and is magical! When it comes to maskne, I highly recommend their Argil Green Clay mask to detox the skin and their Hoba Oil as part of your double cleanse and hydrator. And for a spot treatment, check out their Black Seed Oil. Again, amazing, single ingredient products that have been used even back in the day of the Pharaohs.
Remember, taking care of your skin is so important. Especially during this time. If you have questions, reach out to me or your local Esthetician to help you understand what’s going on with your skin. I’ve also created a great “Maskne 911” Kit that has mini sizes of my favorite acne fighting products that are good for all skin types. If curious, email me at Lisette@LisetteMichelleBeauty.com
May your skin be happy and may you all stay safe and healthy.