by Yesl Han April 23, 2021
Today, we’re taking a look at the causes of maskne and how to fight it.
Maskne means what it looks like – acne caused by wearing a mask.
Although your skin might react differently to different materials (eg. if you’re wearing a surgical or cloth mask), the irritating factor which provokes maskne is friction from the mask.
The formal term for maskne is acne mechanica, which refers to acne triggered by friction or pressure on the skin. While it can develop anywhere, it’s especially common amongst healthcare workers, soldiers and athletes wearing bulky protective gear.
As 2020 is the first time many of us have needed to wear masks, it’s also the first time the general public has experienced acne mechanica.
Maskne usually takes the form of small red or pink bumps or inflamed pimples, which can often look like hormonal acne.
If you’re only getting acne in the areas covered by your mask, it’s most likely maskne. Even if it might look like hormonal acne, it shouldn’t be treated as such.
True hormonal acne often requires medicated solutions and treatment under the supervision of a doctor or dermatologist to fully heal.
Thankfully, maskne may be easier to resolve.
1. Keep an eye on your mask. Look for a mask that fits you well without being so tight that your skin is easily irritated, and not so loose that it’s ineffective.
2. For mask fabric options, something with a smoother texture (eg. light cotton, silk) will help to reduce friction. Try to avoid taking your mask on and off repeatedly, or pulling it down around your chin, as this will increase the friction against your skin.
3. If you’re wearing a reusable fabric mask, remember to wash it frequently with low-irritant detergent. Remember, fabric is heavier than other materials which doesn’t allow the skin to breathe as well. Try wearing a disposable mask and see if this makes a difference.
4. Watch your routine. Do what you can to make sure your maskne doesn’t get more irritated than it is. Avoid makeup where possible, and steer clear of harsh acids. Instead, opt for soothing, barrier boosting products. Moisturisers containing ceramides and panthenol can help, as can products with Centella Asiatica.
Make sure you’re cleansing with something that’s effective but won’t strip away your natural oils, which can cause even more acne to flare up. Stick to pH 5.5 balanced products, and keep clear of harsh surfactants like SLS and SLES.
Sometimes, the best defence is a good offence.
If maskne is giving you whiteheads, our Perfect Pimple Patches suck the gunk out of pimples and help you get your skin back to normal.
If you’ve got bumps without heads, our Perfect Pimple Patch forms a protective barrier so that the bump isn’t irritated by wearing a mask, giving it the breathing space to heal.
Have you dealt with maskne? Let us know the steps you took to fight it in the comments!
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