As we’re all doing our best to support our community, wearing a mask has become essential for some, and in many cases even compulsory. As a result of the extended contact between the mask and our skin, we have noticed an unwelcome number of skin concerns affecting the lower part of the face. These skin concerns have been nicknamed “Maskne”. Maskne is described as ‘Acne caused by regularly wearing facial masks’, however the clinical term is “acne mechanica”. 

Understanding How Masks Can Affect Your Skin

Most people are familiar with the knowledge that our skin can change with our environment. When humidity rises we can produce more oil, and when humidity falls we are more prone to dryness. This same rule can be applied for wearing a mask. As we breathe and talk, hot air becomes trapped against our skin and creates a humid environment. Alongside trapped oil and dirt, this creates the ideal breeding ground for bacteria to grow, leading to breakouts and acne.

Unfortunately, it is not only breakouts that we need to be mindful of when it comes to masks. The fibres of the mask create continuous friction, which can cause irritation and inflammation within the skin. Although a little bit of redness or soreness here and there aren’t necessarily alarming symptoms, it is showing that the skin’s barrier is compromised, which can lead to harder to repair skin conditions, such as eczema and dermatitis.  

How To Best Prepare Your Skin For Wearing A Mask

A Consistent Routine

When it comes to protecting your skin, think quality over quantity. By using higher quality products that target your individual skin type and using them as prescribed, you’ll ensure that you are more effectively preparing your skin. To also be sure that you’re using the right products, we recommend that you consult with your trusted skin therapist for a professional skin analysis, so that they can recommend the correct products to suit your individual skin type and conditions. 

Double cleansing, heard of it? 

Although we may sound like a broken record when instructing our clients to double cleanse, it is one of the most effective steps at ensuring that your skin is cleaned and prepped. This step is to be performed both morning and night, think ‘cleanse one, rinse off, then cleanse again, rinse off’.

Lock In Moisture

It may sound contradictory to add moisture to the skin when your skin ends up humid and oily under the mask, but applying a moisturiser suited to your skin type (both morning and night after you cleanse) will protect your barrier and give your skin the best chance at fighting against irritation and inflammation.

Exfoliate?

Please read before you pick up that scrub! Any granular scrub is going to do two things to the skin:

  1. If the skin is experiencing congestion, active breakouts or even acne, the scrub (although leaving the skin feeling squeaky clean after) will spread the bacteria and can cause even more breakouts.
  2. If the skin is inflamed, it means that the barrier is compromised and by applying a harsh scrub to the skin it will only further damage the skin, causing more irritation. 

We instead recommend swapping out your granular scrub and using an enzymatic exfoliation, applied once a week to gently prepare the skin. Please note that we do recommend seeing your trusted skin therapist for a professional skin analysis before trying any new product, ensuring that it’s suited to your skin type and conditions. 

Mask Hygiene

Try to avoid touching your skin and your mask. If you’re using disposable masks, they’re only intended to be used for 4 hours. So after this time, be sure to swap for a new, clean one. If you’re using a reusable mask, we recommend washing it after every use (based on an 8 hour day) to ensure that existing trapped oil and dirt is not being applied to your clean skin.

Unsure of which products to use to treat your skin type?

If you are a little unsure on what your skin type truly is and how to effectively care for it, we’re always here to help with a professional skin analysis and trained guidance to send you on your way to beautiful skin. Please email mel@saltandpetals.com.au anytime to book in a facial or skin consultation. Remember, no questions are ever too small!