What is Maskne?
Acne mechanica, also known as ‘maskne’, refers to the breakout of skin from the excessive friction of wearing a mask. Especially during this cold, winter climate, mask-wearing people with dry and sensitive skin are more likely to suffer from maskne. The maskne effect is also common for frontline and healthcare workers, where it is mandatory for them to be donned in their tight protective wear. Maskne can also cause an increase in the production of blackheads and facial breakouts.
How to prevent maskne?
- The Material of Your Mask & Usage
It is important to choose a material that allows your skin to breathe, while giving you sufficient level of protection. Dermatologists suggest that 100% cotton is a good balance between breathability and level of protection. However, another alternative that you can consider is silk mask. Not only is it highly breathable, but it is also extremely water repellent, ensuring protection against water droplets from someone’s cough or sneeze.
If you are using a reusable mask, remember to wash it each time after use. For the disposable masks, do bin it after one-time usage. You will not want to re-use your mask the next day with all of that accumulated oil, sweat and dirt, especially when you are living in hot and humid weather.
- Simplify Your Skincare Routine
Now is the time to consider embracing skip-care and start taking steps towards streamlining your skincare routine. We recommend that you adopt a basic skin care routine that consists of a gentle cleanser and a mild, fragrance-free moisturizer. Besides moisturizing and maintaining your skin’s barrier function, a moisturizer helps protect your skin from mask friction.
- Avoid the Use of Makeup
Besides simplifying your skincare regime, now is the time to temporarily put your makeup routine on hold. Or at least, tone down on the usage. If you absolutely cannot do it, take comfort that you can still do a full makeup look around the eyes.
- Foods to Avoid Eating
There is increasing evidence, including an epidemiological study published in JAMA Dermatology, that chocolate and other high-glycemic (sugary) foods and dairy can potentially cause adult acne. With that, we recommend that you avoid processed snacks as much as possible.
How to treat maskne?
Of course, prevention is key. However, given the busy schedules of urban individuals and unforeseen circumstances in this contemporary society, there is an increased likelihood of facial breakouts within the masked area of our face. Here’s how you could better your everyday routine:
1. Cleanse your face twice daily
Start the habit of cleansing your face at the start of your day, before putting on the mask and immediately once you reach home at the end of your day’s work. Refrain from waiting to cleanse till right before bed due to the presence of bacteria, dirt and gunk accumulated from within the mask for that entire day. Also, refrain from over-cleansing your face more than twice daily as it may cause your skin to dry out even more, resulting in more oil produced and hence higher chances of breakouts to occur.
2. Gently exfoliate the skin
Practice gentle exfoliation of the skin to remove dead skin cells on the uppermost layer of your skin. This is to encourage healthy skin turnover and beneficial for dry and dull skin, which is relevant for most of us during this cold, winter climate. However, do monitor your skin’s reactivity to exfoliation, especially for chemical exfoliants like retinol and benzoyl peroxide. Going in with a harsh exfoliator will be detrimental instead of being beneficial to your skin.
We would recommend our ACE Dual Serum, which is complemented with the popular key active (and chemical exfoliant): Retinol. This supercharged formula activates skin cells while combining the antioxidant powers of Vitamin A, C and E to promote a smoother, stronger and refined complexion for your dry and dull skin. Even with the presence of Retinol, this dual serum of ours has been dermatologically tested to be suitable even for those with sensitive skin. This is a great retinol starter serum for those who’ve yet to get accustomed to using retinol in their skincare routine.
3. Moisturize the skin
Lock in your skin’s hydration and moisture with a moisturizer to maintain that suppleness and plumped skin feel. This is an important consideration as your skin will be in close contact and have constant friction against the material of the mask. To ensure that your skin does not lose more of its moisture and compromise on the skin barrier, follow-up on your routine with a light moisturizer before your sunscreen application.
We would recommend our Halcyon Dual Serum, which is complemented with a restorative blend of natural extracts such as the popular K-beauty actives – Centella Asiatica Extract and Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract. This is formulated to reduce skin irritation while visibly soothing redness and signs of skin inflammation as well. Hence, reinforcing for a stronger and more resilient complexion. Our dual serum is non-comedogenic and also doubles as a light moisturizer so you need not worry about clogged pores while ensuring your skin is well hydrated and moisturized inside and out.
Although one’s occurrence of getting maskne is quite probable with the daily usage of masks, it is advisable to continue doing so for the sake of your own health during this COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. Do observe your outbreaks and try to take preventive measures such as those in our pointers above. If your outbreaks have gotten worse or persists after doing so, it is advisable to follow-up with a dermatologist to understand more about your symptoms and if there’s any underlying conditions.