As essential, as it is, to wear a mask these days, to prevent the transmission of COVID 19, the mask comes with its own sets of drawbacks. The major being the “maskne”. Maskne refers to the development of acne, due to the use of masks, contaminated with pimple causing bacteria. It is a general term, which covers a variety of skin irritating conditions like acne, blackheads, whiteheads, rosacea, folliculitis. These conditions can further weaken your skin barrier and lead an irritated skin type.

Have a look at the some simple tricks to help prevent and treat your maskne

  1. Wash your mask regularly: Cannot emphasize more, on the importance of using a clean, washed mask every single day. Daily usage of the same unclean mask, can cause the buildup of bacteria on your mask and lead to breakouts. To clean your mask, you can use lukewarm water with a hypoallergic detergent to wash it. Also, do not forget to dry the mask completely before using it. Also, using a disposable mask, would be much better.
  2. Dispose of your disposable masks: the disposable masks are designed for single time use only. Hence, it is essential to dispose off these masks, after every single use and avoid reusing them, to reduce the possibility of getting acne.
  3. Resist wearing makeup under the mask: The residuals of the makeup on the inner surface of the mask can clog your pores and lead to the development of cystic acne. To avoid this, resist from wearing makeup too often, especially when you are going to be constantly wearing a mask.
  4. Use of a silk mask: Researchers have found out that using a silk mask, reduces the chances of having breakdowns. Silk masks produce minimal friction between the mask and the skin, thereby causing much less irritation tot the skin, when compared to synthetic masks.
  5. Take the little breaks: While it is really necessary to wear the mask, all of the times, it might be good for your skin, to breath a little, once in a while. But only when, you’re safe to remove your mask. This helps your skin breath, thereby reducing the chances of buildup on your skin.
  6. Say “no” to tight face masks: Wearing your masks too tight over your face can cause skin congestion, leading to acne and irritation of the skin. Make sure the mask is well adapted to your face, but not too tight.
  7. Wash you face regularly: Wash your face at least twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening, before going to the bed. Also, even when you sweat a lot under your mask, make sure to wash it once, after you remove your mask.
  8. Use a non-irritating, gentle cleanser: Your skin is exposed to a lot of irritation and congestion, on a daily basis, while wearing masks. Therefore, the importance of a good and gentle, non-irritating cleanser, cannot be neglected. Choose cleansers that are not too heavy and do not contain any possible skin irritating ingredients. Some of the good options to consider here are the Simple refreshing facial wash, which is a cruelty free face wash free from harsh chemicals. Another great cleanser is the Clinique liquid facial soap for mild-dry combination skin type.
  9.  Pat dry your face, using a paper towel: Instead of using the harsh, abrasive fabric towels, its always better to use paper towels, as they are non-irritating to the skin.
  10.  Don’t burst those pimples: A major mistake that most of the people is, picking the acne. This causes the infection from the pimple to spread even more and cause more breakouts eventually. If you want to reduce the pimple, and spot treat it, you can use the pimple patches or even some of the spot treatments to treat it. Cosrx pimples patches are great hydrocolloid patches, to reduce the size of your pimples, and suck the entire gunk out of it. The face shop’s dr. belmeur spot patches also work in a similar fashion. Moving on to the spot treatments, Mario Badescu drying lotion, comes in handy, to dry those nasty pimples out, overnight.
  11. Do not overindulge into your skincare: Keeping your skincare at bay, helps in prevention of maskne. A minimum skincare routine, consisting of cleansing, toning and moisturizing, would do the trick. Also, do not forget to wear your sunscreen, when stepping out.
  12. Use a non-comedogenic moisturizer: Heavy moisturizers, can block your pores, preventing your skin to breath properly, especially under the mask. Using a light, gel-like moisturizer, helps prevent acne and breakouts. My personal favorites are the Clinique moisture surge, a perfect gel moisturizer for all the skin types, providing up to 72 hours of moisture to your skin and prevents the loss of water from it. Neutrogena hydro boost water gel moisturizer is another great moisturizer, perfect for the scorching summers. It is very close in consistency to the Clinique one, but much cheaper than that. And performs almost similar to it. Ideal for all the skin types.
  13. Moisturize frequently: Keeping your skin hydrated and moisturized, strengthens your skin barrier, thereby reducing the chances of breaking down. Do not let your skin become dry and dehydrated, as this will further irritate your skin and damage its barrier.
  14. Topical antibiotic creams to the rescue: Even after taking all the precautions, there are chance of breaking out now and then, while using masks constantly. Whenever you face this, do not worry, antibiotic topical creams, always help. These help reducing the bacterial load on your skin, and ultimately keep acne at bay. We recommend you to consult your dermatologist, before using any such topical gels or creams.
  15. Ceremide loaded moisturizers: Creams or moisturizers containing cortisone and ceramides, help calming the irritated skin down. This also helps in relieving any itching, or redness over your skin.
  16. Chemical exfoliation: Exfoliate your skin, once weekly, using a chemical exfoliator, containing AHAs or BHAs. This will help reducing bumps over your skin and improve the skin texture, making it smooth. Some of my recommendations would be the ordinary AHA+BHA peeling solution and the Pixi glow tonic.

So, these are some of our best recommendations, to help prevent and treat maskne or mask acne. Nevertheless, taking care of your skin, is as important as taking care of your general health. Mask or no mask, mask acne, or no acne, the importance of skincare is impeccable. So, stay safe, healthy and take good care of your skin!

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