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How to Treat & Prevent “Maskne”

Face masks are becoming a bigger part of our “new normal” – and some might be experiencing “maskne.” Which is just the acne that appears on areas of your face that your mask covers. This happens when your mask causes friction and blocks the skin surface. It damages your skin’s natural barrier, which leads to clogged pores and sometimes acne.

Warmer summer temperatures and covering up also means more sweat! Masks trap moisture from our breath, skin oils, dirt and makeup. The friction and pressure from your masks increase your chances of acne because it’s essentially rubbing irritants, particles and trapped moisture into your pores. As we continue to wear masks in public and at social gatherings, here are 10 ways to treat and prevent maskne!

Switch out your masks

If you go out a lot – or at least daily – it’s important that you wear a clean mask each time. I always make sure to grab a freshly washed reusable mask before I leave the house. To put it into perspective, experts say we should think of masks like underwear. You wouldn’t want to wear the same pair twice without washing them – and on top of that, your mask gets exposed to more germs and bacteria in the outside world from social interactions and our constant readjusting.

Wear natural fibers

Masks made of natural fibers will help your skin breathe better by increasing airflow and trapping less moisture when you breathe. I like to use masks that are made with either silk or soft cotton materials.

Use the right washing techniques

How you wash your masks makes all the difference! I wash my asks after each use with a natural, unscented detergent. I like to skip the fabric softener because it’ll coat the fibers with chemicals that you don’t want to be breathing in.

If you’re throwing them in the washing machine, make sure to wash them in the warmest water setting appropriate for the material of your mask. Then use the highest heat setting when using a dryer! If you’re washing by hand, you can make a bleach solution by mixing 5 tbsp bleach per gallon of room temperature water – or 4 tsp bleach per quart of room temperature water. Soak your masks in the solution for 5 minutes, rinse thoroughly with cool or room temperature water and then hang to air dry!

Avoid makeup

Avoiding wearing makeup might be a hard tip to stick to 100% of the time – but it’s one worth trying! Masks will trap layers of makeup with sweat, moisture, oil and dirt you accumulate throughout the day – and it’s all getting trapped in your pores. On the days I do wear makeup, I like to keep it minimal around the masked areas of my face and opt for a tinted SPF instead.

Double cleanse

Double cleansing is the best way to wash off all the dirt, oils and impurities that have been trapped under your mask at the end of the day. First use an oil-based cleanser like micellar water or a cleansing oil or balm to gently massage and unclog your pores. Then follow up with your favorite gel or foaming facial cleanser!

Protect your moisture barrier

I make sure to apply a hydrating moisturizer during my morning skincare routine and before putting on my mask. This protects and builds your moisture barrier, which will help your skin function properly and not overproduce oil throughout the day.

Add antioxidant to your skincare routine

Antioxidants help the skin repair itself by reducing inflammation and stimulating collagen production. The most popular antioxidant that’s probably already in your skincare routine is vitamin C. It stimulates skin cell growth in any damaged areas and helps heal acne scars and pigmentation quicker! I like to apply a vitamin C serum during my morning skincare routine – but I also make sure to incorporate it into my diet for healthy skin.

Exfoliate more

It’s advised that you exfoliate 2-3 times per week (less if your skin is more sensitive) – but it might be OK to exfoliate more often if you’re wearing constantly wearing a mask. Since the lower half of your face is open to extra congestion right now, you’ll want to focus on that area. I like to use chemical exfoliants and gentle peeling pads.

Give your skin some TLC

Face masks and at-home facials are the perfect ways to give your skin some extra TLC right now. When choosing a face mask, look for active ingredients like sulfur and fruit enzymes! This will help increase cell turnover, give you more of a glow and improve your overall tone and texture.

DON’T pick

We’re always tempted to pick at our skin – but this is a tried and true skincare tip. When you squeeze a pimple, you’re leaving open breakouts that can’t get oxygen under masks. You can incorporate anti-inflammatory ingredients into your skincare routine like antibacterial spot treatments that reduce inflammation and speed up healing.

If you’ve been experiencing maskne, how have you been treating and preventing it? I’d love to hear your skincare tips!