From ‘Masks are the trick to keeping COVID out’ to ‘masks can’t actually prevent anything’, life is one confusion at the moment! But, no matter what we believe, masks are here to stay for the foreseeable future. Whether masks help or not in actually preventing viruses, one thing it definitely doesn’t prevent is acne. Actually, I’ll rephrase: it helps acne get worse! In fact, for some people, it can become one of the causes of it. So let’s look into that and see how we can prevent acne from masks and the dreaded ‘maskne’!
What Can Be Done About ‘Maskne’
For people with aggravated skin, the friction from a mask can heavily irritate the skin’s surface. It consistently rubs and breaks down the skin layers and moisture barriers that protect the skin, including your pores. Being constantly exposed to friction from masks can make your skin overly reactive with simulation, the mask material, and even the negative reaction of our skincare or makeup towards that friction.
It’s very simple if you face is in constant contact with something of any material really, it will aggravate your skin. Our faces aren’t meant to be covered and when that changes so does our skin.
411 On Masks
With all that info going on, it shouldn’t discourage you from wearing masks! It’s still important to keep safe and listen to the guidelines. What’s best to do is keep in mind how we can reduce all the adverse effect by knowing what’s better for the situation.
Avoid Reusing masks
Even without the onset of an acne breakout, reusing masks isn’t a good idea. That being said, using a new one every time you pop into a shop isn’t all that practical and I know that I’m guilty of reusing masks! However, what it does is, it collects the bacteria from your face and it all builds up. That, in turn, can cause rapid growth of acne. You’re basically inviting acne to your face. So try as much as you can to either wash your mask or change it every day. Yes, I am talking to myself too!
Thoroughly Wash and Sanitize Reusable Masks
In the case of using the more practical option of cloth masks, it’s still ill-advised to reuse them. Try to wash your masks at the end of the day, preferably with hot water and with fragrance-free and undyed detergents. It’s useful to have additional masks around for when the other one’s being washed.
Say No to Polyester
More on cloth masks, avoid polyester like a hawk! Polyester is the type of fabric that’s not absorbent. Meaning it won’t absorb your sweat, oils, and the like. What happens behind the mask is that you’ll likely be spreading all of those unwanted elements around your mouth for the whole duration of wearing your mask! That includes bacteria of course. Imagine a stew of greasy sweat and bacteria rigorously rubbed against your skin waiting to break in, and break you out. Sorry for the gory illustration;)
Use A Cotton Mask
Most other fabrics are ok to use as a mask. However, the best material is probably cotton. If you’re making your own masks, try to use cotton fabric as cotton is absorbent and will help keep your face hygienic. Cotton masks are also softer and won’t be as harsh on your skin as other materials.
Don’t Touch Your Face
This is a hard one and I totally get that. Until Coronavirus I didn’t realise how often I touch my face. And then COVID happened and trying not to touch my face when out and about was a real struggle!
Despite the struggle, try your best not to touch your face especially when removing your mask. That part of your face has been covered for too long with a mask and your pores in that area are more open than the rest of your face. That means it is more susceptible towards foreign contaminants such as dirt and grime that can clog up those open pores, leading to an acne breakout the next day! So always keep in mind acne before you decide to skip on sanitising your hands before you remove your mask.
411 On Skincare
Other than the guideline of using makeup products that don’t have as many common skin irritants and allergens as possible, try clean beauty! Have a go at breaking down your makeup routine. There are vegetarian and vegan makeup brands, mineral makeup brands, organic makeup brands and all-natural makeup brands. Nowadays we are spoilt for choice with the amazing selection of skincare products that are available to us. Using more natural products will definitely help your skin.
Another small tip- if you plan on wearing a mask the whole time when you’re out, skip the makeup on the area that will anyways be covered. You will not only save your skin, but you will also save your makeup for a better occasion!
So how’s the mask life been going for you? My skin hasn’t been too bad, but call me dramatic, every time I wear a mask I feel like I can’t breathe properly. I am looking forward to the day that we can look back and say- did we really all walk around with our faces half-covered for so long?! It’s so strange it almost feels surreal.
I hope these tips and tricks on how to prevent acne from masks has helped you on your skin journey through these odd times!
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