“Maskne”- yes, it’s a real thing and at this point, we’ve all probably experienced it. The pesky little (or sometimes not so little) breakouts that come up on the chin, cheeks, nose, and jaw from wearing a facial mask for the better part of the day. The combination of the mask and the rising summer heat and humidity just means all of that oil and sweat is acting almost like a petri dish for acne-causing bacteria to form. So, what can you do?
1) Consider the type of mask you wear- There are benefits to both cotton and disposable masks. Cotton masks are certainly more environmentally sustainable. Just be sure to wash them frequently- you don’t want to be producing all of that oil and sweat and then reapplying it to your face every day. On the other hand, I’ve found certain disposable masks like the N95 to be slightly more comfortable than the cotton ones as they have a beak-like shape and don’t sit directly on the face, making them a little less stifling. Ultimately, just choose what you feel is less likely to irritate your skin.
2) Incorporate an exfoliator into your skincare routine- Exfoliation is a major key to clear skin under normal circumstances, but especially right now while we’ll be wearing masks for the foreseeable future. You want to keep those skin cells turning over to prevent acne breakouts from forming. Just don’t overdo it- twice or three times a week should do the trick. I use the Visual Changes Skin Resurfacing Pads ($32) a couple of nights a week- these are pre-moistened pads that provide effective exfoliation and they also contain anti-aging ingredients as an added bonus.
3) Keep a spot treatment on hand- Breakouts that you can feel forming under the skin can oftentimes be treated proactively. My spot treatment of choice is the Visual Changes Skin Clearing Gel 10% ($24). This product contains benzoyl peroxide and colloidal silver which work to reduce redness and clear up blemishes. I put it on before bed when I can feel a breakout coming on. I sleep in it and when I wake up, the blemish is either gone completely or drastically reduced. Definitely a must-have!
4) Consider not wearing makeup- At least not on the lower part of the face- no one is going to see it anyway! Makeup clogs pores and you want to keep them as clean as possible right now.
While no one likes dealing with an acne breakout, it seems like a small price to pay for keeping yourself, your friends, your family, and strangers safe by wearing a mask. Stay well, everyone!