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Maskne: What it is and how to prevent it

Maskne: What it is and how to prevent it

Sorcha Kennedy

I’ve struggled with acne for years, and I will do anything to avoid a breakout. If you’re like me and are prone to skin issues, you may find yourself having extra issues from wearing a mask. This type of acne is quite common, but you may only be experiencing it now due to the new covid-19 guidelines.
This type of acne is actually called “acne mechanica” and is caused by friction against the skin from heavy clothing or protective gear. Common areas affected are where the mask meets your skin, so nose, cheek, and chin. Masks can also cause acne due to the fact that the mask traps sweat, dirt, and oil.
Here are some easy ways to treat and prevent “maskne”…

Wash your face

Washing your face is the most important skincare trick anyway, but is extra important if you have been wearing a mask for a long period of time. You should wash your face both before you put your mask on, and after you take it off. Washing your face before can limit the amount of oils that will be trapped in the mask, and washing after will get all that dirt off your face before it has time to set in. You can wash with just warm water using your usual face wash (make sure to read the label to make sure it’s nothing too harsh) or using a cleanser that hydrates and doesn’t dry out your skin.

Use minimum makeup

Wearing makeup under a mask can seriously increase your chances of getting “maskne”. If you are planning on wearing a mask for several hours, you should try and avoid wearing makeup like foundation or concealer under it.

Always use a clean mask

This is important anyway, but do not reuse masks as the bacteria is building up. If you are using a cloth mask, make sure to wash it after every use. Do not leave your mask in your bag and just use it when you need it.

Wear moisturiser

Moisturiser acts as a barrier between your skin and the mask, and also prevents dryness and itchiness. A natural moisturiser like coconut oil is best, you could also use something like E45 Cream (my personal go-to).

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Exfoliating is super important to get rid of dead skin and bacteria that may have made its way into your skin. As always a natural exfoliator is ideal, which you could easily make using things like coconut oil, sugar, honey, oats, etc. Or if you’re buying an exfoliator make sure it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals like sulfates or fragrances.
Wearing a mask is important to keep other people safe and healthy, but make sure you’re minding your skin and avoiding “maskne” while you’re wearing one.

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