Your Maskne Guide: Caring for your skin during the pandemic
Raise your hand if you've been struggling with mask-ne!
ME ME ME.... AND I've really only worn my mask for an "extended" period of time like twice. Oh you poor healthcare and essential workers!!!
Mask-ne (aka mascne) isn't new!
A 2006 study found that among healthcare staff members (mostly female nurses) wearing N95 masks, 60% reported more acne, 36% reported a rash, and 51% reported itch or dermatitis.
Note: this blog post contains some affiliate links to brands and products I'm recommending because I love and use them myself! Thanks for supporting my work.
What causes Maskne?
There are MANY reasons our skin is being irritated by this new mask-wearing phase. Let's go through a couple of them:
1) Type of Mask. Depending on what you are wearing, your skin may not be "breathing" well all day. 100% cotton is going to compromise allowing skin to breathe and protection.
2) Hygiene. How often are you washing your mask? Remember, it's a breeding ground for bacteria! More on this in a second.
3) Ramped up oil production. Your skin produces oil as a protection.
4) Weather. Summer weather = more heat, more sweat, and more dirt.
5) Rubbing. Now there is something touching and rubbing your skin all day long. That is definitely irritating.
6) Occlusion - to close or block off. A mask naturally intensifies products delivery to the skin. Think about treating cracked feet with an ointment and then putting socks on before bed... or a pedicure when they put on lotion and then warm washcloths. You'll want to avoid hard irritants on your skin during mask season.
What can we we do?
Here are top recommendations
Wash your mask often and in unscented and safer laundry detergents. PLEASE avoid fragrances (more on those here).
We use Branch Basics ($10 off your purchase here) in our house. Other great options: Molly's Suds, Biokleen.
I suggest having at least 2 face masks that you can rotate, especially if you are wearing one every day. Wear one, clean one and then alternate. I love supporting small shops on ETSY for this.
HYDRATE + EAT WELL.
Up your hydration game and avoid foods that will trigger more acne or irritation. For a lot of people, this includes dairy and sugar.
Keep makeup remover wipes or a cleaner nearby to wipe down your face as soon as possible after removing your mask. I use these ones!
Avoid face cosmetics in the mask area allowing your skin to breathe, especially "naked" when you are not required to wear a mask.
Basic Skincare Tips
Choose a cleanser for your skin type and consider adding a clarifying cleanser once a day even if you usually have dry skin. I like to use this charcoal bar in the evenings and a cleansing oil in the morning.
Remove dead skin cells so they are not blocking and clogging pores. Use a gentle chemical exfoliator. Physical may be too rough with the skin being rubbed by the mask all day long too! I love this gentle overnight peel because is a blend of exfoliating AND resurfacing/soothing acids.
Use moisturizers or facial oils for your skin and lips in preparation or after mask wearing. I wear this lip conditioner every single night and this balancing face oil is what I recommend right now to everyone. Add a drop to your current moisturizer for extra protection!