The Dreaded “Maskne” and Mask Irritation! We are here to help.

woman wearing surgical mask

-by Rachel Marino Noto, RN, LE

Over the past year and a half, it has become apparent that masks have been and will be a part of our daily routine in some capacity. Whether it be when you leave your house, are caring for a sick family member, or at work, we all encounter wearing masks to help protect ourselves and the people around us. Yet, that does not go without saying that most of us have noticed the havoc these protective masks have been causing to our skin.

What is Causing My “Maskne”?

When first understanding how to prevent or improve “maskne”, the new term used to describe acne that appears as a result of wearing a mask, we need to focus on what causes it. Acne, breakouts, and irritation can be caused by friction, bacteria, and excessive oils on the skin. With any skincare concern, we have to first address what products and routines are being used at home. Is your skincare routine effective for your skin type, while also being efficient to target your concerns and skincare needs? Once that is determined, we have a better starting point to work from. If you are already wondering if your routine is effective and/or efficient, it is a great time to make an appointment at Q the Medical Spa to see one of our highly experienced Licensed Estheticians. After a personalized skin analysis, they can help you set up the perfect routine for your skin. 

Once your routine is established and perfected, it is time to get to the root cause of the issue. When wearing our masks, we are unintentionally creating a great breeding ground for acne and breakouts. Masks cause moisture when we breathe in and out in the contained space. Also, with every mouth and facial movement, we have the friction of the mask against our skin, which leads to irritation and inflammation. Perhaps your issue isn’t acne but rather an increase in inflammation, redness and irritation. Masks, because of the friction and moisture, can cause already established rosacea, eczema and other skin inflammations to worsen. 

How to Treat “Maskne”

So, how do we combat this when we are unable to fully avoid or stop wearing masks?  Following some simple steps can make a big difference. 

  • Keep your skincare simple under your mask: Most of us are using our masks during the day and not at night, but regardless of the time you are wearing it, make sure your skin is prepped for mask wearing. Proper cleansing, toning and a light but hydrating moisturizer is key as your base layer under the mask. Try to stay away from heavy moisturizers under your mask to avoid excess moisture.
  • Minimize makeup under the mask: The beauty about masks is that no one can see the bottom half of your face. Take this time to let your skin breathe. If possible, avoid all makeup under the mask. Makeup is a breeding ground for bacteria and to add a mask on top of it can only worsen issues.
  • Change your mask frequently and notice the colors of the masks you use: Masks are meant to be used once. If you are using a surgical mask, do not reuse it. Masks absorb oil, dirt and debris and need to be tossed after use. Cloth masks are fine but should be switched and washed after every use. Make sure you are washing your cloth mask with a cleansing face wash or unscented detergent and not a fragranced detergent to avoid additional irritation on your skin. Lastly, the color of the mask can play a role. Some people are very sensitive to dyes in anything and that includes face masks. To be on the safe side, opt for a mask with minimal colors, such as a classic surgical mask.
  • Calm down the skin with soothing masks or moisturizers: Just like our body, we need to ensure we allow our skin to relax. Incorporating a calming and soothing facial mask into our routine can help to minimize additional irritation and redness.

Overall, making sure you are following a tailored skincare routine and taking the proper precautions to avoid any additional bacteria, moisture or irritation will significantly help to reduce issues with mask wearing. When in doubt, come and visit our team at Q the Medical Spa. Our highly-trained Estheticians and Nurses are here to provide you with the most optimal routine for your skin. We also have tried and true medical grade skincare that we can recommend to incorporate into your daily routine. Stay healthy, stay clean, and stay safe!

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