As the UK faces further restrictions and wearing a face covering is mandatory almost everywhere, we need to face the fact that our skin could suffer from outbreaks of Maskne (Mask Acne) and blemishes.
Winter skin can be problematic enough without the added issue of face coverings. Not only a concern for teenagers, but for everyone with prolonged wearing of a face covering.
Regardless of the type of mask, there are legitimate concerns around the skincare you should be using underneath them. Maskne – acne or breakouts caused by wearing them – is a real thing.
“Wearing a face mask, particularly for prolonged periods, means you are breathing into a closed tight space which creates humidity and can accelerate the processes that cause acne,” explains Dr Bibi Ghalaie, medical director at British Aesthetics.
What causes Maskne?
Maskne is a type of breakout on the skin, which is caused by the constant friction of the mask material on your skin. This type of acne is known as ‘acne mechanica’ and commonly occurs in people wearing masks for a long period of time.
Along with the constant friction on your skin, maskne is also triggered by pores being blocked by sweat, oil, makeup, and bacteria which sits on the skin under your mask. This can cause outbreaks of spots, blemishes, inflamed hair follicles, irritation, and redness.
The good news is there’s things you can do to prevent irritation, techniques to incorporate and ingredients that should be avoided. Here’s what dermatologists and skin experts advise.
Cleanse skin properly twice a day
Using fragrance-free cleansers with lukewarm water. “If your skin is oily or acne prone then choose a foaming cleanser. If it’s dry, irritated or sensitive opt for a cream cleanser,” she says. “If you start to notice skin is becoming dry or irritated as a result of wearing a mask then avoid physical scrubs or exfoliators as they can cause further damage, due to excess removal of dead skin cells. Always pat your face dry with a towel after cleansing rather than rubbing the skin,” she adds. But don’t over-cleanse.
Although it seems like a good idea to cleanse both before and after wearing a mask, Dr Mahto says it’s best to be cautious about it. “Over-cleansing of the skin can lead to dryness, irritation, and redness in those with dry, sensitive or mature skin types. Ideally aim to cleanse twice daily, morning and evening. If you have been sweating excessively then there may be benefit in using a gentle cleanser immediately afterwards which won’t strip and dehydate the skin.”
Keep your skin hydrated
It is really important throughout the day to keep your skin as hydrated as possible to help improve your skin’s barrier function. Look for supportive ingredients in your daily moisturiser such as ceramides, glycerine and niacinamide to boost your skin’s hydration levels. If you feel your skin needs something extra, you can add a facial spray between each level of skincare or use one to top up your moisture levels throughout the day.
“Keeping the skin moisturised is key for comfort, to encourage wound healing and skin repair,” explains Dija Ayodele, skin health expert and founder of West Room Aesthetics and Black Skin Directory. “Applying an emollient and/or an occlusive moisturiser, will maintain general skin health, protect against infection and support in reducing the severity of any potential scarring,” she says
“Barrier supporting ingredients such as gluconolactone, panthenol, ceramides, glycerin and niacinamide will boost hydration and encourage healing of the skin. Darker skin tones concerned about the pronounced effect of hyperpigmentation should consider including a pigment-evening serum, to brighten the skin.”
Avoid wearing make-up underneath a mask
“This is an important step in reducing the risk of clogged pores and bacterial build-up on the skin,” says Dr Ghalaie. “A good compromise is to wear a tinted moisturiser with SPF that will give you a healthy glow but won’t contribute to maskne. It’s also worth noting that when half of your face is covered, people will naturally pay more attention to your eyes so drawing attention to them is a good way to balance an otherwise makeup-free look.”
Be careful not to over-exfoliate
“The skin barrier is already under stress, so further exfoliation can cause increased trauma. Gentle exfoliation can be achieved by swapping AHA cleansers for enzyme cleansers,” says Ayodele. “Avoid physical scrubs to prevent further irritation and sensitivity.”
Pick your mask wisely – and change or wash it after every use
“Changing your mask daily can help to avoid a build up of bacteria on the skin. If you are using a reusable mask ensure it is washed every day, on at least 60-degree heat,” says Dr Ghalaie. “Leaving your mask out in the sun for an hour before reapplying is beneficial” adding that the fit of the mask is often more important.
Don’t forget your lips
Try using a lip balm throughout the day especially on extreme winter weather days
Why not get festive with our ‘Limited Edition’ Christmas reusable face masks, which are also currently half price, available in Red with a Green tree design, and also Green with a Red tree design….or why not treat yourself and get both colours and take advantage of the half price offer -Must end soon!!
SHOP PRO-MASK CHRISTMAS FACE MASKS https://www.pro-stretch.net/product-category/pro-mask-products/pro-mask-christmas-masks/
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