What on Earth is Maskne?
The dawn of the new decade gave rise to one of the greatest health emergencies in the history of the world. In early 2020, Australia saw the arrival of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Wearing a face mask has since become part of our daily routine, necessary to protect ourselves and our community. It’s now mandatory to wear a mask in all public places, such as restaurants and grocery stores, as a barrier against the new coronavirus that spreads through respiratory droplets.
However, the constant wearing of masks has seen an increase in a new skin condition: “maskne”. This skin condition is not simply just a breakout of pimples, but rather can cause other issues including redness, abrasion, and irritation to the facial skin. This is significant among many of our frontline and essential workers who are typically wearing a face mask for long periods of their day.
As we breathe, our mask tends to trap in a lot of moist, warm air. Besides being annoying, this air humid environment becomes an ideal setting for yeast, bacteria and other flora, to grow.
Both bacterial imbalances and friction from your mask can promote acne and rosacea flare-ups.
Antimicrobial, antiviral and antibacterial essential oils such as lemon myrtle may help to control the micro climate within the mask environment, as well as changing your mask regularly.
Generally, “maskne” is an umbrella term for several skin conditions that can be caused by wearing a face mask or covering. These include:
Acne: Acne happens when your pores become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and dirt. It can cause pimples, whiteheads, or blackheads.
Rosacea: If you have rosacea, wearing a mask may cause flare-ups. This can lead to pimples and redness.
Contact dermatitis: Contact dermatitis occurs when you’re allergic or sensitive to the material of your mask. It can result in a red rash, along with irritation and blisters.
Folliculitis: Folliculitis is an infection of your hair follicles, causes bumps that look like an acne breakout. You might also experience itchiness or pain.
If you already have one of these conditions, you may be more prone to developing Maskne.
It’s essential to keep wearing a face mask, even if you have maskne. Don’t be tempted to not wear one! Keeping your mouth and nose covered is one of the best ways to protect yourself and those around you from COVID-19.
How do I prevent Maskne?
A good skin care routine is always the best preventative measure. And it’s a great way to practice self-care, simultaneously. We love the Jindii EcoSpa K.I.S.S. principal: Keep It Simple Sweetheart!
Prepare and Cleanse:
Use a gentle cleanser at least twice a day; morning and night. If you’re an essential or frontline worker, your skin will benefit from an additional cleanse after long periods of mask-wearing.
Your skin with benefit from a gentle exfoliation 1 -2 per week. This assists with the skins regeneration cycle and gently sloughs off the dead skin cells that our cleanser doesn’t always remove.
A layer of facial oil or moisturiser (lighter if you are oily or acne prone and thicker if you have sensitive or eczema-prone skin) can help your skin by serving as a barrier against any friction or irritation that develops.
If your skin is showing skins of distress e.g. redness, chaffing or irritation, then try IKOU Baobab & Neroli Calming Face oil – it works wonders!
Wash your Mask:
It’s also extremely important to wash your face mask regularly too. Treat it just a piece of underwear and wash it every day. Never reuse a cloth face mask without washing it first! Consider keeping a spare face mask on hand for when you need a fresh one.
Place your face mask in a small laundry bag to protect it and use unscented hypoallergenic laundry detergent. Then let it dry completely out it the sunshine.
Can certain mask fabrics cause Maskne?
Natural fibres are best worn close to our skin! Reusable facial masks made from fabrics such as cotton and linen are ideal and are durable for regular washing. Some fabrics are softer and more flexible so they may be more comfortable. Washing the fabric or mask first to remove any finishes on the fabric can help reduce the possibility of irritation as well.
How Do I Choose the Right mask?
Be mindful of the type of mask you wear. Try to wear a face mask that:
- fits snugly, but not too tight
- has two or more layers of fabric
- is made of natural, soft fabric (like cotton)
Avoid masks made of synthetic fabrics, such as nylon or rayon. These materials can irritate the skin.
Although maskne can be frustrating, it’s important to keep wearing face coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Regular face-washing, moisturising, and wearing the right type of mask may help prevent skin problems.