How to pre-emptively treat and avoid Maskne

2020 is the year of new words being invented in the wake of COVID-19. The latest we've heard of is 'maskne'. Simple tweaks to your natural skin care regime can prevent mask acne in most people. Here's our top natural tips.

What is Maskne?

Maskne is short for Mask Acne. For those who are wearing face masks for extended periods of time, acne that isn't normally a part of their life is appearing under the area where the face mask is worn. In Australia, we haven't heard a lot about it yet, but with the introduction of mandatory mask wearing rules now in Australia, it's something to be mindful of. Prevention is better than cure for a skin condition like this.

What causes mask acne?

Wearing a face mask for extended periods of time is not allowing the skin to breathe and behave as normal. There is an increase of sebum production due to the increased humidity underneath the mask. For anyone who suffers from excess acne in humid summers and wet seasons, the mask is recreating that environment.

Skin cells out in the fresh air will shed as a normal part of every day life. With a mask on, some of these dead skin cells will get clogged in your pores along with dirt, grime, excess oil and sweat. Under the mask is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to grow which will cause breakouts.

What kind of mask should I be wearing?

For your skin, wearing a mask made out of natural materials - ie: cotton or silk, allows your skin to breathe better that something synthetic. We want to be really clear that this is not health advice, it's skin care advice. Current recommendations in Australia are for people to wear a washable and reusable mask with 2-3 layers of fabric. The purpose of this mask is not to protect the wearer from what's outside, but to catch any droplets from your own talking / coughing / breathing from reaching others. If you ever get given health or medical advice to wear something other than a cotton mask, please follow those health and safety guidelines.

Give your skin a break when you can

Without breaking any health and safety guidelines, if you're required to wear a mask for extended periods of time, take 5 minutes every couple of hours to remove your mask (only when it's safe to do so). Our Wotnot Purifying Facial Wipes are formulated for oily & combo skin and are the perfect mid-day freshen up to remove any excess oil or dirt from the skin surface.

How should I alter my skin care regime?

  1. No Makeup - if you're wearing a mask all day for work, going foundation free will give your skin the best possible chance. If you still want your eyes to pop, a brushing of your favourite natural mascara won't cause you any issues at all. It's the foundation that's the problem.
  2. Nightly Cleansing - your night time cleansing ritual just got more important than ever. Depending on how oily your skin feels, it may be time to temporarily switch in a facial cleanser that's suited to oily / combo skin rather than what you normally use. You be the judge though, if your skin feels dry, then use a cleanser for your own skin type.
  3. Wear a good quality sunscreen - yes, we thought this was an odd choice too, but after we finished our research, we totally got it. Hear me out. If you are going to be inside and outside, there's a chance you're going to develop a tan line by wearing a mask, even a subtle one will be hard to get rid of. For those who are spending some time outdoors, this is a good reason to wear it purely for how your face will look. The sunscreen will also give you a little protection against friction and chafing. The Mukti Daily Moisturiser with Sunscreen is a good choice for minimal sun exposure (SPF 15 rating). For more frequent sun exposure, we like the Simple As That Natural Sunscreen Lotion with SPF30 protection.
  4. Replenish any moisture loss at the end of the day - choosing a night cream rich in hyaluronic acid will ensure overnight moisture replenishment. The addition of a quality serum before your night cream will give you an added boost. The Inika Phyto-Active Botanical Face Oil is a good choice. It contains 18 high-end botanical oils and we also love the new Native Power Serum from MV Skin Therapy.
  5. A gentle weekly treatment - don't switch to anything too harsh in these conditions. We love the multi-tasking Wild Berry Honey Cleanse from Wildcrafted Organics which is a nourishing and hydrating cleanser, gentle exfoliant and masque all in one.