To stop the spread of COVID-19, face masks have become a new essential accessory. Skin Advisory Board member and board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shasa Hu takes you through the ins-and-outs of the new, unwanted guest that’s taken up residence on your face.
WHAT CAUSES MASKNE?
Adhesion or movement of the mask against your face can irritate the skin, making your skin more prone to clogging. This friction also causes damage to the skin barrier.
Protective masks create an occlusive environment for the covered area. Perspiration, sebum, and natural shedding of the skin create the perfect storm where pores become clogged easily.
HUMIDITY FROM SWEAT, OIL AND MOISTURE
The heat and humidity concentrated around the mouth can alter the pH of your skin and make you more prone to three issues—bacterial overgrowth can result in folliculitis or infected hair follicles; yeast overgrowth can result in perleche or cheilitis, which can present as persistent dry cracked corners of the mouth; and, lastly, perioral dermatitis, a variant of rosacea that can present as small red bumps and chronic irritation around the mouth.
The combination of COVID-19 related anxiety and mask regulations inevitably take a toll on the skin.
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF MASKNE?
Breakouts, redness or irritation on the upper cheeks, lower cheeks, jawline, chin, nose, and around the lips – the areas of the face covered by protective face masks – from being enclosed for long periods of time. There is a significant overlap between mask induced acne and the traditional acne mechanica, which is a type of acne induced by friction. Many people are experiencing maskne, and not only those with acne-prone skin or who have experienced acne before.
HOW TO COMBAT MASKNE?
WASH YOUR FACE REGULARLY
Skincare products are important, but you want to start with the basics! Start by washing your face before you put a mask on and after you take it off. Opt for mild, gentle cleansers that won’t strip your already sensitive or irritated skin.
Our Clean Biotic cleanser melts away dirt, pollution, and excess oil without stripping the skin while helping to retain moisture.
Moisturise after cleansing to prevent dryness and help restore the skin’s natural protective barrier. Look for moisturisers with calming ingredients to help with any redness or irritation.
Our Cool Biotic probiotic redness relief cream contains cannabis sativa seed oil, our Biotic Balancing Complex™ and colloidal oatmeal to moisturise and alleviate skin discomfort.
SKIP MAKEUP IF POSSIBLE
Wearing too many products, including layers of makeup can cause build up on the skin. If necessary, choose non-comedogenic products.
Pore Refiner Primer is a great option as it helps diminish the look of pores and imperfections while gently treating the skin with a derivative of salicylic acid – a highly effective ingredient that penetrates into pores to remove oil. It also provides a natural “no-makeup” look while creating a smooth, flawless finish.
CHOOSE MASKS WISELY AND WASH AFTER EVERY USE
Using soft cotton masks will help reduce friction and irritation and allows the skin to breathe WHENEVER POSSIBLE. Masks should be washed after every use to avoid growing microbes in the weave of the fabric.
MASKNE AND YOU
Acne interferes with self-esteem and can lead to feelings of shame, stigmatisation, and quality of life impairment.
“Maskne is invisible, covered by our face masks, but like all other types of acne, it affects us, how we feel about ourselves. We see our own skin and live in our own skin daily. This is why we care about maskne.” – Dr. Shasa Hu
Skincare is part of something bigger. If you look better, you feel better; if you feel better you look better.