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If you’re out and about these days, you’re probably toting this summer’s new must-have accessory: a mask. All kidding aside, masks have become a necessary component of our day-to-day lives, and a permanent fixture on our faces as we head to the store, to work, or even on a walk to clear our heads.
There are benefits, to be sure - these powerful little face shields can help us keep ourselves and others safe as we navigate a post-coronavirus summer. But there can also have some major drawbacks, including some major acne and skin congestion.
Here are some tips to help you kiss that mask-ne goodbye once and for all.
First thing’s first: what is maskne? Unlike stress-induced acne, which can take many forms and appear all over your face, mask-related acne usually appears as small, shallow whiteheads that pop up shortly after you wear your medical, cloth, or paper face mask. And these bumps will usually appear where the mask hits your face: along the bridge of your nose, on your cheeks, or along the chinstrap.
The culprit? The physical breakdown of your skin’s natural barrier, which can cause a slew of problems, including skin congestion. See, the mask is constantly rubbing on your skin in these locations, causing friction that creates micro-tears in the skin, causes irritation, and pushes sebum, dirt, and oil down into your pores.
If your mask has oil, grime, or makeup on it, it’s going to make the problem worse every time you put it on your face. Make sure to give it a wash - or replace it completely if you’re using medical or paper masks - to minimize irritation.
You’ll want to make sure that your nightly skincare routine includes products and ingredients that will restore your skin’s natural barrier. This includes:
A big contributing factor here? Dead cells, dirt, and sebum sitting on your skin and getting pushed into your pores. If you effectively remove the majority of these surface concerns, then, you can really reduce your maskne in the long-term.
Remember, though, to opt for a gentle cleanser- free of surfactants and harsh detergents - that will cleanse impurities without over-stripping the skin, which would make the problem even worse.
Since the main issue here is raw skin and a compromised barrier, you don’t want to treat maskne with harsh problems that will exacerbate these already significant concerns - so skip the intense scrubs and acne ingredients like benzoyl peroxide.
Instead, opt for something like a glycolic acid serum - known to cleanse pores while removing dry, dead cells from the surface of the skin - or a kaolin clay face cleanser, which will gently cleanse impurities without over-drying the skin.
The main problem leading to this acne is friction on your face. If you find a mask with a fit or a fabric that reducesfriction, it’ll help significantly. Look for a soft, silky fabric or, alternatively, adjust the straps to tighten or loosen your mask as necessary.
If you don’t want to buy a new mask - or you can’t compromise the safety and protection that your current mask offers - then consider using a protective balm or barrier cream over the most significant problem areas. This should be a thick, viscous cream - think Aquaphor or Vaseline - to help protect the skin and reduce friction.
Just remember notto wear makeup underneath those areas - it will definitely clog pores and irritate the skin - and to wash your face thoroughly as soon as you get home and remove the mask.
We know - sometimes a little undereye concealer or mascara can be the only things making you feel human after months of working from home and minimal interaction with others. And we’re not saying you have to skip the makeup altogether. Just minimize its use on major areas of friction. Instead, opt for a tinted moisturizer or a light brush of some powder, and focus your makeup on the eyes (that’s the only thing anyone will see, anyway).
Find trial-sized version of every product you'll need to blast maskne for good in the Discovery Kit.