By wearing a face covering we are doing our part to stop the spread of Covid 19, but have you been experiencing more problems with your skin because of wearing a mask? If so, you are not alone!
Wearing masks can cause real issues with our skin. Especially those of us who have pre-existing skin conditions, or, if you are wearing PPE continuously in the course of your work- thank you to those on the front line!
Why is your mask Causing you trouble?
Maskne as it is now known is actually a form of acne called acne mechanica, this form of acne is commonly seen in people who play sport, from the wearing of sports gear such as helmets, straps and tight-fitting gear.
Acne mechanica comes about from pressure and direct friction, in this case from your mask, that leads to irritation and inflammation of the skin. The mask is also creating a steam effect on the skin, a warm, moist environment, where moisture is trapped between the mask and your skin clogging the pores and encouraging the build-up of bacteria from your breath on your skins surface.
The friction element of the acne mechanica can cause damage to the skins protective layer leaving it vulnerable to the bacteria that is more prevalent because of the heat and moisture created by the mask.
The inflammation of the skin can also in some cases stimulate the pigment cells in the skin and leave behind marks on the skin even after the redness subsides.
Consultant dermatologist Dr. Niki Ralph says;
“Maskne” is a form of acne mechanica and is caused by friction, rubbing and occlusion (or covering) of the skin. Friction and pressure on the skin can cause micro-tears or a weakened skin barrier, which allows easier entry for bacteria and dirt, and can lead to inflammation which then drives the acne process. Masks can also trap humidity, dirt, oil and sweat, creating an ideal environment for breakouts.
To counteract this, I recommend cleansing before and after wearing a mask and avoiding use of oil-based make-up, as the oil may lead to increased congestion. After cleansing, be sure to add moisture back into the skin with a daily moisturiser, adding acne fighting ingredients if needed (such as Effaclar Duo +). Adding moisturiser will also act as a physical barrier to protect weakened skin.”
Top tips for helping to improve and prevent Maskne
If you can, wash your face when you take your mask off, using a cleanser with a beta hydroxy acid will clear the pore walls and prevent the build-up of bacteria on the skin. Effaclar Micro Peeling Purifying Gel intensely removes impurities, excess sebum and unclogs the pores so is an effective way of targeting persistent imperfections. After cleansing the skin, follow with Effaclar Clarifying Lotion to help eliminate any remaining excess oil and refine the look of the pores.Finally, apply a thin layer of Effaclar Duo+ - an anti-blemish treatment moisturiser that corrects and hydrates the skin, leaving it clearer in just four weeks.Treat when you sleep with Effaclar Ultra serum is enriched with salicylic acid, LHA and glycolic acid and helps to unclog pores, smooth the skin’s surface and improve skin renewal overnight.
The build-up of bacteria on the skin can cause congestion under the skin resulting in uneven bumps and red pimples. Using a mask to help draw out impurities is an excellent way to prevent these bumps.
Effaclar Unclogging Purifying Mask helps to unblock the pores and remove excess oil build up throughout the day. It is a creamy clay texture with ‘anti-drying effects.’ Leave on for 5 minutes, 2-3 times a week. Ideal for a deep cleanse after a long day wearing a protective mask.
Moisturise before masking
The friction caused by the mask can leave the skin feeling sore, dry and irritated, especially if you have sensitive and eczema-prone skin that reacts easily. But, by adding skincare that reduces sensitivity to your routine, you can help to restore comfort and hydration.
Toleraine Ultra crème is perfect for sensitive, reactive skin prone to dryness, tightness, redness, itchiness or burning. Suitable for those prone to allergic reaction. Enriched with neurosensine, glycerin, shea butter and La Roche-Posay's Thermal Spring Water to instantly soothe and moisturise irritated skin.
Keep Makeup Simple
When wearing a mask, you are creating a steam effect on the skin where pores are open and likely to absorb more than normal. This includes any oil-based makeup product, if you can skip foundation altogether and opt instead for a tinted sunscreen your skin will thank you! The Anthelios Ultra Fluid is the perfect light weight texture with a slight tint.
Treat your mask like underwear!
Remember that your mask is also an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. Its really important that you wash your mask often to prevent the spread of bacteria. Treat your mask like underwear and wash it every night or use a disposable option.