The current pandemic situation has introduced us to some ‘new normal’ habits of hygiene. Wearing a face mask is one big part of it. Wearing a face mask is a very effective way of sustaining during Covid 19 because masks prevent virus spread and transmission through your mouth and nasal cavity. Wearing a heavy face mask for hours comes with its own difficulties too. In a subtropical country like ours, the humidity remains high throughout the year. The humidity causes sweat and the sweat accumulates in the masked parts of our face. Minor to major skin diseases, skin irritation, and acne-like lesions have become every mask wearer’s concern these days. People who have got past their acne age long ago are getting skin troubles like acne. That’s how this new term ‘Maskne’ comes into existence. Having trouble coping up with maskne? Check out our Maskne repository for the full-proof what-when-how of this pesky maskne situation!
What is Maskne?
Maskne, scientifically known as Acne Mechanica, is a specific type of acne or skin irritation you get by using skin covering, such as face mask, for a long time. Heat from your skin as well as weather, accumulated moisture from breathing and talking, and also the frictions caused by the mask’s material are the main reasons for maskne.
How to Know if I have Maskne or Just a Bout of Common Acne?
Studies have shown that maskne does not come alone. If your skin condition is maskne, it will appear in those areas of your face that got covered up by face mask. If you see minor skin issues like sudden dryness, flaky skin, slight itchiness or bumps around the roots of facial hair near the acne lesions, your pimples could be maskne; not regular acne.
Why Did I Get Maskne & How to Prevent?
Apart from environmental issues like heat and humidity, there are plenty of other reasons why you are getting maskne more than the others. If this is the case for you, ask yourself these questions.
1. Am I using Use and Throw Masks for Too Long?
2 or 3 ply use and throw masks stay effective up to 2-3 uses. If you are using it for 5-7 hours at a stretch, it might not be good to use it another time. Once your breathing becomes too comfortable with use and disposable mask, consider its throw-out time has come. Use and throw masks, if worn for multiple times, might soak up the sweat and sebum from your skin. These things are the favourite meal for acne-causing microbes. Once you start minding this fact, you’ll see a significant change in your maskne situation.
2. Am I Using Sweaty Masks without Properly Sanitizing?
Mask, be it a disposable one, a cloth made one or a heavy-duty N-95 one, needs thorough sanitization after each use. The mask might become a bacterial breeding ground if you just fold it up and keep in your mask bag after removing. Cloth masks need a thorough wash after 2-3 uses. The other types of mask lose their effectiveness if washed. You should sanitize them by hanging in sunlight for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
3. Am I using the Right Cleanser to Wash My Mask?
This tip is for cloth masks or washable masks only. Using too alkaline cleanser might degrade the material of your mask. The effectiveness might reduce as well. Harsh soaps leave tresses in the cloth fibres even if you wash it thoroughly. This residue is not at all good for your skin. It hinders your skin’s pH balance which, in turn, makes your skin vulnerable to bacterial and fungal outgrowths like maskne to normal acne, dryness etc. So, wash your mask with light liquid cleanser and hot but not boiling water.
4. Am I taking Care of My Skin the Right Way?
This is a crucial step of preventing many skin issues including maskne. Keeping your skin clean and properly moisturized helps to manage your skin’s natural pH. Our skin has its own moisture barrier. This barrier prevents our skin to get invaded by destructive bacteria and fungus. Balanced pH takes care of the health of the skin’s natural moisture barrier. Using harsh face cleansers damage this barrier. Our skin tries to produce more oil to fix this and this extra oil brews microbial growth. Make sure you are following your basic skincare routine both before and after covering the face with a mask.
Maskne Skin Care Routine:
Keep your skincare routine as simple as possible. No need to apply layers and layers of serum, essence and ampoule if you are about to put on a mask. They will anyways get erased as you go. You can keep these delicate steps for skincare after you remove your mask.
1. Cleanse your skin with a Mild Face Cleanser with ph 5.5 or near. Harsh cleansers will not do. You can use salicylic acid-based exfoliating face wash in your after-mask routine. It will unclog the pores, prevent and quickly heal maskne.
2. After your skin is deeply cleansed, apply a light layer of moisturizer on slightly damp skin. Try to choose a Non-Comedogenic Moisturizer which is free from harmful nano-particles. Look for ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, ceramide; these help in restoring skin’s moisture barrier. Let the moisturizer seep into the skin and then wear the mask.
3. You can also use Mineral-based Sunscreen with an oil-free formula.
4. Avoid any kind of base makeup for the face while wearing a mask. You may wear eye makeup if you like though! Makeup not only ruins the inside layer of your mask but also makes your skin oily after some hours.
What to Do if You have Maskne?
During the emergency situation of the pandemic, it is not possible to concoct home remedies with gazillions of ingredients. Here we are sharing two simple home remedies you can easily do alongside your maskne skincare routine.
1. Lemon peel & Aloe Gel-mask
Take a fresh lime or lemon. Scrap off the zest from it and mix with ½ tablespoon aloe vera gel. Apply the freshly made mask to the affected skin or your entire face. Keep it on for 15-20 minutes. Wash it off with plain water and moisturize the skin as usual. Don’t use lemon juice directly on the skin. It is highly acidic and might irritate the skin.
2. Sandalwood & Honey Moisture Restore Mask
This is another soothing face mask for acne, irritation, sun rash etc. Sandalwood has antimicrobial actions too. Take ½ tablespoon sandalwood powder, mix few drops of honey and dilute it with plain water, rose water or milk. Apply this for 5-10 minutes and ash off. Carry on with your regular skincare steps afterwards.
I hope this post gave you an insight into what is Maskne and how to deal with it.