Maskne – or friction acne, otherwise known as acne mechanica, isn’t a new phenomenon.
Medical staff using masks in their daily work pre-COVID are all too familiar with maskne, but this condition is certainly more common now with mandatory mask-wearing.
Prolonged repeated friction between the mask and skin, the occlusive and moist environment when masking up, together with the trapped dirt and sweat, create the perfect mix of conditions for clogged pores, acne and other skin irritations. Other common skin conditions that are surfacing under the mask include:
- Rosacea Typically worsens with heat and stress, the heat and humidity of mask wearing can trigger more flares.
- Seborrheic dermatitis Scaley inflamed skin that can also worsen with the irritations by masks.
- Folliculitis Inflamed red hair follicles, sometimes with pus, especially over frequently shaved skin.
1. In general, gentle skincare can only improve skin
- Use skincare that is free of artificial fragrances and parabens.
- Avoid scrubbing with loofa brushes or other stiff cleansing brushes.
- Click to find out more on Caring For Your Skin While Wearing Masks
Try the Corrective Defense Cream, a gentle yet multifunctional botanical cream that is specially formulated to protect the skin, while reducing redness, irritations and blemishes under the mask. The active ingredients Brightenyl®, niacinamide, calendula and green tea extract provide anti-pollution, anti-inflammation, anti-acne, anti-ageing and anti-pigment effects. Use twice daily as a treatment cream until skin is stable
2. If your skin is oily and acne prone
Avoid wearing make-up under the mask. Not only does make-up increase clogging of the pores, your mask will also get soiled. If you must have some coverage, go for make-up that is mineral-based and non-comedogenic.
Wash your face before donning on a mask intended for prolonged periods. This prevents dirt and oil from getting trapped within the pores. The Deep Pore Cleansing Foam contains salicylic acid, Silk Crystal and hyaluronic acid to clean out the pores without drying the skin.
It’s not true that oily skin does not need moisturising. Moisturised skin is stable and less likely to secrete excess oil. Try a different sort of mask that will rescue blemish-prone skin instead. The Acne Clearing Sleeping Mask is a lightweight moisturiser that is packed with anti-acne botanicals like tea tree, ginseng and elm, to soothe acne redness and irritations. Use this overnight to prep your face for the next day.
3. If your skin is dry and sensitive
Prep your skin with a protective moisturiser such as the Hydrating Soothing Essence before putting on your mask. Its Silk Crystal hydrates skin, while the tremella mushroom, ginseng and chamomile calm irritations.
For a more nourishing (yet lightweight) formulation, go for the Muru Muru Recovery Cream. The key ingredient is the Muru Muru Seed Butter from the palm trees of the Amazon rainforest. This plant ingredient is known for its hydration and reparative properties to give stable and heathy skin.
4. If you are a heavy mask-user (e.g. N95)
For those who are masked up for prolonged periods or use heavy-duty masks like the N95, chafed skin over pressure points like the nose bridge can bring about much discomfort. Without compromising the fit, a small strip of thin film dressing (e.g. Tegaderm™) or a layer of petroleum jelly (Vaseline®) can protect the skin.
Take a mask-breather whenever you can. Have a spritz on hand to cool the skin or wash out any oil and dirt from the pores. The Stem Cell Repair Essence, packed with apple and argan stem cell extracts with hyaluronic acid, boosts the skin’s natural repair process, while doubling up as a spritz. Enjoy its anti-ageing, anti-pigment effects too.
5. Build-up skin's natural defence
Build up the skin’s resilience from deep within by sleeping early for a good 7-8 hours, taking plenty of water and foods rich in anti-oxidants as well as exercising in the great outdoors.
While face masks are here to stay for a while, maskne certainly need not. If your skin just doesn’t seem to be responding to all your care and persists to be unstable and blemish-prone, have a chat with one of us doctors at IYAC. We will optimise your skincare and help you figure out your next step.