‘Maskne’ Prevention: 5 Products That Can Save Your Skin In The New Normal
“Less is more” should be our mantra during the quarantine.
Face masks are intended to protect you from the deadly virus that causes COVID-19, such that it has become mandatory to wear one in public spaces. However, a considerable number of people are finding that prolonged use of face masks could trigger an allergic reaction or cause acne breakouts – thus, the new coined term, “maskne.”
Ophelia, a cashier, noticed in September that the skin on the lower half of her face gets an adverse reaction when she wears a face mask for long periods of time.
“I work for eight hours a day at our shop and I’m required to wear a mask at all times. Napansin ko na bigla ako nagkaroon ng redness and irritation,” she says. She consulted a dermatologist and bought medications, which eventually solved her skin issue.
“Maskne is an umbrella term for different skin conditions that can be caused by wearing a face mask,” clarifies Dr. Jennie Francisco-Diaz, medical director of Skin 101 Dermatology.
Dr. Diaz says that people suffering from skin conditions such as acne, contact dermatitis, and folliculitis, are more likely to develop maskne, which results from having clogged pores.
“We all have oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells on our skin, but when you wear a mask, these substances can build up and block your pores,” she adds.
“Some people are also sensitive or allergic to the [face] mask, either from the material of the mask itself or to the scented detergent used to wash cloth masks with,” says Dr. Diaz.
She adds that the material of a face mask can rub against your skin and lead to irritation. According to Healthline, friction is also a possible factor in the development of maskne.
Wearing face masks can also trap heat as you breathe, talk, or sweat, which may increase the possibility of acne.
However, there are a few things you can do to prevent maskne:
Treat your facial skin the right way.
Dr. Diaz recommends washing your face regularly with lukewarm water and gently patting your skin dry with a clean towel.
“Avoid vigorously rubbing your skin as this may cause irritation,” she says.
Use a mild and gentle cleanser.
To get rid of excess dirt, oil, and other bacteria, it’s important to wash your face with a basic yet effective cleanser.
Try Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser, Php 799/473ml, with its non-irritating soap-free formula. It works for all skin types, even for infants.
Try also The Daily Grind Low pH Duo from local brand Fresh Formula, Php 599/set. It’s specifically made to fight maskne as it calms and hydrates your face while maintaining your skin’s natural pH balance.
Dr. Diaz advises against using cleansers that contain alcohol or fragrance, as these can also cause disruption to your skin.
Apply a non-comedogenic moisturizer for hydration.
According to Dr. Diaz, non-comedogenic moisturizers serve as a barrier between your skin and the face mask.
Not a fan of heavy and thick moisturizers? Try Celeteque Dermoscience Hydration Facial Moisturizer, Php 150/50ml. Its water-based and oil-free formula keeps skin supple without the greasy feel. It is also dermatologist-tested and hypoallergenic.
Celeteque products are available online.
Cortisone creams and moisturizers with ceramides are key.
The combination of a gentle cortisone cream and moisturizer with ceramides is the perfect recipe to soothe itchiness and irritation for people with sensitive facial skin.
Try The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA, Php 780/100ml. With ceramides, urea, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid, it checks all the right boxes for the ideal moisturizer.
The Ordinary is available at BeautyMNL. Mild cortisone creams, on the other hand, can be found in leading drugstores.
Free yourself from makeup.
Makeup can indeed make you feel more confident, but it’s important to allow your skin to breathe every now and then. Letting your skin rest from beauty products also promotes further healing and prevents clogged pores.
How to combat ‘maskne’
To avoid maskne, Dr. Diaz recommends using a face mask that has two or more layers of soft and natural fabric, like cotton.
“Avoid masks made of synthetic fabrics such as nylon or rayon that can irritate the skin,” she advises.
It’s also important not to reuse disposable face masks and to regularly wash fabric masks with a hypoallergenic and fragrance-free detergent to prevent skin disruption.
Dr. Diaz also recommends taking a break from wearing face masks for 15 minutes every four hours.
Of course, the basic rules in skin care always apply: cleanse and moisturize.
For Dr. Diaz, maskne has become the new acne.
“Unfortunately, [face] masks are here to stay for another few months so always remember to clean and hydrate the face to achieve clear and flawless skin.”