Real Solutions for Maskne
I don’t know about you, but I hate wearing a mask. Because I work from home and am spending my summer in the Canadian wilderness it is pretty easy to avoid the mask, but I do have to pop it on if I am whipping into town for a quick food shop (it’s the law).
I have been super-prone to acne my entire life, so even wearing a mask for a short period of time can affect my skin. And many of my patients are in situations where they have to wear masks for hours each day – and their acne is seriously aggravated. Maskne is not a joke, it is real and it can affect us mentally and emotionally.
And so, here is your definitive guide on WHY Maskne happens, and what you can do about it.
Why does Maskne occur?
When you wear a mask, the friction of the fabric against the skin irritates the hair follicles and can lead to an acne flare-up. This is caused acne mechanica. In fact, you may have experienced this if you are an athlete and wear a sweaty helmut or hat on a regular basis.
When you wear a mask for a long period of time, acne mechanica is made even worse by the moisture that is trapped underneath the fabric. A warm, humid environment is the ideal setting for bacteria, yeast and other microbes to thrive – which can lead to acne, rosacea, dermatitis and fungal acne.
The other factor is hypoxia. Long periods of mask wearing mean that your oxygen levels are lower than normal and your carbon dioxide levels are higher. Chronic hypoxia can affect every system in the body, but it can also cause colour changes and reduced oxygenation in the skin, which can aggravate break-outs.
The friction of the mask against the skin, combined with moist humidity and lower oxygen levels, is the perfect storm for maskne.
How can you prevent maskne?
1. Use a gentle skincare routine and avoid harsh chemical peels, retinoids or products that make your skin more sensitive and prone to irritation. Because the mask is constantly rubbing against your skin, using products that increase your skin’s sensitivity will make maskne even worse.
2. Wear a sunscreen or mineral pressed powder that includes zinc as a main ingredient. Topical zinc helps reduce inflammation and prevent new break-outs.
3. Do not wear lipstick underneath the mask, or lip balms that contain mineral or petroleum products. These can spread and increase clogging. Instead, use a natural lip balm infused with beeswax and honey.
4. Use a mask that is infused with copper, which is naturally anti-microbial. I like the Copper-Infused Face Mask by Envy: https://www.envypillow.com/shop/envy-copper-face-mask/
5. Use a colloidal silver spray on the mask area 2-3x per day. Colloidal silver anti-microbial yet incredible gentle. It will help control the overgrowth of microbes that is caused by the moist, warm environment.
6. Take breathing breaks throughout the day. Take off your mask, allow your skin to breathe and the humidity to evaporate, and take some deep breaths. This will help dry up some of the humidity and replenish your internal oxygen stores
7. Take a good probiotic. The microbiome in the gut is reflected in the microbiome on the skin. Replenishing beneficial microbes will help actually help fortify the microbiome on the skin, which means you will have more defense against the pathogenic microbes that are accumulating due to mask-wearing.
If you are wearing a mask for hours each day, bless you. I am sending you so much love and positive energy, because I know it cannot be easy on you or your skin. But the above tips really do work, and my hope is that they will help you avoid maskne – which will help you get through all this craziness.