Maskne: What is it? And What to Do About It
What is Maskne?
Maskne or Acne Mechanica (the literal translation of the Latin or medical term for it is Mechanical Acne). This happens during the perfect storm of heat, friction (rubbing from a mask or face covering), moisture (from breathing, talking, sweating etc..) and occlusion (something that is causing a blockage) that can cause the skin to become irritated, bumpy, red and raw. This can also result in pimples deciding to rear their ugly head, typically where the mask sits on your face. "Maskne" is new for some of us due to the current pandemic since many of us live in areas where masks are required in public spaces, or you choose to wear a mask out of compassion. But this isn’t a new phenomenon for those who work in the healthcare system or any kind of work where you have to “mask up”. This can also occur on other areas of the body if the environment is right for it to develop, but for this post, we’re mainly focused on the face or “Maskne”. Now that we have a rough idea what "Maskne" is let's dive into what we can do about it.
What you can do about it:
- Cleanse your skin with a gentle cleanser like Riversol Cream Cleanser (for normal to dry skin) or Étymologie Active Clay Cleanser (for normal, combination or oily skin) and wash off with lukewarm water. By using a gentle cleanser you’re making sure you don’t strip your skin of its natural protective qualities as well as reducing the possibility of dirt or debris getting trapped on your skin so there is less chance of breakout happening from clogged pores.
- Apply a moisturizer like the Satya Stick (for all skin types especially sensitive skin), Riversol Daily Moisturizer (Normal-Combination skin), or Graydon Phyto Clear (for oily skin or those who want a really lightweight gel-like cream) to help lock in hydration and act as a barrier between your skin and your mask to reduce irritating friction or rubbing.
- If you’re using a fabric mask, wash your mask regularly with gentle detergent for sensitive skin and skip the fabric softer!
For acne prone skin try to avoid using really harsh products (like benzoyl peroxide, retinols etc..) or keep an eye on the amount and frequency you're using those types of harsh products on your skin. With the added friction from the mask this can cause more irritation and problems than good. Try using Riversol Comprehensive Acne Treatment after cleansing and don’t forget a good moisturizer like the Satya Stick or Graydon Phyto Clear. Even if you are prone to break outs, you still need to keep your skin hydrated so it can heal.
For Dry Skin – make sure you don’t skip the moisturizer every time you put your mask on and after (especially after cleansing). We find the Satya Stick is perfect for this because you can apply it directly onto your dry areas without actually touching the product with your hands and it’s easy to pop into your bag. Another option is Graydon Putty or Sade Baron Cloud Cream.
Sensitive/Eczema prone skin --- check that the type of material your mask is made from isn't irritating your skin. Some manufactured (usually one time use) masks may contain a chemical (like Formaldehyde and bronopol ) that can cause allergic reactions or skin irritations. If you're using a fabric mask make sure it's cotton or a fabric you know works well with your skin and make sure to wash it regularly (ideally after every use) with soap/detergent you know doesn't irritate your skin. As for a skincare routine, use a gentle cleanser like Riversol Cream Cleanser or Corpa Flora Beaute Divine Cleanser followed by a few drops of East 29 Vital Serum onto damp skin. Next Apply Satya Stick as your moisturizer -- roll it directly onto your skin and then gently press in with clean hands. If it's Daytime don't forget your SPF! 3 favourites for sensitive skin are Riversol Broad-Spectrum SPF 30, Cyberderm Every Morning Sun Whip SPF 30, Ava Isa Sun-e-Serum Drops SPF 35.
Having a good skincare routine is really important for skin health, especially with seasonal changes and now with daily PPE mask wearing. Once you've found the right products for your skin, you should start seeing improvements within a couple weeks. If you feel your skin is getting worse, or just isn't getting any better even with consistent use of a good routine for a couple weeks. It might be time to seek a professional, like your trusted dermatologist to make sure you're on the right track.
Hope this helps!
Much love from Team Asgard