Acne 101

Maskne is real

September 19, 2020

A mask keeps you safe, but it can make you break out! Here are some tips to manage maskne!

The pandemic is wreaking so much havoc on the world, and our skin isn’t spared from the nightmare! Lots of people are experiencing breakouts because of masks, hence the dreaded new portmanteau: maskne. While there’s no way around wearing a mask just yet — it’s the simplest and most effective way to protect ourselves and those around us from the virus — there are still things we can do to manage maskne. Here are some:

Before you put on your mask

  1. Make sure your face is clean! This isn’t really something new, but it’s more important now than ever. Acne is caused or aggravated by bacteria, after all.
  2. Apply moisturizer. Masks rub against our skin, and the friction from that can cause irritation especially for dry skin. If you have oily skin, go for a lighter moisturizer. In any case, be sure you pick one that’s non-comedogenic.
  3. Don’t skip the sunscreen when you’re going out! You still need to protect your face against the sun’s harmful rays, even the parts covered by the mask. Similar to when choosing a moisturizer, you need to go for a non-comedogenic product.
  4. Skip the treatment, but not completely. Yup, you read that right: don’t apply SMACNE treatment right before putting on a mask, since it contains active ingredients benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. It’s best to use it at night before you go to bed, or on your mask-free days when you’ll just be home.
  5. Ditch the makeup and skin lightening products!

Other tips

  1. Wash your face after taking off your mask. This is very important, especially if you sweat a lot — acne-causing bacteria thrives in moist (sweaty!) environments.
  2. Go for a cloth mask (if your work doesn’t require you to wear surgical or N95 masks). After each use, wash them well with fragrance-free detergent, and avoid fabric softener, too, as the chemicals used in fragrances are potential skin irritants. It would be good to have several pieces on hand, too, so you can change into a fresh one after sweating a lot.
  3. Let your skin breathe. If you have to wear a mask for long periods, give your skin a 15-minute breather at least once every four hours. Go to a safe place — either inside your car, or in an open space where there aren’t a lot of people — and take off your mask.

Sticking to a simple skincare routine is key to manage or prevent maskne, and if you don’t have one yet, give SMACNE a try (just be sure to adjust the treatment schedule as earlier recommended). But when all else fails, or if things get out of hand, you may need to consult a dermatologist.

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