With people wearing face coverings to help keep the coronavirus infection rate down, “maskne” (aka mask acne) is becoming a more common skin issue. With clients suffering from chapped and irritated skin on their mouth, chin and jawline as a result of wearing a face covering, we have put together some advice on how to manage the symptoms of this frustrating, uncomfortable and, at times, painful condition.
Face coverings can rub and irritate the skin so, if you’re prone to breakouts, wearing a face-covering will amplify the condition. A mask also traps the breath which causes an increase in humidity and temperature in this region. As the skin temperature increases, so does circulation and sweating, and this combination of friction and heat means accelerated oil and cell production.
Increased sweating can result in clogging and congestion of the skin - the warm, moist environment is the ideal breeding ground for acne conditions.
Initially, the skin may feel rough, but it gradually becomes bumpy, and then starts to develop more blackheads, raised papules and painful spots.
There are several steps to reducing these breakouts. Firstly, we advise you to wear a clean mask or face covering each day. Reusable fabric face coverings should be washed and left to dry thoroughly.
Trying to reduce bacterial build-up is beneficial for the skin but also ensures essential hygiene necessary for controlling coronavirus risks, too. Taking the mask off for a period, if it is appropriate to do so, will also give your skin some respite.
Avoid wearing make-up underneath a mask if at all possible or wear mineral-based makeup, such as Mii Minerals, which will not clog your skin, but will heal and protect your skin instead.
A face wash with salicylic acid is an excellent choice as it reduces clogging and has anti-inflammatory action. We would recommend the Active Cleanser by Priori - this cleanser uses lactic and salicylic acids which will naturally exfoliate and decongest the skin. Ensure that you cleanse your skin twice a day. In an evening, it's important to double cleanse - the first cleanse to remove the days build up and your makeup, the second cleanse to really clean your skin.
Gentle and regular exfoliation with a mild exfoliator is an important addition to the regimen. This prevents the follicles and pores from becoming blocked.
Keeping skin hydrated with a light or matte moisturiser will improve the skin’s barrier, help regulate sebum production and reduce irritation. Perfect Matte fluid by Thalgo is a great option as this minimises the appearance of pores and gives an anti-shine correction.
When choosing a spot treatment, opt for a less drying formula like the Gel Perfector by Priori, this contains lactic and salicylic acids which give excellent results for clearing your breakouts.
Breakouts may not be the only concern, though. Contact dermatitis or eczema can develop in these pressure areas where masks or face coverings abrade the skin. Apart from red and sensitive patches, skin can even become raw and weeping.
To ease discomfort and pain, restore your lipid barrier with soothing barrier products such as Barrier Restore by Priori or Nutri soothing cream by Thalgo. Cleanse with gentle cleansing milk and keep skin well moisturised. Avoid artificially fragranced products, or those with astringent botanicals, as not only will they sting on application, but they can increase redness and aggravate the sensitivity.
Treatment masks to be used at home can also be very beneficial as this is like having your own mini facial treatment and will give a long-lasting, deeper result.
For further advice, we offer free skincare consultations.