Has your skin been experiencing a new set of challenges within the past nine months or so? Perhaps you’re seeing new bumps, dryness, redness, irritation, clogged pores, acne, or pimples in and around the areas of your mouth or cheek. My dear, this common phenomenon you’re likely suffering from is termed ‘maskne’, and you are definitely not alone.
What is maskne?
Maskne is an informal term that’s used to describe acne or skin irritation that’s caused by wearing a face mask. Whether you wear your mask for a brief moment, an extended period of time, or the entire day, the struggle with maskne is real and it sure can be frustrating!
What causes maskne?
Maskne is generally caused by a buildup of excess oils or bacteria, creating an environment that can lead to clogged pores. Two key factors - warmth and moisture - contribute to this type.
When you’re out wearing a mask, especially for extended periods of time, your breath creates a warm and moist environment inside your mask.
You’re basically sweating inside and into your mask, which creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Oil production may also increase in this type of warm, moist environment. And it’s this undesirable combination of bacteria and excess oil that can lead to clogged pores.
A third factor, friction, can also lead to maskne in the form of acne and/or irritated skin, especially along the chin and cheek areas
Why you'll want to avoid maskne
In order to glow naturally, your skin needs to breathe and by wearing a mask for extended periods of time, you’re preventing it from doing so. What’s worse, wearing the same mask can cause bacteria, sweat, moisture, and debris to become trapped which can further increase your chances of developing blemishes, acne, or peri-oral dermatitis (i.e. irritated skin around the mouth).
Not only are clogged pores a classic precursor to acne, but they also prevent the absorption of your favorite skincare products. Over time, this can leave your skin looking and feeling dull; you may experience dry or rough patches, or worse your skin can become red, itchy, flaky, or inflamed!
What's covered in this post
In this post, I share ten incredibly useful tips for you to prevent and manage maskne through simple skincare & mask care and adopting good daily habits.
I’ll also introduce a variety of hacks for you to consider - all based off of my plant-based beauty + wellness line that includes skincare and aromatherapy products. These hacks highlight the numerous benefits of these products when it comes to maskne management and prevention.
As a Clinical Herbalist, I look to medicinal herbs for their numerous healing properties with the understanding that a single herb can exert multiple benefits. This same principle applies to my plant-based beauty + wellness products, which I’m happy to have discovered helpful hacks with a few of them! As you read my tips below, you’ll learn how these products may serve other purposes than they were originally intended for.
When it comes to keeping your skin free of maskne, I recommend not only focusing on your skincare ritual but also mask care, along with the following recommendations.
Maskne Recommendations: Skincare
1) Give your skin a quick cleanse while you're at work or on the go
If you’ll be wearing your mask the entire day or for extended periods of time, remove your mask (when/where it’s safe to do so) and give your skin a quick “on the go” cleanse with a spritz of Brighten Facial Toner.
Made with a blend of antibacterial and antimicrobial herbs, Brighten Facial Toner helps to keep blemish-causing bacteria at bay while freshening up your skin and balancing oil production.
After giving your skin a quick spritz of this toner, allow to air dry or gently wipe off before putting your mask back on.
2) Spot treat to clear up blemishes & soothe redness
One of my best-sellers, Soothe Salve, was originally created to provide relief for common skin irritations (e.g. rashes, bug bites, minor cuts, scrapes, sunburns, burns) and also as a chest rub to help ease the discomfort of sinus or lung congestion. This multi-use product is a customer favorite and has earned its nickname “nature’s neosporin.”
But did you know that (thanks to customer feedback & reviews) Soothe Salve also works wonders as a spot treatment, helping to clear up blemishes, while soothing post blemish redness?
After cleansing or as needed, dab a bit of Soothe Salve on blemishes for relief from redness & irritation.
3) Exfoliate regularly to keep your pores clear
To help prevent and manage maskne, make sure you exfoliate regularly to properly remove dead skin cells & encourage skin cell turnover. Otherwise, a build-up of dead skin cells and debris can lead to clogged pores, a common precursor to acne.
If you’re looking for a gentle, nourishing exfoliant, try Matcha Buffing Grains. These botanical & mineral based buffing grains can be mixed with a bit of water to form a paste and used to gently polish away dead skin cells.
4) Calm skin redness or irritation with a plant-based facial mask
Using an antibacterial, plant-based facial mask such as the Honey Healer Facial Mask can calm redness and heal blemishes, especially if you suffer from maskne.
This nourishing raw honey mask is blended with finely powdered botanicals & probiotics to help clear clogged pores and remove excess dirt. Thanks to its antibacterial properties, Honey Healer provides beauty benefits for both dry as well as oily / acne prone skin.
5) Cleanse your skin daily without stripping away its natural oils
To prevent stripping your skin of its natural oils, try Cleanse Facial Oil which gently cleanses your pores and effectively removes dirt & debris without drying out your skin.
6) Maintain your skin’s moisture & protective barrier
Since dry skin is a common problem that's associated with wearing masks, invest in a good quality moisturizer to support your skin's protective layer.
7) Go make-up free
Avoid wearing make-up, especially on the areas of your face that come into contact with your mask. This especially applies to foundation, primer, concealer, and blush which can lead to clogged pores and breakouts especially when worn underneath a mask.
Maskne Recommendations: Mask Care
8) Choose a natural-fiber, cloth mask
- Choose a natural cloth mask over one that’s made of synthetic materials (unless you’re a front line healthcare worker who’s required to wear a surgical/procedure mask of course!). Opt for a mask that’s made with high quality cotton or cotton blended materials, especially on the side that’s touching your face. These are less likely to cause friction which can lead to redness and skin irritation.
9) Wash your mask regularlyWash your mask regularly. You’ll want to clean your mask daily or after each use (especially if you’re wearing it for an extended period of time, while at work, etc) using mild soap cleanser and warm water to lessen the risk of skin irritation. Avoid using harsh cleansers or detergents.
Avoiding wearing a mask that is damp or wet (this often serves as a breeding ground for unwanted bacteria!
Treat your mask like underwear - you wouldn’t want to put on dirty underwear, right? The same logic applies to your mask! And just like underwear, you’ll want to have several masks available whenever you need to switch to a clean one.
10) Can't wash your mask regularly?
If you're unable to wash your mask, a great alternative is to disinfect it between washings with Smudge Room Clearing Spray. This spray was created to purify the air of unwanted energies, but thanks to its potent antimicrobial properties, Smudge physically cleanses surfaces or materials too!
Smudge Spray is great for minimizing the growth of blemish causing bacteria on/within your face mask. To help keep your face mask clean between washings, lightly spray your face mask with a few spritzes of Smudge Spray and allow it to air dry before wearing or storing.
Looking for help with your maskne?
Or if you're looking for general plant-based skincare support...
Try the Illuminate Your Skin Kit to keep your pores clear and your skin cleansed, toned, and moisturized.
And don't forget, beauty, to invest in a natural-fiber cloth mask to reduce your chances of skin irritation or sensitivity.
I hope you've found these recommendations helpful, and that they've empowered you to make small changes to your skincare and/or mask care routines so you can prevent maskne for good!
Have you had challenges keeping your skin blemish free during this pandemic? I'd love to know what has & hasn't worked for you!
Product photos by Julia Paras