Face masks have become part of the new normal. Wearing any face covering can lead to buildup on skin and in pores, which could cause acne and other breakouts to develop on your face. Continue reading to learn about maskne, how to help prevent it, and how to help clear breakouts on your face.

What is Maskne?

Breakouts from mask wearing are commonly known as maskne. Maskne (mask + acne) can occur due to the regular or prolonged use of face masks. When you wear a mask, it may rub against your skin and increase friction on your cheeks, nose, and chin. Masks may also trap heat, sweat, dead skin cells, and sebum on your skin—a recipe for clogged pores. Maskne can show up in a few different forms. Some of these include:

  • Pimples and other breakouts
  • Blemishes around your nose and mouth
  • Blackheads
Help prevent maskne by cleaning your mask each time after you wear it. Help take care of your pores by following a regular skincare routine to get rid of pore-clogging material on your skin. Keep reading for even more tips for preventing maskne while keeping yourself safe.

What Causes Maskne?

There are multiple factors that can contribute to maskne, including:

  • Humidity: The exhaled gases, along with sweat can result in a warm, humid environment—perfect for acne-causing bacteria to thrive.

  • Confined Sebum: If you’re required to wear your face mask for long periods, this prolonged contact could trap pore-clogging material on your skin. Sebum, which is an oily substance naturally produced by your skin, can get trapped on the surface of your skin and contribute to clogged pores.

  • Allergies: In some cases, you may be allergic to the material your mask is made of, which can lead to irritation or inflammation. If you have sensitive skin or are allergic to certain textiles, be sure to know what your mask is made of before wearing it.

  • Exercising with a Mask: Some daily activities like jogging, exercise, and even walking can cause more mechanical friction, heavier breathing, or increased perspiration.

  • Hot Weather: A warm, sunny day or humid weather means more sweat or trapped moisture, which in turn could contribute to breakouts.

How to Help Prevent Acne

Use these preventive measures to help ward off skin issues even before they pop up.

  1. Find the Right Mask: One of the biggest factors in preventing new skin issues is finding the right mask for your skin.

  2. Practice Proper Mask Care: Once you have the right mask, know how to maintain them. If it’s a disposable mask, replace each one after getting home and avoid reusing them. For reusable masks, wash them thoroughly after each use.

  3. Handle the Mask Properly: Always wash your hands before putting on your mask to prevent excess bacteria from making its way to your skin. When removing your mask, the best practice is to wash or sanitize hands first and avoid touching your face while removing. Immediately wash your hands upon mask removal or disposal.

  4. Know When to Change Your Mask: If you need to wear a mask for several hours or use a mask on and off multiple times throughout your day, try to have several clean masks available. Especially when doing activities that cause excessive sweating like exercise, change the mask for a fresh, clean one. If your current mask feels damp, switch to a new one. Moist, humid environments are optimal conditions for common skin microorganisms to multiply.

  5. Wash Your Face After Wearing a Mask: Especially if you have acne-prone skin, wash your face to remove dirt, sweat, and oil from the surface of your skin. For effectively cleansing on the go, use a facial cleansing cloth to remove sweat and oil.

  6. Use a Proper Facial Wash: To help prevent and help treat acne, an acne cleanser with Salicylic Acid is a great choice.

  7. Go Light on the Makeup: If you can, avoid wearing thick makeup to minimize pore congestion. At the end of the day, make sure to remove all of your makeup.

  8. Carefully Select Skincare Products Right for You: Especially if you have oily skin, look for noncomedogenic products. Noncomedogenic products are specially designed not to clog your pores.

  9. Exfoliate Weekly: Use a face scrub to gently exfoliate your skin once a week to remove dead skin cells and excess oil. If you have irritation or broken skin from wearing a face mask, avoid exfoliating your skin as doing so can lead to additional irritation.

How to Help Treat Acne

Sometimes the unavoidable happens, and despite your best efforts, you notice a new breakout when removing your mask. In that case, here are our top tips to help treat acne:

Avoid Picking or Pinching Your Skin

If you have blackheads, use a facial pore strip to safely remove blackheads without damaging your skin. If your skin is inflamed or irritated due to wearing a mask, avoid using a pore strip in these areas. Pore strips work hard to remove dirt, oil, pore clogs, and blackheads. 

Follow a Consistent Skincare Routine

One of the most effective ways to treat acne is to follow a consistent skincare routine. When looking to get rid of acne, wash your face twice a day with a daily acne cleanser to absorb excess oil and help stop breakouts. To further refine your pores, follow with a Witch Hazel toner to deep clean and remove pore-clogging residue on your skin.

Rest, Rest, Rest

Be sure to take some time for yourself. Stress and lack of sleep can cause your skin to feel out of whack, so be sure to give your body time to rest. Your mind, body, and skin will thank you!

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