Now that wearing facemasks have become part and parcel of everyday life, most of us have had to battle the onslaught of dreaded breakouts on the lower half of our face. Known as “maskne”, the term refers to newly formed acne or bumps in the general area of where your protective face masks are usually worn. Sure, no one will see it while you’re out, but that doesn’t mean that you should have to worry about your mask-induced acne once you take off your face masks.
In helping you find a way to restore your skin to its original glowing glory, we’ve rounded up the best tips from the experts, so you can continue to shine even as you stay protected by wearing a mask.
Tip #1: Choose an effective yet gentle cleanser
You should be washing your mask every day after use, but even with that in place, dirt can accumulate on your skin, especially if you’re wearing a face mask outside and perspiring. Dr. Grace Cho, one half of the founders behind Korean beauty brand CELLOOM, says that “we should cleanse our skin more thoroughly at the end of the day, since our dermal skin has been in contact with a bacteria that originate from inside our mouths. On top of that, your skin tends to produce more harmful sebum when trapped inside the face mask, so cleansing is important.
Dr Cho recommends the Back to Basics Cleanser, which she says “can help remove those sebum and bacteria while not sensitizing the irritated skin. This cleanser also works to restore the pH balance, helping our skin to regain healthier state.”
Tip #2: Find a product with salicylic acid
This star ingredient not only helps prevent your pores from clogging up with debris, it also helps to battles any bacteria that might result in a breakout.
“Facial pads pre-soaked with two per cent salicylic acid are very helpful and relatively inexpensive if used before and after using a mask,” says Dr. Viseslav Tonkovic-Capin, dermatologist and editor of DermBoard.org. “salicylic acid, which is a botanical from the willow tree, will keep pores clean and open. It will prevent the build-up of dirt and skin oil, and it will eliminate acne-causing bacteria.”
One of our choice products would be Mellow Naturals’ Clarifying Face Serum with Sophora Root, which contains capryloyl salicylic acid provides gentle exfoliation without irritating the skin.
Tip #3: Keep a healing balm handy
Once your skin starts to show signs of a breakout, it’s important to remember not to pick at the maskne, or you might cause permanent scarring to happen. Instead, keep a trusted facial ointment nearby for those emergency moments.
“If you notice this kind of irritation after removing the mask, wash the area with water and a gentle cleanser and apply an ointment to help the skin heal,” says Dr. Hadley King, a New York-based dermatologist, who goes on to recommend finding noncomedogenic products “to support and bolster the skin barrier without clogging pores”.
That’s where The Gentle Label’s Organic Healing Balm comes to your rescue. More than just a balm to prevent chapped lips or cracking nailbeds, this trusty little tube comes packed with anti-inflammatory and wound-healing calendula extracts, as well as naturally-derived exfoliant pawpaw that helps slough away dead skin cells to promote skin regeneration.
Tip #4: Lastly, remember to hydrate!
One of the banes of wearing a face mask is that the constant friction between the mask and your skin ends up removing much-needed moisture and oils whilst irritating the top dermal layer. So where, possible, remember to hydrate your skin. Dermatologist Dr. Yoram Harth explains that “an oil-free moisturiser helps to protect and repair your skin without clogging your pores,” and she recommends applying “a thin layer of a light, water-based moisturiser underneath your mask.”
Three items that help check this box are Beigic’s Treatment Lotion, H20 Jelly Masks from Glowfully and The Facial Spritzer Mist from WANT Skincare.
Infused with a whopping combination of six different peptides, botanical extracts and green coffee bean oil, Beigic’s Treatment Lotion is designed to deliver and replenish moisture in your skin, whilst simultaneously calming skin irritation – a bonus for those times when the mask constantly rubs against the skin around your mouth! Follow that with the H20 Jelly Masks from Glowfully, which boast a proprietary blend of aloe vera, acerola cherry, and red seaweed extracts to hydrate the skin, leaving it supple and boosting its collagen production. Lastly, WANT Skincare’s The Facial Spritzer Mist is formulated with skin-friendly essential oils and aloe vera extract, so you can spritz it on anytime of the day for a cooling, reviving and soothing feeling.