Here we go again! *mask off* *mask on*
The return of maskne is hitting hard as we go back to wearing masks indoors and in crowded spaces. But don’t fret, we’re here to share our professional advice on preventing and treating this pesky condition. Here’s a little help if you’re having maskne issues right now.
What is maskne?
The world needed a new term for acne caused by wearing a face mask. The type of acne referred to as “maskne” is technically called acne mechanica, which specifically refers to the skin irritation that’s formed by excess pressure, heat, and rubbing against the skin. When your skin is constantly rubbed, it initially becomes rough and then starts to develop acne-like bumps.
A research letter published by the American Academy of Dermatology claims that 83% of frontline workers experience maskne! From the DMs we’re receiving to our own experience with it, we know this is an accurate assessment of what we’re collectively experiencing. Because let’s face it, we need to learn how to mitigate the harmful side effects of our skin-mask connection and create harmony with our PPE!
How to treat maskne
Simple skincare is the best skincare. Funny that it’s always been our message, but now that message is hitting home. The fewer products you use, the better your skin will react because whatever you apply under your mask will be held that much closer to your skin. So we suggest using a cleanser with a mild pH (like our Balancing Oil Cleanser), a simple toner or hydrosol, and a face oil. In the area where you wear your mask, avoid heavy face creams. Protecting your skin with simple oils like our Clarity Oil or Replenishing Facial Oil will help to prevent chafing on the surface of your skin and will also protect your skin from that chapped feeling.
Our Clarity Oil was developed with acne, maskne, and barrier-compromised skin in mind. This healing oil features sweet Annie’s ability to protect your skin from bacterial and fungal infections, combined with goldenseal for tissue-building, plantain aka “nature’s bandage” for active breakouts, helichrysum for its antimicrobial properties to help prevent infection, and comfrey for its ability to heal and regenerate skin at a rapid rate. What’s even more amazing about this oil is its ability to clear skin. We’re always blown away by the power of nature to nurture!
Another maskne tip from our master esthetician Dani of Trinity Roots Wellness: try a gentle exfoliation two times a week with Botnia’s Weekly Digest Mask mixed with the Essential Enzymes or goat milk yogurt to remove dead skin cells and allow for new ones to regenerate.
And let your skin breathe! When you remove your face mask, spray a hydrosol all over your skin and use a clean cotton ball to gently wipe the area around your mouth, removing any surface bacteria that may have festered under your mask.
Forgo the makeup when wearing a mask. There’s simply no reason to be adding potential pore-clogging products to your skin if they won’t be seen. Let your skin breathe and work on creating a microbiome for your skin barrier to protect itself.
When you can, choose 100% organic cotton face coverings. Cotton is a breathable fabric that will allow for airflow on the surface of the skin and it’s gentler on the skin than many other materials. Would you put on underwear that you wore yesterday? Hell no! Treat your face mask like your underwear, and wash your mask regularly! And don’t forget to use a gentle plant-based detergent when washing.
Brush your teeth and tongue after you eat. When you eat food it gets caught in your teeth, and as you breathe into your enclosed face mask, you breathe in the food that is degrading in your teeth. This can cause everything from your own suffering of bad breath to actual bacteria being trapped on the surface of your skin. As you breathe that bacteria becomes airborne and will be trapped on the surface of your skin, thus it’s important to make sure you have a protective shield in place, such as our Clarity Oil to help the surface of your skin fight off acne-causing bacteria and other pathogens.
Have you found any other tips for living in harmony with your face mask? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments! Wearing a mask saves lives, and we all could use the experiences and support of others to keep up spirits in fighting this pandemic!