If you would have asked me a year ago to give you advice about this more than common problem in today’s society, I would have been scratching my head not knowing where to start. My practice since re-opening to stage 3 from this pandemic has taken a sharp turn down an unknown street called Maskne Boulevard! Basically it is acne caused by having to wear a mask all day long. Now you might jump to a conclusion and say “Well Laura, doctors and nurses have been wearing masks for years”. True I would answer but doctors, nurses and other health care practitioners (who wear masks) change their mask with every patient and go through many disposable masks each day. I have been hearing horror stories of people wearing the same mask all month, hanging it from their car rear view mirror or stuffing it in their LV hand bag. Now that I have gotten your attention you can stop making those disgusted facial expressions and pay close attention because it is more common than you think!
The dirty mask, the moist humid environment around your mouth and nose, the bacteria from sneezes and your mouth as you talk behind the same mask day in day out is the cause for this Maskne. It is a breeding ground for bacteria! You will ask me “well, Laura what am I supposed to do?” My answer would be simple and direct. Change your disposable mask as often as you can and when you don’t need it please take it off and let your skin breath.
The moist environment we briefly discussed before is not the only issue. The other issue is the mechanical stress on the skin where the mask is in constant contact with your face. Wearing a mask for any prolonged period of time and talking through it causes your mouth and nose to move as well as the skin under your cheek bones to rub against it. This mechanical stress causes redness and allows bacteria to enter those weakened and opened pore areas more easily leading to Maskne. Don’t forget your skin is our body’s biggest organ! One of the functions of your skin is to renew itself and it does that by basically sloughing off the outer most layer to allow new skin to come through. If that skin is falling off within that trapped moist mask environment, well you can see where this is going… Maskne!
This is where I step in to help you avoid and in some unfortunate cases recover from the Acne of 2020. As if 2020 has not been a bad year in itself now we have this to worry about too!
So here are my tips for avoiding and helping with Maskne:
#1- Wash your face morning and night. (Please refer back to my article Keeping it Fresh: 8 Quarantine Skin Care Tips) I recommend Esthederm’s Cleansing Gel or Pure Cleansing Foam for de-congesting the skin.
#2- Use disposable masks! I know it is not environmentally the best, but there is an advantage to the disposable mask , once it’s wet you throw it away and put a clean one on that’s not filled with bacteria and oil!
#3- If your mask is re-usable please make sure to wash it every night and make sure its 100% cotton and dry in the morning before having to use it again. Make sure your mask is clean and has not been sweeping the bottom of your hand bag or back pocket of your jeans. That goes for your hands touching your face too.
#4- Make sure the mask fits comfortably and that there are no signs of mechanical stress on your nose, cheek bones and chin or around the mouth. If the mask is too tight or not properly fitting then you will have more redness on your skin and therefore more prone to Maskne.
#5- Go easy on the make up! Try to keep make up to just the eyes and the open areas of your cheek bones. Since your skin is already having trouble breathing please to do not load on the foundation, concealer, and face powders as this will definitely worsen the situation.
#6- As for products I have put together my top 4 products that I give to all my Maskne clients. All from Institut Esthederm Paris, here they are:
- Intensive Propolis + Zinc Lotion (toner) $49
- Intensive Propolis+ Salicylic Acid Serum Concentrate (SOS spot treatment) $69
- Intensive Propolis+ Ferulis Acid Skin Perfecting Cream $65
- Intensive Propolis+ Kaolin Purifying Mask $65
Benefits of the Intensive Propolis+ range is to reduce imperfections, skin becomes clearer and purified. It removes congestion, limits the risk of acne scars, accelerates epidermal recovery for a healing action and fights inflammation just to name a few. For more information visit our E-Store at https://bodytunedby.ca/shop/ols/categories/intensives?page=2 or message me directly.
If it’s a very serious case where the Acne is cystic then I would suggest contacting a skin specialist like myself for an in clinic assessment and possible treatment with our Carbon Correcting Laser Facial using @SharpLight technology (refer to our Skin Care 101 Part 1 to read more) combined with our LED Opera Light Mask. These treatments help to stimulate your natural collagen and elastin, tighten and close your pores removing blackheads and reducing the acne. For those wanting to prevent and control the first signs of Maskne then the above 4 are my stacking products to keep your skin pimple and acne free.
I do hope the next time we meet my article will be more on the good news then the bad. Until then be safe, do take these tips to heart and practice them daily until we get out of this trying time.