Maskne and Skin Irritation.
March 10, 2021
It appears we are resigned to wearing masks longer than we ever anticipated. Mask-wearing medical workers learned long ago the challenges associated with keeping skin healthy. While masks are still a necessary part of everyday life, their use triggers irritated skin conditions in people of all ages.
Maskne is the term given to this new set of skin problems. Before the pandemic, helmet-wearing athletes were frequently afflicted with this condition.
Thankfully, you can prevent trouble, and you can repair a maskne flareup.
Learn more on ingredients for irritated skin:
How to Heal Your Skin Irritation Naturally.
What is Maskne?
Acne is most often associated with clogged pores, hormones, and bacteria. Maskne is acne mechanica, a short-term form caused by friction against the skin in the area covered by the mask. Masks can cause a range of skin problems that range from acne to redness, irritation, rashes, or itching.
Causes of skin irritation due to wearing a face mask:
- Restricted airflow.
- Friction against the skin.
- Increased heat and humidity under the mask.
- Accumulation of sweat and oils.
Over time, continued irritation and sweat build up leads to inflammation that can block pores and cause breakouts, redness, small pimples around the nose and mouth, perioral dermatitis, and exacerbate existing conditions such as rosacea in areas covered by the mask.
Prevention of Maskne
- Masks should be a double layer of breathable cotton that gives a snug, comfortable fit. A University of Illinois study found that t-shirt material may be the best material to prevent aeration of respiratory droplets. A single layer decreases droplets by 40% and a double layer offers 98% reduction. Avoid synthetic fabrics that don’t breathe.
- Wash your mask frequently with detergents in hot water that will not leave irritating residue. Air dry to keep shape and prevent shrinkage to insure good fit.
- Exchange them often, at least daily. Using a disposable mask more than one day is not effective in terms of virus protection or maintaining healthy skin.
Take a Mask Break.
- Remove masks when at home, in the car, or outdoors when distanced from people.
- During long-term wear, with clean hands, and in a safe place, take a 15-minute mask break every four hours.
- If you already have a good skin care routine, keep it up, paying special attention to keeping skin moisturized and treated with skin care actives during mask-less sleep.
- Avoid comedogenic, pore-clogging products. Abbey St. Clare products will not clog pores.
- Cleansing is critical especially at night to remove any accumulated dirt, oils, and sweat and to clean out pores. Use a scruffing cleanser frequently - such as our Green Tea Scruff Exfoliating Cleanser - if skin is not irritated.
- Follow with tonic of choice to add skin-healthy actives and deep clean pores.
- Night rest is excellent for applying hydrating creams or oils more generously, letting them absorb into skin. Massage product into skin after letting it sink in on its own.
Hydrosols for hydration.
- Keep a hydrosol bottle handy for mists during the day to maintain moisture.
- Spray the interior of the mask with any hydrosol.
- Use soothing Lavender, Rose, or Lemon Balm hydrosols for sensitive skin or to soothe stress.
- Use anti-inflammatory Helichrysum, German Chamomile, Tea Tree, or Yarrow hydrosols for acne or irritated skin.
- Use Lemongrass, Orange Blossom, or Mint3 hydrosols for oily skin or to soothe stress.
- Use Witch Hazel, Rose Geranium, or Rose hydrosols for all skin types, especially mature skin.
- Use Hibiscus Rose Hydrating Mist for all skin types to set makeup and provide a gentle barrier against accumulated surface dirt.
Keep makeup simple.
- With faces being mostly covered, simplify.
- Use lightweight non-comedogenic makeup with a light touch.
- ALL the Abbey makeup foundations are non-comedogenic and will not clog pores.
- The finishing powders are extremely lightweight and may be just enough coverage.
- Skip additional sunscreen and use a foundation that incorporates it into its formula.
- All the mineral powders are very lightweight and contain SPF30 protection.
Sheer Tint Mineral Foundation and BB Cream contain SPF 20 and 30 respectively without clogging pores. Set cream foundations with a light dusting of finishing powder. It also helps keep creams from rubbing off on the mask.
- Wash your cosmetic brushes.
- Use Hibiscus Rose Hydrating Mist for all skin types to set makeup and provide a gentle barrier against accumulated surface dirt. It also helps prevent makeup rubbing off on your mask.
- Do not fret if some makeup comes off on the inside of your mask. Any makeup so tightly bonded to your skin is probably keeping your skin from breathing and will lead to clogged pores.
Treatment of Maskne
- Use an even more gentle touch on your skin.
- Keep your skin clean. Never neglect to clean your skin thoroughly each day before bedtime.
- Follow daily skin care protocol as outlined above in Attentive Skincare.
- If acne is present, use products with salicylic acid: Tea Tree Cleansing Gel, Comfrey Tonic, Vitamin B Complex Crème, or Nettles Wash.
- Use acne treatment products on skin under mask during day and during the night.
- Mist skin (and mask) throughout the day with soothing and anti-inflammatory
- Use clean mask daily. Wash cloth mask daily with Nettles Wash. It contains anti-inflammatory essential oils. Mist mask while still damp with an anti-inflammatory hydrosol as listed above.
- Take more frequent mask breaks if possible.
Wash your cosmetic brushes more frequently. Even daily.
- Use a clean pillowcase daily if your skin is irritated or experiencing acne.
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