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Mascne: Three simple and effective tips to keep breakouts at bay

If you’re currently wearing a face mask every day, and for long periods of time, you may have noticed some skin irritations, spots or other blemishes that you could really do without.

Although the mask may well hide all these annoying little afflictions, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do anything about them. Here are a few simple tips for your daily routine to help keep mask-related breakouts at bay.

face mask
Wearing a face mask can lead to “mascne,” causing breakouts and irritation on the face, notably around the cheeks, nose and chin. Image: Denisfilm / IStock.com

Mascne (or maskne) — the acne caused by wearing a face mask — is just one of the new terms brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, much to the annoyance of anyone who’s been suffering with the problem in recent months. Face masks — which have been made mandatory in several cities worldwide — have created a new problem with all manner of skin woes, such as irritation, red and/or white spots or even blackheads. Nightmare! Whether you’re 11 or 45, mascne can affect people of all ages, but thankfully, there are simple solutions out there to help limit the damage when wearing your face mask.

Pick a cotton mask to keep mascne at bay

Specialists agree that it’s better to opt for a fabric mask — preferably 100% cotton — to reduce the risk of skin flare-ups. While surgical masks seem particularly popular with the public, they’re more likely to favor the proliferation of bacteria responsible for potential skin inflammations and, ultimately, acne. The humidity and heat that form underneath face masks contribute to these skin afflictions, as well as the mask rubbing against skin. A cotton mask can considerably reduce the risk of inflammation.

It’s also important to choose a mask that doesn’t press against your face and isn’t too tight, to avoid increasing heat build-up under the mask. If you still prefer surgical masks, try to change them several times a day so that skin isn’t left to fester for hours on end. They should ideally be changed as soon as they start to feel damp.

It’s also essential to wash fabric face masks every day — but that’s a habit we should already have got into in recent months for reasons of public health and hygiene. Some people may also notice irritation behind the ears where the mask’s elastic straps sit. To remedy this, try looking for mask designs with straps that tie at the back of the head.

Rethinking beauty routines

Strictly following all the essential steps that keep skin healthy and glowing is all very well, but when wearing face masks, it’s important to take extra care to help keep blemishes at bay. That inevitably means rethinking your beauty routine a little. For example, if you previously cleaned your face in the evening before going to bed, it’s now necessary to do it twice a day, just after removing makeup. This extra step will help get rid of all the impurities and excess sebum that builds up throughout the day and during the night.

Facial exfoliation — up to twice a week for mixed or oily skin — is a good idea, before applying a cleansing mask (preferably clay-based for the most problematic skin), then a moisturizing cream suitable for your skin type. Here, dermatologists recommend creams for sensitive skin in order to reduce the risk of redness and irritation. If it’s too late, and spots have already reared their ugly heads, opt for a targeted treatment. For a natural solution, tea tree essential oil is known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Go easy on the makeup

Another simple tip — which could even save you time and money — is to wear less makeup. What’s that got to do with acne, you may be wondering? Well, it’s simple: depending on the type of product used, foundation can contribute to preventing skin from breathing, together with mask wearing. If you can’t do without foundation, look for lightweight textures and, above all, non-comedogenic formulations. These are essential when wearing a face mask. NVG


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