Sarah Guerrero is a freelance writer and contributor to Slow North. She has a degree in international business from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, and writes about sustainable business practices and ethical living.
Acne has been the bane of my existence since the 5th grade. Now, however, I’ve got maskne to contend with--acne from wearing masks.
I’m definitely not going to stop wearing my mask, but I turned to the internets for help with the acne--here’s what I discovered!
Why Is My Mask Causing Acne?
Maskne is caused by a delightful medley of problems. First, the friction of a good-fitting mask causes irritation. Second, the trapped warmth and humidity from our breath creates the perfect conditions for acne-causing bacteria to grow.
Last, but certainly not least, stress plays a role in acne--whether it’s increased cortisol (the stress hormone) leading to hormonal breakouts or the fact that we’re reaching for comforting (but, often, acne-causing) sugar or dairy.
Fortunately, there are a few things that can help:
1. Reach for Cotton Masks
Cotton masks (like these) are probably your most breathable option, and may be the least likely to irritate your face (if it’s sensitive).
2. Wash Your Mask Daily
Treat your masks like underwear, and wash them every time you use them. This will help cut back on bacteria growth in your mask, and limit the amount of sweat building up on your face.
Here’s something else to consider: your maskne might actually be a kind of dermatitis--irritation. It might even be caused by the materials your mask is made with, or your laundry detergent. Try switching to a fragrance-free detergent.
3. Wash Your Face When You Get Home
You don’t want to wash your face too much, or with harsh ingredients--drying out your face can actually lead to more oil production, which can worsen maskne--but using a gentle cleansing oil or micellar water to remove the sweat and oil buildup as soon as you get home can help a lot.
4. Evaluate Your Skin Care Regimen
If you’ve had regular acne, you’re probably accustomed to bringing out the big guns for it--drying toners and astringents and harsh ingredients like benzoyl peroxide. That’s NOT the way to go for maskne, however.
Instead, think gentle, soothing, and healing. Skip the retinols, acids, heavy exfoliation, lots of makeup, and tons of extra products. Instead, look for gentle face milks, jellies, or oils, and gentle moisturizers.
Here are some ingredients to look for:
The--um--silver lining to my maskne is that I’m not alone. And maybe, at the end of the day, it’s just one more excuse to destress with a nice bath or a good book!