We’ve all experienced some form of acne and skin irritation throughout our lives. From adolescent or adult acne struggles to hormonal, stress-related, and skin sensitivity frustrations, leave it up to 2020 to throw our skin another curveball: masks.
As face masks became a part of our social responsibility and everyday lives, maskne has become an additional hurdle in our ever-complex relationship with our skin. And those masks aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so let’s get to it: what exactly is maskne?
Maskne is acne and skin irritation caused by wearing a face mask for extended time periods, often affecting areas around the mouth and lower jawline. The main cause of maskne is acne mechanica, which refers to the clogged pores, pimples and dry skin that result from masks causing friction on your skin, breaking down the skin barrier.
Additionally, as more people wear reusable masks of varying fabrics, dirty masks and contact dermatitis are also culprits in inducing maskne. The heat of summer also didn’t help, with increased flare-ups due to sweat and humidity trapping extra moisture and bacteria, under our masks.
First off: how do you choose your reusable mask material?
COTTON: “Dermatologists suggest 100% cotton as a good compromise because it allows skin to breathe a bit” – NYTimes
SILK: “Silk fibres are smooth by nature, and therefore less abrasive on the skin – they reduce friction-induced trauma.” – Vogue UK
BAMBOO: “Lightweight, biodegradable organic bamboo viscose has an antimicrobial effect and does not interfere with the skin’s natural bacterial flora.” - WWD
Keep your face clean with gentle cleansers and exfoliators. Reduce any potential pore clogging by making sure that all the pollutants, sweat, makeup, and SPF from the day are removed after you take off your mask.
Layer nourishing and hydrating serums and moisturizers to help boost and rejuvenate your skin barrier between face mask uses. We’d additionally recommend adding a sheet mask or cream/gel mask to your skincare routine, both for the relaxation you deserve and to further help detoxify, soothe and hydrate your skin.
“Where addressing maskne is concerned, the good old facial mask merits props for helping to ease skin irritation, redness, inflammation.” - Forbes
Doctors and dermatologists recommend that you wash your mask once a day. Depending on the fabric of your mask, hand wash or machine wash it with fragrance-free soap or detergent in hot water.
Even if you’re wearing a mask, once it comes off, it’s still hard to avoid touching your face. So, beyond keeping your hands clean to avoid COVID19 and other illnesses, it’ll help with your skin, too!
Follow CDC guidelines: wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.
In between access to a sink and soap, use alcohol-based (at least 60% alcohol) hand sanitizer.
HANDMADE AND 100% COTTON FABRICS
Malka (Product Development and Marketing): “Depending on the thickness of the fabric, my masks are either 2 or 3 ply, and most of them are the pleated style. They all have wires sewn into the top seam to fit perfectly across the bridge of my nose. I use these masks for sustainability and cost reasons”
Mimi (Graphic Designer): “I used fabric from samples they were going to discard when I interned at Rebecca Taylor, as well as from thrifted clothing I meant to repurpose. I love both minimal masks that match with any outfit, as well as printed and textured masks.”
Elysia (Digital and Growth Marketing): “The fabric that 41 Winks uses is soft and skin-safe. They're easy to wash and durable, and they look cute! They have a built in filter, and are adjustable to fit my small face.”
Jessaline (Business Development and Product Junkie): “Bella and Canvas masks are made from a thinish sweatshirt material, so they are very soft on the face, fit snuggly and wash well. They aren't too tight on my ears.”
Natalia (Project Manager): “I like Atoms. Their masks are sustainable, breathable, and reusable."