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Maskne - Can face masks cause breakouts

Published by Sam Marshall on 11th Mar 2021

What is ‘maskne’?

Maskne’, also known as acne mechanica, is acne that is caused by friction and appears to break out where face masks are worn.

This skin condition is caused by the friction of face masks constantly rubbing the skin which wears down the top layer of the skin (the epidermis). The friction sensitises the skin, which then causes the skin to produce more oil and this results in acne. This combined with the warm and often damp environment underneath face masks is where bacteria loves to hide and grow, making spots and breakouts even more likely to happen.

In fact, it’s very similar to the acne that can sometimes be caused by wearing sports bras - as in those we sweat and then often have friction, which can aggravate the skin and cause sensitivity.

How to treat acne caused by face masks

If you’re suffering with acne, whether it’s caused by face masks or not, it can feel impossible to get rid of. Don’t worry, there are ways to rebalance the skin and reduce breakouts as well as prevent them in future.

We suggest:

  • Treat the area separately to the rest of your face

You might normally suffer with dry or combination skin, but if you’re suffering with maskne then treat it separately to the rest of your skin and target it with specific skincare to help that can combat the overproduction of oil.

  • Look for skincare products containing salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is highly recommended for targeting oil on the skin. It can clear out the pores and help stop the skin from getting blocked, which leads to breakouts. Check the ingredients in skincare and look out for this key ingredient.

  • Avoid products with sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS)

Avoid any skincare products with sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) in, as it’s a harsh irritant and can aggravate skin. This ingredient is often used in products that promise to ‘foam’, and if your skin is already sensitive then avoid this.

  • Wear cotton masks, and if using reusable masks then wash them regularly

There are so many face masks out there, but where possible try to use cotton ones that won’t rub the skin and cause friction. If you wear a reusable mask then make sure to wash it regularly to remove any oil or dirt.

  • Give your skin a break from makeup

It’s a good skincare habit to have but going makeup free can give your skin a chance to breathe and can mean your pores aren’t clogged from heavy or drying makeup.

  • Wash pillowcases and make up brushes regularly

Makeup brushes and your pillowcase are things you use nearly every day, and if they have dirt on them it can aggravate your skin. Wash them regularly and properly to stay on top of bacteria and keep your skin clean.

  • Stop touching your face

It can be tempting to touch your face, particularly if you have a breakout, but your fingers can transfer more dirt, bacteria and oil to an already aggravated area. Resist as much as you can!

  • Speak to a skincare expert for more advice

Skincare can be overwhelming so get professional advice where possible. Stay away from the supermarket shelf and speak to a skincare specialist who can educate you on your skin type and how to care for it. Remember the skin is an organ  it makes sense to get advice off someone who studies it. You wouldn’t ask google how to fix your liver!

What the experts say

Skincare expert at The Beauty Guru Sam Marshall has some words of advice if your skin is suffering. Sam said: “As face masks remain mandatory in certain areas of day to day life, we’re going to keep seeing Maskne happening unfortunately.

It’s simply science, as friction causes the skin to create more oil which can lead to breakouts. Also, underneath our face masks lies a warm, moist environment which bacteria loves to breed in.

“There are ways to treat this and look after your skin, but it’s important to make sure you know how to calm skin that has been aggravated and not make it worse. Good skincare habits, targeted products and seeking the advice of a skincare professional will help.

Book in for a skincare consultation

If you’re still wondering how to manage your acne or even just want to find out more about how to look after your skin type drop us a message to arrange a consultation.

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