Like it or not, our ‘new normal’ includes wearing either disposable or cloth face masks whenever we travel, shop or mingle with others. And for some, that’s meant putting up with outbreaks – dubbed ‘maskne’ (acne that occurs on and around the area cloaked by a mask). Unfortunately, maskne is fairly common – and there are reasons as to why spots and redness tend to thrive when masking up.
Luckily, there are some easy ways to help protect your skin from breaking out – and choosing the right sort of mask is number one. We’ve found these MKM 36.6 Coolmax simple cotton masks, sewn in the Manawatu by a wonderful local fabric mill, work a treat – they’re double layered in a range of wearable shades, comfy on the ears and have a pouch for inserting a Helix wool filter (boosting your protection to three layers!)
So, why does your skin react badly to wearing a mask? And why doesn’t the rest of your body behave this way when you’re wearing jeans or t-shirts? Well, your face contains more oily glands than any other part of your body. And the function of those glands - called the sebaceous glands – is to protect your skin from moisture loss. When we cover our face in a mask, it’s a bit like popping clingfilm over a bowl of salad. You’re protected from exposure to the elements but moisture is trapped under the fabric and sits right up against your skin. You know how the underside of your clingfilm develops beads of moisture? That’s happening on your face, clogging the sebum, causing bacteria to develop, and – for many of us – acne.
There are a number of ways to help our skin withstand mask use – here are my top tips:
1. Choose a breathable fabric mask
2. Wash after each use
3. Go fragrance-free
4. Use Corbin Rd Restorative Face Oil daily
5. Go au naturel
6. Take it off
Make sure you remove your mask and let the skin breathe at regular intervals throughout the day.
Nobody likes it much, but masks do look set to stay for a bit. Being kind to our skin, using natural and organic ingredients wherever possible, gives us all the best protection against maskne.