5 Tips to Help Prevent Face Mask Acne
Face masks are essential to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Many Americans wear some type of facial covering to help protect themselves and others with whom they come into contact. One arising problem from wearing a face mask is developing mask acne, or what is generally referred to as “maskne” on social media channels.
Maskne is a type of skin breakout that can be caused by constant friction from the material of your face mask. Mask acne can also be triggered when your pores are blocked by sweat, skin oils, and other bacteria that sit on the covered area of the skin.
Also, a face mask can trap your breath within it and the inside of your mask can become humid. Humidity tends to promote bacterial growth around the covered area of your face, which can then lead to acne buildup. For these reasons, it’s important that you take care of both your face mask and skin.
Here are 5 tips to help combat developing mask acne.
1. Select the Right Mask
There are various types of face masks available on the market. These include respirators (e.g., N95 and KN95 face respirators),, disposable surgical masks, and non-medical masks (e.g., DIY/homemade masks). However, not every type of face mask is good for your skin. For this reason, choosing the right face mask is important to help support your skin’s health.
When shopping for a reusable face mask, look for ones with soft, breathable fabric that are washable. Avoid face masks made of synthetic fabrics, such as nylon, polyester, and rayon. All these are non-breathable and can be a little rough on your skin. Some dermatologists recommend cotton because cotton will allow the skin to breathe and, in turn, help reduce sweat and oil production.
It’s also important that your face mask fits snugly. If your mask feels tight or slides on your face it can irritate your skin and result in a breakout or other skin irritations. Make sure your mask fits your face so that it’s not too tight or too loose.
2. Keep Your Mask Clean
It’s important that you keep your face mask clean. Keeping your face mask clean prevents the buildup of bacterial and dirt on material of the mask. Bacteria and dirt leads to irritation of the skin and can cause acne.
For reusable cloth masks, wash them after each time you use them to remove the dirt, oil and sweat from the material. Follow the washing instructions provided by the manufacturer of the face mask. If your face mask has no washing instructions, the CDC has guidelines on how to properly clean a fabric face mask by machine or by hand that you can follow.
For disposable face masks, change your mask throughout the day to help reduce dirt and oil buildup. Also, replace your disposable face mask as often as possible as the material can retain dirt, oil and other bacteria overtime.
3. Cleanse Your Face Twice a Day
Wash your face both in the morning and at night. Use a gentle, non-soap and fragrance-free facial cleanser appropriate for your skin type. This helps to prevent the buildup of bacteria, oil and other clogging elements that trigger face acne.
4. Moisturize Your Skin
Moisturize your skin to help build your skin’s natural protective barrier. Use a mild, fragrance-free moisturizer appropriate for your skin type. This helps to strengthen the skin barrier by locking in the moisture to prevent water loss and keeps your skin soft and smooth. Smooth skin can help reduce friction and skin irritation and, as a result, reduce the chances of an acne breakout on your face.
5. Take a Makeup Break
Wearing foundation, blush and other types of makeup on the covered areas of your face can cause oil and sweat buildup that can clog your pores and produce acne. Taking a break from wearing makeup in those areas, at least temporarily, is one way to help reduce the onset of acne. Instead, accentuate the upper part of your face that is not covered by your mask. If you can’t skip the makeup, use makeup that is featured to be non-comedogenic or oil free to avoid blocking your pores.