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As if coping with a global pandemic wasn’t enough — we now we have to deal with acne caused by our masks! Let’s take a look at what maskne is and how to get rid of it for good.
In Australia, we are now required or encouraged to wear masks/face coverings in public, especially when we can’t guarantee a 1.5m distance from other people. Wearing a mask is a simple and effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19; it’s absolutely necessary to keep you and your loved ones safe!
But… lately, many of us have been experiencing ‘maskne’ — a form of acne that is caused by wearing a mask for a prolonged period of time. You may have noticed a few more pimples popping up in places where you don’t usually get them — like the bridge of the nose, your cheeks and maybe even your chin. Maskne may even just be areas of irritation and redness.
Maskne, or “acne mechanica" isn’t a new phenomenon. Prior to the pandemic, it was commonly experienced by athletes who wore helmets or professions where personal protective equipment is required.
So, what causes maskne?
According to dermatologist Angeline Yong, “theconstant rubbing of the masks against our skin causes micro-tears, allowing easier entry for bacteria and dirt to clog up our pores. Breathing into a mask also creates a hot and moist environment that leads to the build-up of sweat, oil and bacteria” (BBC News, 2020).
All of these factors work together to create the perfect environment for pimples, irritation and redness. So, we now understand that wearing a mask for a prolonged period of time can cause maskne. But, for some of us, wearing a mask on a daily basis is non-negotiable. What exactly can we do about it?
Preventing Maskne is Key.
To avoid the build-up of bacteria, there are four key steps that you can take.
1. Choose the right cloth mask!
When purchasing a cloth mask, there’s two things that really matter: the type of fabric it’s made from, and the size.
Your cloth mask needs to be made from a soft and breathable fabric (such as cotton). It’s best to avoid synthetic fabrics (nylon, polyester, rayon) as these are more likely to irritate your face. It’s also important to wear a mask that fits properly! If it’s too small, you’ll experience irritation on the sides of your face. If it’s too big, you’ll end up readjusting it more often and transferring bacteria from your hands to your face.
Are you on the hunt for an affordable cloth mask? Look no further! Here at F&F, we recently started stocking the F&F Fairtrade Face Masks! These cloth masks are:
Made from GOTS Certified Organic Cotton
Soft and breathable
Extremely affordable ($5.95)
Available in three different sizes (S, M, L)
Available in three different designs (Avocado, Fruit, Black)
Shop all cloth masks here! You can also find the wonderful face masks made by Hannahpad.
We understand that some health professionals are required to wear disposable masks, so if you’re wearing a disposable mask, ensure that you change it every 4 hours to prevent the inevitable build-up of bacteria. If you notice any dampness, change it immediately. It’s also recommended that you take a 15-minute mask break every 4 hours, providing that you are away from people, alone in your car, or at home.
3. Wash your cloth masks every day.
Washing your cloth masks is important to remove oil and bacteria from the inside of the mask. We recommend hand-washing your cloth masks in hot water with an unscented laundry liquid, like the ecostore Laundry Liquid Fragrance-Free. Once washed, make sure you hang it up to air dry in the sun; the UV light will help to kill bacteria.
4. Skip the makeup and take care of your skin.
We know it’s hard, but it’s best to skip the makeup if you’re regularly wearing a mask. Alicia Keys has embraced the makeup free look for years and just look at her glowing skin! Heavy foundations and concealers tend to clog the pores and create a build-up of bacteria, which leads to pimples and irritation.
It’s also important to maintain your regular skincare routine, but don’t overdo it! Using a gentle cleanser, toner and moisturiser will protect your skin’s natural barrier and help it to heal. We highly recommend the Raww Super Hydrate Day Cream. It's great for firming and conditioning your skin daily with an intense dose of hydration. It's also lightweight and rich in antioxidants and great for calming redness.
Wearing a mask in public is crucial in the fight against COVID-19. Maskne sucks, but we all need to play our part and wear a mask when required. If you’re currently dealing with more outbreaks and irritation than normal, we highly recommend trying these tips to help your skin!