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Dealing with maskne

14 Nov 2020
by M. Toledo

Surgical, colorful or made out of silk: face masks are part of our daily life. Unfortunately, all that mask wearing brings something else into the game: maskne. Maskne (Mask + Acne) is an umbrella term for several skin concerns that are caused by wearing a face mask. Maskne can take the form of break-outs and acne, chafing, redness and irritation. This blog is dedicated to maskne, and more importantly: how to get rid of it.

Maskne in short

The name may suggest it, but maskne isn't actually the same as acne. Maskne refers to a wide array of skin issues, like irritation, pimples, break-outs, excessive redness, chafing and even a rash. What makes maskne unique, is the fact that it's caused by wearing a face mask, usually for longer periods of time. Maskne shows up in the spots your mask covers: the chin, jawline, cheeks and around the mouth. Even if you wash your face mask regularly, or wear a new disposable one every time, maskne can rear its ugly head. Why, you ask? 

Maskne: contributing factors

  • Moisture: Your breath creates a moist environment under the mask. Bacteria, like the famous P.Acnes that causes acne, love this moist environment. It makes it easy for them to reproduce.

  • Bacteria and dirt: Sweat, sebum and dirt are trapped underneath the mask, making it easier to clog your pores. Plus, every time you touch your face to rearrange the mask, you're transferring more dirt and bacteria from your hands on to your skin. Say hello to your new best friend maskne. 

  • Friction: Obviously, your skin comes into contact with the mask. If you're wearing a face mask for a long time, the friction the material caused while rubbing on the skin can cause chafing. In the long term, this can impair your skin barrier, and harm your skin. An impaired skin barrier is much more prone to break-outs and irritation.

  • Warmth: You've probably noticed this already, but wearing a mask can create some serious heat. Along with moisture, warmth is something that bacteria just love. Basically, the mask creates a cosy, comfortable environment for bacteria. Yay for bacteria, boo for your skin.

  • Cold: The cold seasons make our skin more dry and vulnerable. If your skin is overly dry or your moisture barrier is damaged, your skin is more susceptible to break-outs and other mask-related nastiness. 

If you don't treat maskne correctly, it will probably only get worse. Luckily, there are lots of things you can do to keep the worst of it at bay. Read on if you want the best tips on how to keep your skin as clear, healthy and happy as possible during there trying times. Spoiler? Use mild, caring formulas, be kind to your skin, and choose effective treatments to address the specific concerns caused by maskne, like inflammation and irritation. 

Choose mild, caring formulas

Is maskne causing your skin to feel inflamed and irritated? Counter these woes with formulas that contain ingredients known for their soothing and calming abilities, like Centella Asiatica, Aloe, or Mugwort. These are some great examples of natural superstars that heal and soothe skin and bring down inflammation, for more calm, even-toned skin. 

A good, calming toner can make a world of difference. It boosts your skin's base hydration, which leads to a more healthy skin barrier in the long run. A healthy barrier makes your skin more resilient, and less prone to the nasty effects of maskne. Having an impaired or damaged skin barrier kan lead to more severe mask related symptoms, and they can linger for a longer time. Consider the Aloe Soothing Moist Toner by Secret Key, a hypoallergenic formula that gives your skin long-lasting hydration. It contains extracts of the leaf of the Aloe Vera, and the first ingredient isn't water, but Aloe Vera Leaf Water! This toner has Hyaluronic Acid, Beta-Glucan and Allantoin as well, making it the perfect toner to soothe and hydrate skin in need of some soothing.

One of our current favorites is the I'm From Mugwort Essence. It's truly a miracle for skin that's having a hard time from all the face mask wearing. We'll explain why. Mugwort is a traditional Korean herbal medicine, renowned for having amazing soothing, anti-inflammatory and some great antioxidant effects on skin. It instantly calms down redness, making skin feel refreshed and soothed. Moreover, mugwort is loaded with antioxidants, and is naturally rich in vitamin E that helps to nourish and protect the skin. The I'm From Mugwort Essence contains a 100% pure Korean Mugwort extract that has been lightly fermented, to boost absorption and enhance the benefits for your skin. 

Secret Key Aloe Soothing Moist TonerI'm From Mugwort Essence


Be kind to your skin

We know the feeling all too well. When your skin is troubled, you want to solve it ASAP. Because maskne is usually a combination of acne and irritation, it requires a gentle approach that's geared to restoring and caring for your skin. You have to baby your skin! It's important to give your moisture barrier some special attention. Choose formulas that draw water to your skin, and keeps it there, locking that sweet moisture in. The goodies you'll want to look out for in a good moisturizer are soothing ingredients (think allantoin, panthenol, or herbal heroes like chamomile and centella) and skin-identical ingredients like glycerine, squalane and ceramides. 

For this reason we're suggesting two amazing moisturizers! Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream and Purito Dermide Cica Sleeping Pack. The Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream is touted by many to be a true skin savior for depleted moisture barriers and irritation. This ultra-moisturizing cream is formulated with glycerine, cholesterol and a ceramide complex with Ceramide NP, Ceramide AP and Ceramide EOP. Why we want to stress this? Because these substances naturally occur in our skin, and are crucial to keeping your skin healthy and hydrated. If your skin lacks these substances, the moisture level in your skin can deplete and your skin can lose moisture. 

Another great option for moisture care is the Purito Dermide Cica Sleeping Pack. This sleeping pack uses shea butter, squalane, centella asiatica and squalane to nourish, soothe and protect your skin. This product feels incredibly lightweight, while offering great moisture barrier support and making skin feel hydrated and supple by the morning. Shea boter is rich in antioxidants and supports skin regeneration, and centella asiatica calms down inflammation. Users report that it makes their skin wonderfully soft and hydrated, without feeling overly heavy or greasy.

Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin CreamPurito Dermide Cica Barrier Sleeping Pack

You probably know that chemical exfoliation is key to preventing break-outs, and getting smooth, even toned skin with a healthy glow. If you're dealing with maskne right now, it's quite possible that your skin is temporarily overly sensitive to your regular go-to chemical exfoliant with AHA's or BHA's. Consider swapping your usual AHA or BHA with a PHA. PHA is a next generation AHA known to have similar great benefits for the skin compared to traditional AHA's, but with waaay less risk of irritation, making it a great option for sensitized skin. It supports hydration in the skin, gently sloughs off dead skin cells, boosts collagen production, all while maintaining a healthy moisture barrier. Win, win!

Benton PHA Toner


Maskne treatment: ampoules & pimple patches

Ampoules are a great addition to a routine focused on soothing skin suffering from maskne. They contain the highest percentages of specific ingredients aimed at skin concerns like acne, redness or inflammation. Panthenol is one of these ingredients to look out for. Panthenol is know for stimulating lipid production, which is very important for resilient, healthy skin. Besides all this, panthenol has significant anti-inflammatory and healing effects on skin as well. It's the real deal. Is there any reason not to try it? The Balancium B5 D-Panthenol Ampoule by COSRX is a great way to deliver the many benefits of panthenol to your skin. A must-try if you suffer from maskne-related inflammation. 

Has maskne caused a massive pimple? Stay calm and reach for your favorite pimple patch. Pimple patches are effective in two ways; firstly, they cover the inflamed area so it's protected from more dirt getting inside, and secondly because the hydrocolloïd material helps to extract the pus and waste from the pimple. Yucky, but lovely, because it speeds up recovery and calms down the inflammation, leading to a smaller, less visible pimple. The All Care Recovery Cica-Aid by Purito is a pimple patch that contains three soothing components of the Centella Asiatica: Madecassic Acid, Asiatic Acid and Asiaticoside, for a more pronounced healing and soothing effect. 

Cosrx B5 D-Panthenol AmpoulePurito All Care Recovery Cica-Aid

PS: Look on the bright side! While wearing a face mask, you can go out and about with your (lower half of the) face covered in pimple patches, and no one will notice. ;) How are you battling maskne these coming months? We'd love to hear!


XoXo Team LW

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