Spoiler alert: You’re going to have to do more than just wash your face.
( @pasabist / Instagram)
In the current pandemic, we all know it’s our personal responsibility to wear a mask any time we leave the house. It’s a universally recognized Good Thing to do. But you know what isn’t as hot as protecting others from a contagious disease? Maskne.
You may be asking yourself: what the hell is maskne? If you have common sense and wear a mask outdoors, and you also happen to be a young adult with raging hormones, you’re probably familiar with the various pimples, bumps, and the like which seem to be forming even more frequently around the chin and cheek areas.
Wearing a mask is a dual-edged sword when it comes to these buggers. Although they hide acne well, they can also contribute to the formation of new pimples.
In some ways, treating maskne can be similar to treating normal acne, but when it comes to prevention, the steps may not be as intuitive. So that’s why I’m here to share my wisdom (from personal experience) and provide an all-inclusive gameplan to kick maskne’s ass.
Mask material is key
Mask’s are irritating, abrasive, and pore-clogging enough as it is. So, the most important thing when choosing a mask is that it’s breathable and comfortable while still providing protection.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the best materials for preventing maskne are natural fabrics like pure cotton. Synthetic fabrics –such as nylon, polyester, and rayon –can be irritating and make you even more breakout-prone.
Caraa’s Universal Face Masks are made out of 100% cotton, have an opening for a filter, and will run you $25 for 5. For a more stylish and decorative choice, Baublebar’s Face Mask Set is made out of pure cotton, comes in a variety of patterns and colors, and is selling for $12 for 2.
Wash your mask daily. I’m not joking.
If you wouldn’t put on the same sweaty shirt after a long day in the heat, don’t put on that same dirty mask you wore the day before. It’s inevitable that sometimes you’ll be in a rush and need to reuse a mask, but for the most part, please wash your masks.
The idea behind washing your mask daily is the same as washing your face daily. If you don’t remove all the oils, sweat, and dead skin cells that will inevitably build up throughout the day, it’ll lead to clogged pores and prolonged breakouts.
If you prefer single-use masks, then just don’t reuse a mask more than once. You definitely can’t wash a surgical mask, so all the dirt, sweat, and germs collected on the mask throughout the day are
stuck on it for good. In short: it’s not a good idea to put that on your face again.
Continue your skin care routine, but leave harsher products for nighttime
Retinols, chemical exfoliants, and drying lotions are great for tackling acne in general, but can be extra irritating when coupled with a mask.
Think about it this way: if you apply these products to your face and then put a mask on over it, those products are bound to get absorbed by your mask, too. Now, every time you wear your mask until you wash it, more harsh products are rubbed into your skin.
The problem with makeup (and other oils)
If you plan to wear face makeup, or any other product that consists of oily or pore-clogging ingredients, avoid the mask area as much as possible.
When your skin is blocked by a mask, makeup and oils are even more likely than usual to clog pores and cause breakouts. This includes, –but is not limited to: –foundations, facial oils, comedogenic sunscreens, etc.
I can hear the counter-arguments already. But, I need to wear foundation! What if I take my mask off, and only half my face has coverage?
If face makeup is a necessity, then at least opt for an oil-free or non-comedogenic formula. The Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup is a solid option for those who want to fight maskne without sacrificing the coverage. Formulated without oil and with salicylic acid, this foundation is probably one of your best bets if you must wear face makeup.
The journey to completely getting rid of maskne comes with its challenges, but wearing a mask and staying protected is the most important thing at the end of the day. Even if we just stick it out for a little while, and live harmoniously with our maskne temporarily, the world can go back to normal (at least pandemic-wise) and it’ll be a thing of the past.
But for now, make sure to practice self-care and wear a fucking mask.
Maya Lang is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. She enjoys playing guitar, staying up far too late, and daydreaming about living in the '80s. You can reach her on Instagram at @mayaxlang for more info and movie recommendations.