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Rachael Mask Blog

How To Manage Mask Acne

August 13, 2020

Living in a global pandemic means wearing a mask. It’s a simple safety measure that we can all do to protect each other.

An unforeseen side effect, though, is mask-induced acne around the lower face, also known as “maskne.” We asked our Senior Dermal Clinician Ally Cussell for advice on what to do about dreaded maskne so you can keep wearing your mask comfortably.

Can wearing a mask cause acne?

“There are a few reasons mask acne can happen,” Ally says, “friction from the mask rubbing onto the skin can cause irritation and dryness, and then there’s bacteria.”

There are natural bacteria cultures that normally live on the skin. When you wear a mask, you create a warm, humid environment for that bacteria to proliferate, especially with the combination of increased oil production and makeup being trapped under the mask, Ally explains.

For the record, mask acne is no excuse to forego the mask; a bit of acne is much more manageable than an ongoing pandemic.

What can you do about mask acne?

Ally advises wearing a reusable silk mask as it will cause less friction and have less of a drying/irritating effect on the skin. Most importantly, do not reuse a mask without washing it first.

Using a fragrance-free detergent when you wash your reusable masks can also help prevent irritation and breakouts. Hanging it out to dry in natural UV light will also help to kill bacteria.

If you’re using a disposable mask, change it regularly. If it starts to feel a bit damp, it should be changed immediately.

In terms of skincare products, Ally says that it depends whether you’re experiencing larger, more cystic acne breakouts, or if you’re experiencing more irritation and dryness.

For inflamed cystic “maskne,” Ally recommends an AHA cleanser such as RejuvAus [C2] Gentle AHA Exfoliating Gel, and an exfoliating serum morning and night. This might be different to your usual routine, where you only exfoliate in the evening, but these are not usual times.

An imbalance of your skin’s microbiome can also contribute to acne as the “bad” bacteria build up and proliferate beneath your mask. Skincare that contains probiotics can help with this.

“I use Rejuvaus [S6] Clarifying Serum because it has a combination of AHAs, BHA [Salicylic Acid], probiotics and Hyaluronic Acid,” Ally says, “BHA is really effective for acne-prone skin because it exfoliates and helps to regulate natural oils. The Low Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid in this serum also hydrates beneath the surface of your skin, preventing dryness that may be caused by your mask, while the probiotics help to balance the skin and keep the so-called ‘bad’ bacteria in check.”

Ally also recommends a Vitamin A serum such as Rejuvaus [S7] AB Repair & Restore to manage breakouts and keep the skin’s natural cell turnover active and healthy.

For dry irritated skin that may be caused by a mask, Ally recommends a gentle AHA cleanser and a Vitamin B serum with Hyaluronic Acid, such as Rejuvaus [S5] Super B Brightening & Hydration Serum. “Vitamin B will help bring down inflammation and soothe the skin, while the Hyaluronic Acid helps to bind water to the skin and prevent dehydration,” she explains, adding that a richer moisturiser can also help.

For dry skin, she also recommends avoiding hot showers and strong heaters as they can strip the skin of its natural moisture.

When it comes to makeup, Ally recommends using mineral makeup as it is non-comedogenic (i.e. it wont clog pores).

Are there treatments that can help mask acne?

“The acne triple combo is my go-to for certain types of ongoing acne,” Ally says, “but there are individual treatments that can help as well.”

Hydrafacial is a multi-step treatment that deeply cleanses, exfoliates and hydrates the skin with nourishing serums and a suction piece that helps remove dead skin cells as they’re exfoliated.

PhotoTherapy with a blue LED light can help eradicate acne-causing bacteria and reduce inflammation.

Facial Peels can also be effective for acne and hydration, depending on which peel you use as they have different types of ingredients.

“We can really tailor treatments to the individual client and the condition of the skin,” Ally reassures, “that’s why we have a consultation before going into treatment, so we can determine the right treatment for each person.”

Are you struggling with acne or irritated skin?

Contact us for a complimentary, obligation-free consultation to find out how we can help.

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