Before 2020, the word maskne didn't even exist. Now it's a well known phenomenon, and unwelcome side effect, to wearing the (all essential) but skin irritating face mask.

There are a few different reasons wearing a face mask can trigger acne around your mouth, nose and jawline. Sensitive skin can be irritated by the friction, trapped sweat and humidity causes an excess build-up of trapped oil and bacteria as well as moisture from your breath, or humidity from heat. As we come into the warmer months, this is especially an issue. 

There are a few things you can do to help ease and prevent maskne

1. Choose an appropriate mask

You want to pick a mask that is snug but not unbearably tight that rubs and irritates your skin. Opt if possible, for a mask made from breathable fabric so that it does not suffocate your skin.

2. Switch to silk or linen

Following on from the last point, masks made from linen and or silk are more breathable and less likely to cause irritation than a disposable face mask. 

Try silk or linen fabric to avoid maskne

3. Try to take breaks from wearing the mask

It has been recommended that to help prevent maskne you should have a mask breather for 15 minutes after four hours if possible. This should be done in the comfort of your own home or your car.

4. Go minimal on the makeup

Minimizing heavy makeup can also help, because make up and a mask on top of that is like a double whammy for your skin in terms of clogged pores. If you do choose to wear makeup opt for products that are labelled "non-comedogenic" or "won't clog pores."

Watch: Guided Meditation with Renee Stewart for finding peace and balance >

5. Wash your mask.

Using your mask accumulates dirt, oil, bacteria, and grime throughout the day. Try to wash a mask after a day of usage, and be sure to keep a few masks on hand so that when one is being washed, you can still use another. Having a 'dirty' and 'clean' basket near the front door can help you keep track of which are clean and which are not. 

6. Up your skincare routine game

Maintaining a good skincare routine is always important, but especially so when you're wearing a mask daily. Make sure you cleanse and moisturise your face with gentle (avoid fragrance as it can be irritating) and hydrating products to help aid your skin's barrier and prevent trans epidermal water loss.

The skin is divided into three main layers: the epidermis (the outermost layer), the dermis (the middle layer), and the hypodermis (the undermost layer). When water travels from the dermis through the epidermis and evaporates off the skin's surface, this is known as trans epidermal water loss (TEWL). As a consequence, your skin may become dry, dehydrated, and irritated.  Ingredients to look for to help dry skin include prebiotics, probiotics, ceramides, hyaluronic acid and squalane. 

If you are prone to rosacea or sensitive skin, dermatologists recommend you opt for a sulfar-based cleanser. For acne-prone skin, look for a salicylic acid-based or benzoyl peroxide-based cleanser.


7.  Avoid trying new products that are harsh and active

You want to keep your skincare routine simple and be kind to your skin during this time, this means being gentle with the products you use, and if you have previously not included chemical peels or actives and retinoids into your skincare routine, hold off for now.

Instead, try focusing on strengthening the skin barrier with products that nourish the skin microbiome, like the Live Probiotic Hydration Serum 


Read: 3 Signs your skin microbiome is out of balance and in need of restoring >