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6 Ways to Prevent Maskne

Maskne is the occurrence of acne after mask-wearing. Here are six ways to prevent maskne and tips to find a face-friendly facemask—that’s effective too.

What Causes Maskne

Maskne usually occurs in areas where masks, respirators, and PPE tend to rub or press against the skin. As a result, changes in the skin microbiome, such as heat, pH, and moisture, can occur. Other contributing factors can include genetic predisposition, age, prior skin issues, and PPE issues, such as long hours of use, improper sizing, tight fit, and use of adhesive tape.

Preventing Maskne

Here are several tips on preventing maskne from the American Academy of Dermatology Association.

Cleanse and Moisturize Daily

  • Make sure you cleanse your skin with an antibacterial, mild, fragrance-free cleanser, and pat dry well.

Moisturize Your Skin Before and After Wearing Your Mask

  • A moisturizer adds a thin protective layer and decreases dryness. Apply where the PPE is likely to contact: nose bridge, cheeks, top of ears, and forehead. Look for moisturizers that include ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and dimethicone. At a minimum, allow the products to dry for 90 seconds before donning PPE; however, doing so 1-2 hours before wearing will not impair the PPE seal.

Apply Petroleum Jelly 

  • Slather a layer onto your lips after washing your face, before you put on your mask, and before bedtime.

Avoid Wearing Makeup Under Your Mask

  • If you must wear makeup, use products that are non-comedogenic and that won’t clog pores. Some brands include bareMinerals, Oxygenetix, and Clinique.

Avoid Skin Products That Can Irritate Your Skin

  • These include aftershave, chemical peels, exfoliants, retinoids, or leave-on salicylic acid.

Take Mask Breaks

  • Try to take a 15-minute break from your mask every 4 hours, if possible.

Choosing A Face-Friendly, Off-Duty Mask

Ending a shift doesn’t mean that your face gets a break. Masks are a necessary part of life now. While it is important to ensure you wear an effective facemask, you may also give your face a break with a fabric mask. If this is the case, consider looking for a mask with these characteristics:

  • It is comfortable, with a snug fit
  • It has a smooth surface without folds
  • It is made with a minimum of two layers of fabric, but preferably one with a layer of tightly woven cotton sheet and two layers of polyester-spandex chiffon, natural silk, or flannel
  • It has adjustable ear loops
  • It doesn’t have exposed metallic parts at the nose bridge

Most importantly, make sure to wash your fabric masks after each use. It is easy to have them lying around. 

Having a daily skincare routine is essential, but it can get neglected for other pressures on you (and even sleep). Consider using the time that you are tending to your skin as time for self-care.

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