The Covid-19 pandemic has led to mask-wearing becoming a norm. With that, "Maskne" (Mask Acne) has plagued my skin. I recently began my skincare journey, so throwing maskne into this mix wasn't helpful. When a breakout occurred, it was difficult to tell whether a mask or a new skincare product was the cause. Fortunately, these days, I don't have to leave my house as regularly. But when I did, I broke out around my cheeks, particularly along my jawlines and my cheekbones, where the edges of a mask meet my skin.
This made me start looking for solutions and I did manage to find a rather unique one that helped me minimise such outbreaks. To understand how it does this, knowing some of the causes of Maskne is quite useful.
Causes of Maskne
Like any other breakout, it can be due to clogged pores. But in this case, it's aggravated from wearing a mask. Usually, dead skin cells can shed into the environment. However, mask-wearing prevents this from happening, resulting in a buildup of dead skin cells which clogs pores and leads to acne.
Another cause could be the sweat and exhaled air trapped in the mask. The moisture and humidity provide an environment for the bacteria-causing acne to thrive.
The friction between the mask and the skin can also be a cause. The pressure and the rubbing on the skin can harm the skin barrier, causing irritation and acne (check out My First Moisturiser to find out more about having a healthy skin barrier and a product that can help achieve it).
Allergy or sensitivity can be a cause as well. The mask's material, the chemicals it's been pretreated with, or even the detergent used to wash a mask can lead to a flare-up.
All in all, this seems like a recipe for disaster for my skin.
How I came to know about this practice
When I was out with my friend, I noticed how she had placed a tissue in her mask. When I asked her about it, she mentioned how it helps her to prevent acne. I didn't think much about it that time because I was still unconcerned about Maskne. As time passed and the wearing of masks continued, I began to care more about my skin. I started to look for ways to prevent maskne. Some suggestions included washing the face after wearing a mask, washing reusable masks after every use, and wearing less makeup. However, I didn't recall any suggesting placing tissues inside masks.
Then, someone I knew, passed a comment about how they had seen a person doing this. This reminded me of my friend and what she had said. Curiosity piqued, I dug deeper.
The practice and reasoning behind it
I managed to find one article where a dermatologist suggests lining masks with a soft facial tissue (the link for this article can be found here). She explains that the tissue acts as a protective barrier to prevent friction on the skin while keeping a mask dry for a longer duration. She also mentions how the lining can be replaced multiple times as required.
At this point, I was convinced. It seemed like a prevention method that would target all the four causes covered earlier. By replacing the tissue often, there should be less buildup of dead skin cells and an environment suitable for bacterial growth can also be prevented. Besides from friction, the tissue should also protect the skin from allergy-causing chemicals and materials as well.
*If you'd like to know how I line my masks, please like this post and I'll post a short tutorial. Subscribe to my blog by filling in your email at the bottom or simply follow my Instagram @enrosza to stay updated!
Results and Final thoughts
I did see an improvement from lining my mask with facial tissue before wearing it. On occasions where I have to wear a mask for long hours, I try to replace the tissue at least once. Like I said before, I don't go out much nowadays, so this might have played a role in lesser breakouts. But I do think that this method has helped me minimise it. Here and there, I get a rogue pimple, but it doesn't compare to what I experienced before I started doing this. I wish I had started doing this earlier, it would have indeed made my skincare journey less complicated.
I will continue to practice this. I would like to point out that I am not a dermatologist or a doctor but am here to share my experiences and what I have learned on my skincare journey. Feel free to share yours with me or let me know if I have misrepresented any information.
In the following weeks, I will be posting a two-part series on working out consistently. In the first part, I will be cover one way that has helped me do so, which in hindsight, I realised was part of a straightforward formula that helped me achieve working out consistently in the past. In the second, I share some interesting thoughts on motivation and an even simpler way to work out consistently, it only requires yourself. Stay tuned!
Caring For Your Skin While Wearing Masks (the article where a dermatologist mentions this practice)