Your protective face mask might be causing your skin to breakout - How to deal with 'Mask-ne’

Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images
Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images
  • Redness, irritation and acne caused by wearing masks for prolonged periods of time has now been dubbed 'mask-ne'. 
  • While it's advised that your mask has a snug fit, unfortunately, the tighter the mask, the more frictional pressure and irritation is placed on your skin. 
  • Skin professionals have advice on how to prevent and treat 'mask-ne'.

Across the globe, wearing a face mask in public has become the new normal. Whether you decide to make your own fabric mask, or you buy one, you will likely (and unfortunately) discover the side effects of wearing a mask for a prolonged period of time. One of these side effects is ‘mask-ne’, a term dubbed to describe the redness, irritation and acne caused by face masks. 

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“Breathing under the mask creates a moist, hot environment for your skin. This can lead to a build-up of sweat and oil on the skin around your chin, nose and cheeks, which can lead to "mask-ne", says Heidi Cerfontyne, Education and Curriculum Manager at Nimue Skin Technology.  

While doing all you can to keep yourself and others safe from contracting the coronavirus, there are ways to keep your skin protected too. 

Cleanse and Moisturise 

Ensure your face is cleansed prior to wearing a mask and keep your skin hydrated. The constant rubbing and friction from everyday mask use can compromise the skin’s barrier, resulting in dryness and bruising.

At the end of the day, cleanse and moisturise again to remove any impurities and rehydrate your skin. Serums work wonders too as they can be layered under your moisturiser for an added boost of hydration.

Give your makeup some time off 

Another precaution you can take to prevent breakouts when wearing a face mask is giving your face a break from wearing makeup, every now and then – giving the natural look a try, especially when you are staying home.

Makeup can cause further blocking of oil glands and pores, potentially making breakouts worse. If you feel too ‘naked’ without any makeup, opt for some eye shadow, eyeliner and some mascara to accentuate your eyes. 

READ MORE: You really shouldn't, but this is Dr Pimple Popper's advice on how to pop those pesky zits at home

Look for 100% cotton face masks

If you're making your own mask, try using 100% cotton fabric because the more synthetic a material is, the more heat retention occurs on the skin that is covered by the mask. This will likely lead to irritation. 

Compiled by Afika Jadezweni 

Additional information provided by Nimue Skin Technology

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