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Face Mask Breakout: "Maskne" Prevent it, Hide it, Heal it

3D origami face mask
We need to wear our face masks to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19. It's not fun. Nobody likes it, but it is necessary to keep people healthy, and to keep our restaurants and small businesses open. 

Plus, it is the perfect opportunity to express ourselves with a bold, cute or silly fashion mask!

Have you found your skin is breaking out in the areas covered by your face mask? Me too!!!

There is a new term to describe this sort of breakout, "Maskne". 

The warm moist environment under your face mask encourages the growth of the bacteria that causes acne. As if we don't have enough to worry about! 

You may have particular trouble on the areas of skin where the edges of the mask fit tightest against the skin such as under the jawline, across the nose and the upper cheek area. 

Not only can the skin breakout more in those areas, it can also become dry, irritated and chafed from the mask rubbing the skin plus, it can trigger a rosacea flare up. 🤦‍♀️

The stress we all are experiencing during this covid crisis also contributes to breakouts.

Oily skin is particularly prone to maskne but any skin type of any age can experience maskne breakout.

Read Older Skin with Acne Breakout: Causes & Remedies

A facial will certainly help heal the skin but facials, and any other services where a face mask needs to be removed, were not permitted in Pennsylvania where I am a licensed esthetician. I think that may have just changed but with rising COVID numbers, these services will probably not be allowed again. I'm sure many other states have the same type of rule.

It's quite frustrating. 

Prevent, Hide & Heal a Breakout from your Face Mask

Don't lose it! There are some easy things you can do to help prevent the breakout, hide the breakout and help heal the breakout that has already occurred. I have included Amazon Affiliate links in this post to help you find all my favorite tried and true cruelty free skin care products.

Prevent Maskne Breakout

To help prevent a breakout from your face mask, start by wearing the right face mask.

Wear a Clean Mask 
You absolutely must wear a clean face mask everyday. Wearing a face mask that dirty with makeup, sweat and oils will only exacerbate the acne situation. 

If you wear a mask all day at work and find you sweat a lot, you should change your mask to a fresh clean one part way through the day. 

Don't Reuse a Disposable Mask
Disposable face masks are disposable for a reason. Makeup, sweat and oils can not be cleaned off of them. Toss them out after wearing them.

Wear a Cotton Face Mask
100% cotton or a mostly cotton blend fabric is the best choice for a face mask not only wearability, but for droplet capture as well. Cotton is a soft skin friendly comfortable fabric. 

Cotton absorbs sweat and allows it to evaporate. Synthetic fabrics may not absorb sweat therefore, causing the skin to retain the heat and sweat. The perfect environment for creating a breakout.
Avoid a Tight Mask
You need your face mask to fit snugly around the edges for protection. It does not need to fit close to the skin otherwise. I find 3D style masks, also called origami masks, are great because they sit away from the face. 

This helps keep the skin cooler and causes less chafing of the skin. They also seem to move around less when you are talking. 

Wear a Dye Free Mask
It's fun to wear colorful masks, but those people with sensitive skin or skin that is breaking out may experience irritation from the dyes used to create those bright colors. 

Choose a white, dye free mask. 

A white mask doesn't have to be boring. It can be adorned with appliques, glitter and rhinestones. 

Also, a mask can have a white lining where it touches your skin with a colorful layer on top.

Click here to visit the Beach Ruffles Etsy Shop for 3D Origami Face Masks

Use Fragrance Free Detergent
Perfumes can irritate sensitive skin. Machine wash your cloth face mask with a fragrance free detergent or hand wash with a mild dishwashing liquid in very warm water

Concentrate on any areas that are dirty with makeup when hand washing. Rinse it well. Reshape the mask and let it air dry.

Be sure to have plenty of cloth masks so you have clean ones available daily or to change throughout the day. And... have the right one to coordinate with your outfit.

Take a Makeup Break
Avoid applying foundation to the areas that will be covered by your mask. No one can see that skin under your mask and the makeup will mix with oils and sweat adding to the breakout irritation. 

Plus, the foundation will get on your mask. I have read that you do not want anything, even makeup, interfering with the breathability of your face mask.

Hide Maskne Breakout

If you feel you simply must cover areas of redness and breakout, try Tarte Shape Tape Concealer to spot conceal.
Tarte Shape Tape Concealer
Shape Tape Concealer is simply amazing! It wears like iron and very little will rub off onto your face mask plus, it provides superior coverage. Retails for $27.00

So Your Skin Broke Out Anyway

Even though you have done all the right things with your face mask, your skin can still break out especially if you have sensitive skin. 

I have a few skin care tips and some of my favorite effective products to recommend for you to help heal the breakout asap.

Heal Maskne Breakout

Follow a good skin care routine, use products formulated to heal and soothe skin experiencing an acne breakout, do some stress relieving activities and limit alcohol consumption.

Skin Care Products to Heal Maskne Breakout

Step 1: Cleanser

Use a gentle facial cleanser twice a day. 

Wash your face in the morning to remove oil and sweat that have accumulated overnight. 

Before bed, wash your face to remove all makeup, excess oil, sweat and dirt that has accumulated during the day. 

Apply your cleanser then use a soft wash cloth in a circular motion to remove the cleanser. The wash cloth offers some gentle exfoliation and helps remove makeup more effectively. Be sure rinse well.

Ole Henriksen Find your Balance Oil Control Cleanser 
I love this minty fresh feeling cleanser. I find it helps calm and clear a breakout. It is great for any age oily or normal/oily combination skin that is breaking out. It is also good for treating an area that is breaking out on dry skin.

Use an eye makeup remover if your face wash doesn't do a good job removing your eye makeup.

If you are feeling a bit lazy, rightfully so, try makeup removing wipes. You can keep them right beside your bed and wash your face in bed!

Formula 10.0.6 Keep Me Clean Face Wipes

Formula 10.0.6 Keep Me Clean Clarifying Facial Wipes

These Formula 10.0.6 Facial Wipes remove makeup, dirt, and oils with cucumber extract and witch hazel while being gentle even on the most sensitive skin! 

Step 2: Toner
Use a toner on a cotton pad to remove any cleanser residue. Most toners contain healing balancing ingredients to treat the skin along with removing cleanser residue. 

I love Ole Henriksen Balancing Force Oil Control Toner. It's a 3 jobs in one product. It cleanses, it balance and it exfoliates. Plus, it feels cool and refreshing.

ole henriksen balancing force oil control toner
Ole Henriksen Balancing Force Oil Control Toner
I love the smell and refreshing feel of the peppermint and eucalyptus oil in this product! This toner also contains alpha hydroyx acids (glycolic acid and lactic acid) and beta hydroxy acid which is salicylic acid, green tea extract, witch hazel, glycerin, kelp, neem seed oil, and more ingredients that are helpful for oily skin, combination skin and breakout areas on dry skin. 

Step 3: Spot Treat
Use an acne spot treatment product to heal the breakout areas. Apply your moisturizer right over it after it has dried. 

I also like to do a spot treatment with a facial mud mask on broken out areas.

Dr. Dennis Gross Dr x Blemish Solutions Acne Eliminating Gel Salicylic Acid Acne Medication
Murad Blemish Control Rapid Relief Spot Treatment
 This is a great treatment to use overnight since it is not invisible. It gets it's blemish fighting power from 2% salicylic acid and it's anti inflammatory effects from allantoin and licorice root 

Skyn Iceland
Skyn Iceland Anti Blemish Gel with Willow Bark 
This effective product gets it's blemish fighting power from willow bark (salicylic acid) and it's anti inflammatory effects from lily extract and green tea extract. It also contains hydrating ingredients to help prevent flaky skin. 

Alba Botanica Acne Dote Maximum Strength Invisible Treatment Gel
Alba Botanica Acne Dote Maximum Strength Invisible Treatment Gel
 This bargain acne product gets it's blemish fighting power from 2% salicylic acid and it's anti inflammatory effects from aloe and soothing botanical extracts. 

Spot treat with a mud mask
I frequently use a mud mask to do a spot healing treatment. Apply a mud mask to absorb oil and speed up healing on broken out areas. Leave it on the skin for 10-15 minutes, then rinse it well.

I also use a mud mask as an overnight treatment on particularly stubborn breakouts. Apply the mask to the blemish and leave it on overnight while you sleep. Soften the dried mud mask with a warm wash cloth and rinse off in the morning.

Formula 10.0.6 Mud Mask

Formula 10.0.6 Be Berry Bright Exfoliating Mud Mask
This amazing healing mud mask heals and exfoliates the skin with antioxidant Goji Berry and Green Coffee Beans. This mask is great for any skin type.

Step 4: Moisturizer
In addition to the oil control toner, try Ole Henriksen Counter Balance Oil Control Hydrator. It helps the skin look clearer, brighter and be less oily while keeping it hydrated. Hydrated skin is healthier skin.
ole henriksen counter balance oil control hydrator
Ole Henriksen Counter Balance Oil Control Hydrator

It contains rose hip oil to help reduce oil production. It also contains alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic acid and lactic acid) and beta hydroxy acid which is salicylic acid.  Plus, hyaluronic acid, oat kernel flour, peppermint oil and more hydrating, balancing ingredients. Perfect for oily skin, combination skin or breakout areas on dry skin.

Reduce Stress To Heal a Breakout

The stress hormone cortisol, which our bodies produce when we are under a lot of stress, can stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce oil. Too much oil contributes to breakouts. Do some stress reducing activities to take down the cortisol level.

Walking is a great stress reducer especially when you walk outside in the fresh air. It is an easy exercise to do when you really don't feel like exercising.

This is my favorite stress relieve. Put on some tunes and dance like nobody's watching!!!

Watch a Movie
Watch a sappy, lighthearted Hallmark or Lifetime movie to escape reality for a while.
Read a book or Magazine
Get lost in a book or magazine to escape reality for a while.

Shop for Best Selling Books

Alcoholic Beverages
You may feel you need some wine to help you relax and relieve your stress.

Limit your alcohol consumption though, if you want better skin. Overindulging in alcoholic beverages can cause dehydrated skin. 

Dehydrated skin is irritated skin and it takes longer to heal when it breaks out. Yes, dehydrated can still breakout.

Alcohol can also trigger a rosacea flare up.

Read Skin and the Effects of Alcohol

Here's a quick recap about maskne to prevent it, hide it, and heal it

1. Wear the right protective face mask and keep it clean.

2. Use a good skin care routine with cleanser, toner, spot treatments and moisturizer to heal maskne breakouts. 

3. Take down cortisol levels with stress relieving activities.

4. Limit alcohol consumption.

It sounds like a lot, but once you get into this good skin care routine, it will become easy. You will see an improvement in your maskne face mask breakout and you will see an improvement in the overall appearance of you skin.

Let's all wear our masks and get this pandemic over with asap!!!

       Love One Another & Be Beautiful! 
Licensed Cosmetologist, Esthetician, Makeup Artist

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