Maskne. A term only those in certain medical professions were previously familiar with. Today, it’s a word on most of our lips.With facemasks or coverings now mandatory when we step inside shops, museums and cinemas or on buses and trains, rising numbers of our customers and Avicenna Clinic clients are reporting an increase in experiences of ‘maskne’ (mask acne) and 'maskitis' (mask dermatitis) - the former describing instances of skin irritation and facial blemishes that, when left untreated, can develop into more serious cases of acne and rosacea; the latter characterised by dry, flaky and inflamed skin that can develop into more serious cases of seborrheic dermatitis.
What are the signs and symptoms of maskne and maskitis?Wearing a mask for prolonged periods of time in particular inevitably means you are breathing within a confined space. This creates heat and humidity while also causing friction as the covering rubs against skin. The result? Clogged pores, breakouts and sore, sensitised, dry skin around the cheek and chin areas.
What’s more, wearing makeup under a mask risks further build-up of oil, dirt and bacteria on skin, increasing skin irritation, redness and even acne. Unfortunately, those already suffering from facial acne, rosacea, eczema and seborrheic dermatitis risk exacerbating their condition with the added heat, stress and friction.
However, the news isn’t all bad. Both are treatable and, here, our experts advise their most effective maskne and maskitis treatments as well as how to avoid future breakouts.
Our best treatment for maskne
The right skincare routine is your first step at overcoming maskne. We’ve broken down our recommendations based on the specific symptoms you’re experiencing…
Maskne-induced acne, blemishes and breakouts
Should your maskne either begin with acne or blemish flare-ups or if your sensitive skin develops into breakouts of spots, treat it swiftly and effectively with this purifying day and night skin routine.
- As tempting as it may be to wash your face after each mask wear, this will prove too intense for skin, is likely to upset its balance further and may induce a worsening of your condition. Stick with cleansing skin twice a day, morning and evening. Massage Jin Yin Hua | Honeysuckle Cleansing Wash over the face, rinse with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel.
- Twice a week, treat your skin to our Xiao Cuo Mian Mo | Cleanse & Clear Face Mask. Its blend of Witch Hazel and organic Tea Tree Oil detoxifies and soothes, help restore a clear and balanced complexion.
- For daytime on-the-spot treatment, apply Fei Zi Shui | Spot Treatment Gel directly onto the affected area – its expertly blended formula includes organic Tea Tree Oil and Aloe Vera to clear and calm. Be sure to keep this handy little pot in your bag and apply onto spots during the day up to five times.
- Overnight, soothe mask-induced acne by applying Dian Dao Shui Gao | Overnight Spot Treatment Cream over breakouts. Rich in actives renowned for their anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, you’ll notice how fresh and comfortable skin feels by morning.
- As with our eczema skincare routine, keeping skin hydrated is key to helping it remain comfortable during the day as well as protected against friction from your mask. Rose Otto Rejuvenating Cream | Face Moisturiser is your ideal moisturiser here.
Maskne-induced eczema and sensitivity
A skin concern we’re seeing with continuous mask-wearing is eczema. Sensitivity and eczematous rashes flare-ups are proving quite common for those never before experiencing such conditions. Here’s how to tackle it:
- Like our routine above, maintain a twice-daily cleansing routine and use a gentle cleanser like Jin Yin Hua | Honeysuckle Cleansing Wash. Free from SLS, SLES and soap, this soothing cleanser removes impurities without drying skin.
- Follow this by smoothing Huang Lian Gao | Soothing Eczema Ointment over affected areas. Powerfully calming, our 100% natural skin treatment instantly soothes sensitised skin and leaves it feeling comfortable. If sensitivity flares during the day, re-apply this specialised ointment up to five times.
- As an overnight treatment, apply Shi Zhen Gao | Soothing Eczema Cream onto affected areas to restore comfort and softness to sensitive patches or eczema rashes while you sleep.
- To keep your whole complexion comfortable and protected during the day and while wearing a mask, smooth on Rose Otto Rejuvenating Cream | Face Moisturiser after cleansing and treating skin. Intensely hydrating and soothing, it’s also gentle enough to use on very sensitive skin.
Maskitis-induced dermatitis around the mouth
Should your mask begin to cause a flare-up of dermatitis around the mouth - namely the appearance of red, scaly and itchy patches - follow this simple two-step routine.
- As with both skincare routines above, cleanse your face twice a day, morning and evening, with Jin Yin Hua | Honeysuckle Cleansing Wash. Rinse with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel.
- Bring swift relief to itching while calming and smoothing skin by applying a small amount of Wu Shi Gao | Overnight face treatment for seborrhoeic dermatitis directly onto the affected area around your mouth and allow to dry.
Though you can, of course, use this product throughout the day and repeat the application up to five times, its colour may cause staining to skin and hence you may prefer to solely use it overnight.
Expert advice for avoiding maskne and maskitisMaintaining a good skincare routine day and night will, of course, ensure pores remain clear and skin is cared for, conditioned and protected. You can also help avoid maskne and maskitis by avoiding wearing makeup, if you can, until you remove your mask. Combined with the heat, moisture and friction, the addition of makeup risks further bacteria forming and clogging pores.
Mask hygiene is also crucial to helping you limit maskne. Though there are inevitable concerns over single-use disposable masks, they are, of course, considerably more hygienic than using reusable masks without washing after each use.