Words by: Viola Levy
The vast majority of us are adopting a new way of life post-lockdown, with having to wear face masks on public transport and in shops – as well as in taxis. But a new skincare issue has reared its ugly head. ‘Maskne’ (i.e. spots that develop under the mask) is swiftly becoming the bane of our lives. Sweat build-up, combined with the friction of the mask and lack of ventilation cause the skin underneath the mask to become congested, making it a breeding ground for spot-causing bacteria. The result: large, unsightly blemishes and cysts around our mouth and chin – otherwise known as ‘acne mechanica’ to give it its technical name. So what can we do about it? Try following these simple tips.
Maintain good mask hygiene
Making sure your hands are clean prevents any bacteria coming into contact with your face when you put your mask on, so always wash your them thoroughly beforehand. (If there isn’t a sink nearby, hand sanitizer is the next best option.) Try not to touch your face while wearing your mask, and always wash the mask in-between uses in 60-degree heat. (It’s a good idea to keep a spare mask handy for this reason – then you can alternate between the two.)
If you have any spots that are particularly red and painful, you might want to cover them with a plaster to avoid your mask rubbing against them and infecting or aggravating them further.
Cleanse your skin properly (especially at night)
When it comes down to effective cleansing in the age of facemasks, a simple makeup wipe isn’t going to cut it. Wash your face as soon as you get home (as opposed to just before bed) using a rinse-off cleanser to thoroughly remove every last scrap of gunk that may have built up under the mask. We love Philosophy’s Purity One-Step Facial Cleanser, which sweeps away stubborn makeup and dirt in one go – make sure you massage it thoroughly into the skin before rinsing off, so it can really work its magic.
Try not to use face scrubs too often – if the skin is already red and irritated, this can make the problem worse (and cause any existing spots to become even more inflamed).
Keep skin moisturised
The friction caused by your mask rubbing against your skin can disrupt its natural protective barrier. This causes dryness and irritation, which the skin reacts to by producing more oil – leading to clogged pores and breakouts. Keeping your skin well hydrated makes it less vulnerable to this kind of thing, so ensure you apply moisturiser every morning. Olay’s Regenerist 3 Point Anti-Ageing Firming Day SPF30 Cream contains a replenishing dose of Vitamin E for a happy and hydrated complexion.
Keep makeup to a minimum
To prevent your pores becoming clogged under your mask, try to avoid wearing makeup around your lips, jaw and chin. (Focus on your eye makeup and brows instead!) It’s best to avoid heavy foundations – but if you really don’t want to go makeup free, a light tinted moisturiser is a good compromise.
Looking for a quick and easy morning beauty routine?
Follow our guide on time-saving beauty tips