Summer may be a time that brings glowing skin, but the heat and humidity can worsen skin issues that already exist or even allow you to have new problems. Maskne (yes this is a real thing) initially never left me desperate and succumbed to chin and cheek acne, but after the summer heat, I find myself suffering an increase in acne.
What is Maskne exactly?
Maskne (the technical term is acne mechanica) comes from the friction of fabric against the skin. The friction then leads to inflammation and irritation of the skin which affects the pores leading to acne. Also, masks trap sweat, sebum, saliva, and other bacteria that come from your mouth right up against your skin. Combined with the excess humidity and sweating that we experienced over summer with the massive heat waves, what’s hiding beneath our masks is a recipe for disaster. Once the skin’s protective barrier is damaged, the trapped bacteria penetrates your pores causing pimples and clogging.
How to get rid of Maskne
While choosing the suitable face masks, can be the first step – dermatologists suggest 100% cotton or silk materials – we are going to get back to the basics with skincare to help with maskne. It can help to stick to a routine that removes dirt, oil, and dead skin cells that can clog your pores and continue to cause breakouts.
We have gotten used to the excess washing of our hands and we should extend that same practice to our faces. Double cleansing can be a step to ensuring we get rid of all the bacteria and other excess dirt. Start with an oil-based cleanser as these can lift bacteria, makeup, and grime. Then continue with a gentle cleanser to clean impurities that are left behind. Since there is a backup and congestion of pores, exfoliation can aid in decongesting the pores and breaking down the sebum without stripping the skin.
While extra or double cleansing makes its way into your routine, don’t overdo it. Excessive washing can dry out your skin, possibly leading to more irritation. We do not want to strip our skin’s natural barrier. Another option can be to use a mild exfoliator, again with the reminder to not overdo it – it can leave your skin barrier to bacteria and irritation.
Aim for hydration rather than combating acne
I struggle with blackheads in my chin area and for years I was always bombarding it with products that dealt with acne. Changing my tactics to focus on hydration, the appearance of blackheads has greatly diminished. The same technique goes for maskne as well.
Besides its obvious job, moisturizer can protect from mask friction. Lighter consistency moisturizer may be your best bet to not clog your pores. Think of your mask as an intensifier for the delivery of the products to your skin. So it might also be helpful to keep your acids or retinols for nighttime because they already can cause irritation on its own and we do not want to intensify that.
Treat locally if needed
Tackling the pimples as they come, classic spot treatments can be a savior. The spot treatments with benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid deliver a powerful dose of its ingredients to dry out the pimples. Acne patches are another option in trying to battle pimples. Not only do they transfer their ingredients via the patch, they also provide a protective covering between your blemish and the mask.
You are your skin’s best keeper. If it seems that acne persists or maybe you are not totally convinced that it is maskne, don’t rule out stress or hormonal acne since that is the affected area as well.