What Is Maskne And Why You Probably Have It

Faces were oily and sweaty before COVID-19 but now with facemasks pores are more clogged than ever. 
Sunday 25 October 2020
Wearing masks is now an everday facet of our lives and with it comes mascne. Photo: AFP

The pandemic has gone on for much of 2020 now, changing the way we work, the way we socialise and making certain routines a new normal in the world we live in. With second and even third waves hitting individual countries at differing rates, it is safe to say that much of how we do things now is not going to be changing anytime soon. 

Face masks are now a part of almost everyone’s daily attire. Luxury brands have sleek monogrammed ones that cost an arm and a leg while sportswear companies have pushed the technology for breathable yet safe material for athletes and gym rats alike. 

Wearing a mask for long periods of time and on most days, you might find your skin is fighting against you. Especially in the heat of wonderfully sunny Southeast Asia, where no winter dares touch, sweat and grime and bacteria builds up quickly under your protective gear. 


A man wearing a cloth facemask rides past a closed market in Rawalpindi earlier this year. Photo: Farooq Naeem/AFP


Many may find themselves afflicted with a different kind of ailment, mascne. It’s a term that has made its way into our everyday vocabulary that refers to the pesky breakouts of acne caused by wearing said masks. Have you suddenly sprouted zits on your chin? Have you discovered that whiteheads are suddenly cropping up around your mouth? Skin irritations, spots and other blemishes are now common in the mask-related areas, and eczema-prone people have more to fear than most. 

No one is safe, it doesn’t matter if you’ve outgrown puberty or even second adult puberty, mascne will get to you eventually. So here are some precautions that you can take to reduce those unsightly spots and the chances of having to go to a pimple-popping doctor. 


Cotton masks are the way to go 



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Surgical masks are popular, easy to produce, purchase and use for all, but really if you want to avoid creating an incubation space for the acne bacteria then cotton is a better option. The material of the surgical masks is more likely to favour the proliferation of the vexing bacteria. The heat and the humidity trapped in there with the addition of the mask rubbing against ones face adds to the skin irritation.

So pick cotton, specifically 100% cotton, when choosing a mask. Ensure that it’s up to par with what WHO standards say with the triple layers so that you’re still protected. Another thing to look out for is getting a mask that fits properly and that there isn’t excessive rubbing or touching of facial skin.

Under Armour has a great breathable mask that covers a good portion of the face. Malaysian brand Innersejuk also makes some chic and breathable masks with their own DriChill technology. 



If you need to use surgical masks or prefer it, try to make sure that it doesn’t press tightly against your face and change them several times throughout the day. In this sense cotton is still better because of the waste build-up many countries are seeing from masks being used and thrown. 


Check behind the ears! 

Everyone forgets to wash behind their ears and but no one can forget about it when their mask straps are too tight they’re turning them red. Check out different types of straps and masks to suit your ears because the backs of your ears are not exempt from the horrors of mascne and sweat irritation. Gentler elastic straps or tied fabric straps might be preferable for many and if not there are also now silicone strap guards to ease the pain. 


Changing up routines 


Shake things up with your skincare routine.


This shouldn’t be a shocker since we have all pretty much turned out lives upside down. Well, aside from those who never leave their homes anyway. But revamping your daily skincare regime might be a good idea to combat the nasty pus-filled bumps. 

Say your daily routine consisted of morning and night face washing and moisturising, it might be good to add an extra step occasionally to get the extra grime off your face.

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t bother with fancy routines it might be good to just add in a once-in-a-while facial exfoliation routine to properly cleanse the face of built-up dead skin and sebum. Even a simple cleansing clay mask once every two weeks might help ease inflammation and irritation. 


At night, apply a good layer of Laneige’s Water Sleeping Mask to hydrate and help to repair your skin’s natural barriers and keep it plump. Photo: Laneige


If the acne has already set in and setting your skin ablaze, tea tree oil and topical creams like Benzac are there for you to soothe the angry spots. Laniege also has simple day and night skincare routines that are uncomplicated to follow, if not Innisfree is also extremely popular if you want easy choices for keeping your skin clean. 


Chill on the cake face 

We all want to slap that face on to complete the look and look on fleek all the time but this might be the time to take a chill pill on the makeup. If you already have a face mask on why add an extra makeup mask to that, the skin needs to breathe and most foundations won’t allow for that. 



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Obviously, the answer to this is to spend a pretty penny on a good lightweight, non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic formula but there are still some people whose skin can’t even take that. Brands like Estee Lauder or Clinique have entire ranges of light foundations that will cover up blemishes but also work to bring that shine back to your natural face. Take a break from the beauty blender and don’t bake your cheeks today. 


Source: AFP Relax News