We’ve all been there. You’re going about your day, minding your own business, when something catches your eye. You lean closer to whatever reflective surface tipped you off and try to get a better look. You peer at your face, horror dawning across your features. That better not be…a spot. It’s a spot.
Suddenly, it all adds up. Yesterday’s forty-minute Tube ride, quietly sweating under your mask as you listened to a podcast. The queue for the checkout in the supermarket. Grabbing a coffee at lunch. When was the last time you washed your mask? You can’t remember. There’s no denying that masks are now an integral part of our everyday lives – I live in fear of leaving mine behind every time I walk out of my front door. However, our skin isn’t such a big fan, with the term “maskne” (that’s mask acne, for the uninitiated) recently joining such gems as “new normal” and “Zoom” in the pandemic vocabulary hall of fame.
How to deal with Mask Acne
1. Try to reduce your mask time
Okay, this is easier said than done but it makes a difference! A mask isn’t just sitting on your face – we’re adjusting it, touching it, sweating into it, transferring bacteria from our hands onto our skin. If you can reduce how long it’s on your face, you’ll give your skin more time to breath. This could be as simple as taking a shorter bus route and walking for five more minutes.
2. Wash your masks!
Make sure it’s clean! If you don’t feel like you’re doing the absolute most when it comes to washing your masks, you probably aren’t doing enough. Washing them after every use may seem like a chore but if you could see the bacteria on them, you’d be horrified. As Reese Witherspoon said in Big Little Lies, “I love my grudges. I tend to them like little pets”. Now, replace grudges with masks. You’re welcome. Get scrubbing.
3. Step up your skincare routine
It’s also time to step up your skincare routine. I’m talking regular exfoliation. I’m talking double cleansing. I’m talking toner. Your skin deserves love, care and daily SPF. Yes, even if it’s not sunny! I promise you, you’re not getting all the SPF you need from your BB cream. Invest in good sun protection.
4. Be mindful of what products you’re using
If you’re not sure what works for your skin, do a bit of research. Ingredients like tea tree and witch-hazel are antibacterial, whilst comedogenic ingredients are known to clog your pores and lead to breakouts. If you’re looking for a bit of clarity, independent skincare brands can be a good place to start. Alternatively, there are lots of websites out there to help you decode the mystery of your skincare shelf – use them!
5. Wash your brushes and sponges
You’re already washing your masks. It can’t hurt to clean the other things that you put on your skin, right? Whether you’re a fan of a makeup sponge or more of a brush advocate, remember to give them a good lather. Say goodbye to dirt, oil and dead skin cells and hello to smoother makeup application.
If you take anything away from this, let it be that you need to WASH YOUR MASK. Like, right now. And if that’s too much for you, invest in a few new ones. Go for a silk one if you’re feeling fancy, or cotton if that’s a step too far. Don’t wait until your skin is sending out an SOS.
Blog post written by Miranda Parkinson.