If you’ve experienced an increased number of outbreaks since COVID started, you’re not alone. Beyond the fact that stress and anxiety can contribute to acne, masks also create a perfect storm for skin congestion. In fact, acne caused by masks has become so commonplace this year that it even has a nickname, “maskne” (although the medical term is “acne mechanica”). Prior to COVID, athletes were the people most likely to experience maskne due to the sweat, heat, and friction caused by exercising for hours at a time while wearing helmets and chin straps. Maskne may sound (and feel!) intimidating, but don’t worry, in this post we’ll cover how to treat maskne with a few preventative measures and the right organic skincare routine!
So what exactly causes a maskne outbreak? Put simply, when you breathe inside your mask for hours, it increases the amount of humidity around your face and creates a breeding ground for acne. Even though the environment within your mask is humid, cotton and disposable masks rub right against your skin and absorb the natural oils, thus drying your skin out over time. Dry skin can be more prone to outbreaks, plus, as the material continues to rub against your face, the friction of the mask can then block and clog pores. All of these factors combine to create an environment that’s prime for breakouts.
Fortunately, with a combination of simple prevention and natural treatments, you can learn how to treat maskne without a huge investment in expensive, chemical-laden products! Because let’s be honest, who needs one more thing to worry about this year?
How to Prevent Maskne
Like most things, prevention is key. These are the three preventative steps we find most useful.
1. Wear a Satin or Silk Mask
When you’re shopping for a mask, look for ones made of satin or silk. While the price tag may be slightly higher, these materials won’t wick moisture out of your skin like cotton or disposable masks will. These are a particularly great option for anyone who’s been experiencing extra dry skin lately or who lives in a dry climate.
2. Wash Reusable Masks Between Every Wear
If you have reusable masks, then try to get in the habit of washing them between each wear. This is especially important if you wear your masks for long periods of time, or if you sweat while wearing your mask. By having a clean mask, you won’t reintroduce your skin to the oils, dirt, and even cosmetics that your mask absorbed the last time you wore it. The CDC also recommends washing your masks regularly for safety reasons, so this is a great habit to get into in general!
Some masks can be thrown in the washing machine and dryer, but others, like satin or silk masks, should be hand washed and air dried. To account for regular washings, make sure you have enough masks to get through at least one week without needing to do laundry.
3. Find Safe Moments to Take a Mask Break
If possible, try to find moments throughout the day when you can remove your mask safely and let your skin air out, even if it’s only for a few minutes. You could do this when you’re taking a short break, driving in your car alone, or if you’re outdoors and maintaining safe social distance.
If you feel like your skin is getting oily, then this could be a great time to apply a few spritzes of an invigorating mist. Our favorite one for this purpose is the Mangosteen Revitalizing Mist by Eminence Organics, which features a dreamy combination of antioxidant-packed mangosteen, energizing ribose, and pore-refining red clover. Make sure your face is completely dry before you put your mask back on.
Note: During these times, it’s all too common to hear people say, “I can’t breathe” in reference to their masks. We’d like to gently draw attention to the fact that these were George Floyd’s last words. While masks can certainly be uncomfortable, the truth of the matter is that we ARE able to breathe, unlike those who have suffered, and even died, under the oppression of white supremacy and police brutality. In solidarity with the Black community, we’re making a cognitive effort to avoid using the phrase “I can’t breathe” when referring to masks or to our skin needing a break from masks.
How to Treat Maskne: Our 3 Favorite Products
You could follow all of the preventative steps above and still experience a breakout. When you find yourself wondering how to treat maskne, pay special attention to two critical steps of your natural skincare routine: exfoliation and hydration!
We looked through the timely new products in our Eminence Organics line, and the following three items all stood out to us as particularly helpful in regards to maskne.
As always, all Eminence Organics products are organic, sustainable, and cruelty free. They’re also void of parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, and other ingredients that we find best to avoid.
Charcoal Exfoliating Gel Cleanser
Because maskne can result from irritated skin and clogged pores, it’s best to find a gentle exfoliating cleanser. Our favorite choice for this application is our Eminence Organics Charcoal Exfoliating Gel Cleanser.
Why do we love it?
- The main ingredient, charcoal, is super absorbent, so it draws out oil, dirt, and other harmful substances from clogged pores.
- The crushed malachite gemstones are the stone of transformation, helping the mind release stress and feel optimistic and balanced – something we could all use more of right now!
- And the blue matcha (butterly pea flower) and peppermint are both rich in antioxidants that improve the appearance of vitality. The peppermint will feel cooling and soothing, just what you need when your skin feels inflamed.
To use, simply mix a small amount of the cleanser in your hands with water. Apply to your face and neck, and then massage gently with your fingertips in a circular motion. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.
If it’s morning, and you’re getting ready to start your day, then finish with a moisturizer and a natural SPF.
If you’re headed to bed, then finish with the Camellia Glow Solid Face Oil (below), and a moisturizer to deeply hydrate your skin overnight. If you have a bit of extra time, then try the Turmeric Energizing Treatment after you cleanse for some added love (keep reading)!
Camellia Glow Solid Face Oil
Because masks can absorb your skin’s natural oils and dry out your skin, you’ll want to add a super luscious and deeply hydrating oil to your skincare lineup.
The one we recommend for this job is the Eminence Organics Camellia Glow Solid Face Oil, which is best applied before you go to bed.
Why do we love this deeply hydrating oil?
- The main ingredient, camellia oil, is pressed from the seeds of Camellia oleifera, better known as the plant that gives us tea. (Now you can drink your tea and wear it, too!). The precious oil is prized around the world for being highly moisturizing, revitalizing, and rejuvenating.
- This luscious, solid face oil also includes crushed pink tourmaline, a gemstone that encourages positive thoughts. (Are you noticing a trend with gemstones that encourage positivity here? Because 2020 … ).
- Another prized ingredient in this moisturizing blend is marula oil, which contains up to 60% more antioxidants than Argan oil. It also has antimicrobial properties, making it a perfect option for anyone dealing with maskne. Marula oil is rich in fatty acids and combats visible signs of aging due to drying environmental stressors.
- The final ingredient in this luscious formula is hemp seed oil that’s rich in vitamins and antioxidants and can improve the appearance of aging.
To use, simply apply a pea-sized amount to your face and neck with gentle, circular motions. Oils and serums like this camellia product are a wonderful way to re-introduce moisture into your skin after a long day and restore your vital skin/barrier function. For best results, finish with a luscious, moisturizer.
Turmeric Energizing Treatment
Even though the stress and anxiety of 2020 may be getting to you, (no judgement, us too!) this Turmeric Energizing Treatment reminds us that we can still look our best and treat ourselves to a little extra pampering.
This warm and invigorating powder is designed to awaken your skin and help it appear extra luminant. We recommend using this revitalizing treatment as an extra step before bed (before you apply your serum and moisturizer) because it’s warming nature can cause your face to flush slightly.
Why do we love this invigorating turmeric treatment?
- The main ingredient, turmeric, is a potent antioxidant that visibly brightens the appearance of skin and reduces the look of puffiness. Yes, please!
- The crushed citrine gemstones lends an element of happiness that helps the mind and body feel recharged, motivated and energized.
- Paprika often gets relegated to the spice cabinet, but we love its ability to invigorate the skin and leave it soft and glowing. As an added bonus, Hungarian paprika increases detoxification and circulation in the skin, which helps to purge acne.
- Zeolite is this blend’s secret weapon. A deep exfoliator, it releases energy upon contact with water, resulting in the skin feeling warm and invigorated. It also improves the skin’s appearance by smoothing and tightening.
- Clay is one of nature’s most incredible natural skin care products, and the kaolin clay used in this luxurious treatment is no different. It deeply cleans and softens the skin and gently draws out impurities without stripping away moisture.
To use, add 1 small scoop of powder (about 1 teaspoon) into the jar’s outer cap. Gradually stir in a few drops of water, your favorite tonique, or the Birch Water Purifying Essence until you see a whipped-mousse texture (the recommended ratio is 4 parts powder to 3 parts water)
Apply a thin layer of the whipped mousse to your entire face, extend to your neck and décolleté as desired. Let dry for 10 – 30 minutes before rinsing with tepid water. As you rinse, massage gently to exfoliate.
It’s natural to experience a warm, tingling sensation for a few minutes after applying this product. Please take note that this luxurious treatment is water activated, so the tingling sensation dissipates over time and will resume during rinse-off. If you use steam, hot towels, or warmer water you will intensify the heat.
When learning how to treat maskne, it’s important to keep our simple preventative tips in mind along with our motto of “Exfoliate and Hydrate.”
If you feel like your skin needs a little extra TLC (or you just need some pampering during these hectic times), then reach out to us about scheduling a spa day. A facial treatment is a great time to get specific feedback from Jessica about your skin’s unique characteristics.
Not ready to come back to the spa due to COVID or live out of the area? Reach out to Jessica for a 30-minute virtual skin consultation.
More in this VIDEO by Jessica.