Why is my mask giving me acne? Your guide to maskne and how to treat it
The past year has been a challenge to put it mildly. We have had to deal with physical distancing, frequent hand washing and the infamous face mask. In fact, face masks have become an extension of ourselves and our gear every time we leave the house.
We have had to get used to doing almost everything outdoors and around other people with our face masks on, but now have had to deal with a new crisis when we take our masks off – acne, skin rashes and breakouts caused by masks, or going by their official name, maskne. What exactly is maskne and what can we do about it? Read on to find out.
What is maskne and why is it happening?
Maskne is a type of acne mechanica, a mechanical skin irritation that is caused by friction of materials or gear against our bare skin. Athletes, health care providers and military personnel have been dealing with acne mechanica brought on by protective gear rubbing against their skin and causing skin irritation throughout their careers. With the general population now wearing masks for hours on end, the continuous friction of the mask against our skin coupled with the trapped moisture and humidity caused by breathing, talking and sweating with our masks on is creating the ideal
breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria to go to town in our pours.
Maskne is on the rise and more and more people, including people who have never suffered from pimples, are taking their masks off only to discover their faces are not happy faces. AT ALL. In fact, an online survey conducted by Galderma with 220 respondents from Canada and Germany shows that 63% of those surveyed have experienced an exacerbation of their symptoms as a result of mask-wearing, including redness (75%), pimples and/or pustules (72%) and more flare-ups (53%). With universal masking initiatives being based on high compliance of people wearing masks within communities to succeed in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, maskne is becoming a threat not only to our skin but to continued motivation to keep wearing masks.
So, what can be done to make maskne go away?
Maskne is extremely frustrating, but it doesn’t need to be permanent. With the right combination of simple steps, it can become a thing of the past. Follow these tips to eliminate maskne and save face:
1) Choose the right mask to fight maskne: the right mask makes all the difference. Because maskne is created or exacerbated by constant friction of the mask against the skin combined with the moisture and humidity created by breathing, talking and sweating with our masks on, choose a mask that causes the least amount of friction and wicks away moisture. Stay away from masks made of synthetic materials such as nylon or surgical masks. Surgical masks are made from polypropylene and contain chemicals which can cause skin irritation or make an existing condition worse.
When selecting a face mask, choose a mask with a comfortable, snug fit made of two layers of breathable, soft, natural fabric such as cotton. Ensure the fit is snug yet comfortable. A a mask that is too tight could generate a great deal of friction against your skin. A mask that fits too loosely will not protect you against COVID-19. A mask made of a soft, natural, breathable material will minimize the moisture trapped between your skin and the mask, and those acne-causing bacteria will have less ideal conditions to do their thing. A mask like the SonoMask™ that is made of two layers of a soft, breathable cotton/poly blend is a great choice to fight off maskne.
2) How to get more from your mask or introducing the mask that does more: meet the SonoMask™, the innovative mask that has you, and your skin, covered. The fabric in the SonoMask™ contains zinc. Zinc has been used in the skincare industry for years for the treatment of acne, diaper rash and other skin irritations due to its antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties, or in other words, it kills the acne-causing bacteria. Sonovia has developed an innovative ultrasonic technology that blasts the fabric used in its SonoMask™ with active zinc. The zinc becomes an integral part of the fabric and retains its active properties for over a year of use and over 55 wash cycles.
In fact, lab tests prove the fabric in Sonovia’s SonoMask™ kills the acne-causing bacteria with over 99% effectiveness! According to Professor Amos Adler who runs the lab that performed
the testing on the Sonovia fabric: “The test showed tremendous activity of the treated fabric against C. acne in anaerobic conditions. One of the potential problems of masking for extended periods might be the exacerbation of acne. Such antibacterial activity that is exhibited by the treated fabric might be beneficial in preventing the exacerbation.”
Since the SonoMask™ is antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal, it also doesn’t need to be washed as often as other reusable masks and can in fact be washed only as needed to remove food particles or to remove any dirt or stains. The SonoMask™ also comes in a wide range of colors and prints so that you look good wearing it and maskne-free when you remove it!
3) Get into a skincare routine before and after mask-wearing: Get in the habit of cleaning your face with a gentle soap and applying moisturizing cream before wearing your mask and after you remove it. The gentle soap will remove dead skin cells, dirt and oil built up during the day, and the moisturizing face cream will add moisture to your skin and create a protective layer between your skin and the face mask to reduce friction.
4) Don’t forget to clean your mask: Food particles, dirt and oil can accumulate on the inside of your mask during the day and help those acne-causing bacteria feel right at home. The fabric in the SonoMask™ contains active zinc which helps the mask self-clean through its antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal activity. With over 99% effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses as well as bacteria and fungi, and with a 98% proven filtration effectiveness of 5 micron particles, both you and your skin are covered by the SonoMask™’s fabrics many benefits. If your SonoMask™ does get dirty or stained, you can easily wash it if and as needed by hand with a mild detergent and leave it out to dry until you need to use it again.
Masks will continue to play an important role in our lives along with physical distancing and frequent hand washing in the foreseeable future as we continue in our efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. For us to succeed, universal masking initiatives rely on our compliance in keeping our masks on in public. But maskne is now threatening not only our skin’s health but our overall health by affecting people’s motivation to continue to wear masks as their skin is hit hard by acne. The good news is that maskne isn’t a necessary evil. Implementing a good skincare routine combined with the SonoMask™ , with its innovative soft, breathable zinc-powered fabric, you have all the tools you need to fight maskne and come out on top.