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How does wearing a mask cause Maskne?

After a whole year since the arrival of Covid, we have now brought in another factor for our skin to deal with. Wearing the mask. Some of us are lucky to be working at home and therefore don’t have to deal with wearing a mask however, other professions, we are wearing a mask, have full on PPE and are just either so dehydrated and dry or SUPER oily and sweaty under the mask. Such different extremes and again different for each and everyone of us. 

What we need to understand is that there is so much bacteria harbouring in our mask especially because we use our nose and mouth to breathe or talk or exert a cough or sneeze. All of that is contained in the mask which we are wearing for prolonged periods. 

We can switch out our reusable masks every so often, that could be every 2 hours for one person, and every 5-8 hours for the next. I personally prefer the disposable for when I am working a full shift. Also, be mindful of how your mask is getting cleaned. Are you using a detergent that is causing your skin more harm? Maybe using an all natural detergent will be best.

Over the past months I have seen many skin conditions that the mask is causing. Inflammation, dermatitis, dryness and increase in acne. We must be very careful with how we are going to treat the skin. It's best to take a large step back and think what our skin is feeling. Does our skin require "acne" related products or does it need to be treated as a sensitive skin instant?  

What can we do to help our maskne?

Everyone’s skin is going to react differently with the mask so here are a few options to add onto your routine based on different concerns.

  1. If you have inflammation, itchy and reactive skin, Serum Biosensible would be great to add onto your routine. Anyone in the health care profession who is constantly wearing their PPE I highly recommend this product! Use this serum AM and PM right before your moisturizer. It can be applied full face or just in the areas you are experiencing inflammation. The issue with the mask is that it is causing friction (almost like over exfoliating the skin) which breaks the barrier and causes the skin to be more vulnerable to bacteria therefore harming the hydrolipidic barrier. Skin will then go into defence mode and try to protect itself, as a result, trapping in bacteria. The job of Serum Biosensible is to strengthen the skin. 
  2. For frontline workers, it is so important (that is if you get the chance) to cleanse the skin with  eau micellaire biosensible and moisturize throughout the day. A mid shift cleanse will also help with removing the bacteria, however, we need to be careful to not strip the skin. Micellaire biosensible is hydrating and will not cause more harm to the skin.
  3. If you are someone who enjoys applying facial masques, we love the Masque VIPO2. Our bodies need oxygen to live and our skin needs oxygen to thrive. When we exhale, our bodies are releasing CO2 - one of the many ways our bodies dispose of waste. On top of friction causing irritation, breathing into a mask consistently is trapping that CO2 and basically polluting and asphyxiating our skin - the exact opposite of what our skin needs. Tweaking our routine to reflect this new normal by adding some more oxygenation products and tools is one of the way to combat maskne. On top of overall skin health, acne bacteria cannot live when oxygen is present so getting as much oxygen into our topical routine daily is key. Our favourite oxygenating products are Masque VIPO2, Creme VIPO2 (which is super light
  4. Another option are Facial mists are so easy to use throughout the day to help hydrate the skin and calm depending on the formula you are using. We have many options, iS Clinical has the copper firming mist, Living libations with Rose Mist or Frankinscene, Biologique Recherche L’exauxygenate and Institue Estherderm Cellular water.
  5. Switching your day moisturizer to something lighter in texture. We suggest Emulsion Gel Biosensible for those wanting a light moisturizer with reactive skin. The Emulsion Gel Biosensible S.R. perfect for those with oily skin instants and again need to build up their skin barrier. Paired with finishing serum, Fluide VIPO2, the skin is set.

What has worked for me?

My skincare routine that I was using in March 2020-June 2020 was not working for me. Due to the pandemic our business was closed and we weren't wearing a mask at that time but once we opened for services it was long hours of mask wearing. Creme ISO-Placenta was not working for me anymore. I felt hot and started to see red blotches on my skin, which then turned into little acne bumps. This was a whole new skin for me. I knew I had to make a change, but what was that going to be? Am I sensitive? No, I definitely don't have sensitive skin, ruled that one out right away! But I see pimples, should I treat it with Complexe Iribiol? Perhaps....but why is my skin red? In comes the frustration and time for trial and error!

My concerns: needed a lighter moisturizer and address the redness and the small acne bumps.

My thoughts: okay, I think the mask is causing my skin is to be sensitive, which totally makes sense because I'm red (so not a thing for me). I need some hydration still but i'm on the drier side but want to control the heat under my mask. Maybe, I don't have acne...its just over don't use acne related products?

My choices: Emulsion Gel Biosensible S.R. and Fluide VIP O2. These two products were exactly what my skin needed. Emulsion Gel is light in texture and great for those with oily sensitive skin...which is me under the mask! Then I want to provide my skin with oxygen with a matte finish, in comes Fluide VIP O2. There were times were I did apply different products to my upper face to address different concerns, but under the mask, I kept it super simple!

I hope this has taught you how to step back and read your skin!

To book a consultation with our Winnipeg skincare specialists, call (204) 306-8502.

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