• Nicolette Smith

Is your mask leaving you feeling spooky?

A year ago, if you’d mentioned you were wearing a face mask, you probably would’ve been referring to something you put on your face to relax and pamper your skin. Nowadays, a face mask or face covering, is something you wear to protect yourself and others from catching Covid-19 Coronavirus.

By now many of us, especially key workers – as we found out early in Lockdown – have noticed that wearing a face covering a lot can make our skin break out! It‘s called mask acne, or ‘Maskne’.

If you’ve noticed spots, redness, or irritation around your mouth, cheeks, and jawline after wearing a face mask, you’re not alone.

Maskne is the latest skincare issue we have to deal with in the skin care industry. Of course wearing a mask is important in order to stay safe and keep others safe, but dealing with bad skin is not helping or encouraging people to wear a mask.

Maskne – what is it and how does it happen?

Maskne breakouts happen when sweat, bacteria and natural skin oil gets trapped on your skin underneath your mask. The air can’t get to the moisture to evaporate and keep your skin dry. Your breath also stays within the mask a lot more, because of the seal that the mask creates, so the warm and moist environment this creates is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

Additionally, face masks can irritate your skin when they rub against you, causing additional damage.

You already have maskne, so how do you treat it?

Disclaimer: I’m not a dermatologist so if your condition is worsening every day and steps below do not help you should be consulting your GP and maybe get a referral to a dermatologist or other medical professional.

You may remember my action to sponsor Skin Rescue Kits for NHS Staff? This is of course a kit that you can use yourself and you are still able to sponsor a kit to donate to a NHS worker that you know!

The kit consists of: 1. Extra Emollient Night Cream to repair your skin whilst you sleep

2. Intense Moisturising Cream for extra hydration and protection during the day

3. Satin Lips Shea Butter Balm to deeply moisturise and nourish your lips

The total retail value is £53.50 and you can now shop my website with 20% discount if you sign up through the pop-up.

What else can you do and what should you avoid doing? Have a look at the suggestions below:

Don’t squeeze your spots – hopefully you’ve all heard about this, if you’ve had acne when you were a teenager, you will know that popping or squeezing your spots will only make matters worse. This also applies to Maskne spots; DON’T SQUEEZE!

Cleanse your skin – twice a day, morning and evening, cleansing is very important, just like washing your hands regularly is important to wash away the bacteria and virus from your hands, it is also important to wash them off your face. Your face mask doesn’t cover your whole face, so you’re still exposed. Wash, wash, wash is the mantra. It’s the best thing you can do. Use a mild facial cleanser instead of soap as it is more gentle to your already aggravated skin. A good example of a mild cleanser is the Naturally Purifying Cleanser, but of course other brands are available.

Exfoliate your skin gently exfoliate your skin with a very mild scrubbing cleanser. Don’t use anything aggressive like a microdermabrasion product or anything with coarse grains or exfoliating beads. A powder exfoliator is much more preferable. Naturally Exfoliating Powder is a great example, but other brands are available.

Don’t forget to moisturise! – you may be tempted to skip the moisturising because you don’t want your skin to be too hydrated to avoid it getting humid under your mask, however moisturising is still an important step in looking after your skin and will help aid the healing process. My favourite moisturisers at the moment are:

Consider the type of mask your wearing – if you’re not a healthcare professional and your mask is irritating you, make sure you switch to a breathable 100% cotton mask.

Skip the heavy makeup – I understand you might want to hide the breakouts but applying heavy make up won’t let your skin breathe and could end up blogging your pores more. Alternatively use a light foundation that also looks after your skin such as these 3D foundations or you can use a light concealer like this Perfecting Concealer. Don't stress too much though, after all, your mask is going to cover up your breakouts anyway.

Spot-treat the breakouts – try a spot treatment like ClearProof Spot Solution for Acne Prone Skin (with 2% Salicylic Acid, Canadian Willowherb, sea heather and burdock root) + try acne/pimple patches under your mask.

See a doctor – if nothing is helping your maskne, it’s time to see a professional! Don’t put it off, babes. It’s your face we’re talking about!

The good news is…..you can prevent maskne!

How do you prevent maskne?

Wash your mask after every use – if you’re wearing a fabric mask, you should be doing this regardless of whether you have maskne or not. Washing your mask will not only protect you from any bacteria, but it will also remove the sweat and skin oils that you’ve accumulated under it.

Wash your face! – This is something you should already be doing, babe. A gentle face cleanser is key for anyone’s skincare routine - find out which fits your skin by taking the Beauty Quiz. You should wash your face twice a day (morning and nighttime) to remove any oils that can potentially clog up your pores. This is my favorite cleanser right now,

Choose your mask materials wisely – cotton fabrics are light and breathable, if you’re wearing a mask to run errands or to wear at your non-healthcare job you should definitely choose a 100% cotton mask. Of course, if you’re a healthcare worker you’ll be wearing something way different, so the other steps for prevention are extra important for your skin!

Moisturise – when your skin is dry, it’s extra susceptible. When you moisturise you not only hydrate your skin but you give your skin’s protective barrier an extra boost. To effectively moisturise, we recommend a serum + a moisturiser! Here are my favourite serums,

Skip the full face of make up – if you’re skin is prone to build ups and breakouts, you should avoid putting on too many products on your face when wearing a mask. Plus, you’re only gonna end up smearing half of your makeup all over your mask and that’s not a cute look. I will do another blog some day about how to mask proof your makeup. Go for a natural look, and keep the maskne far away from your skin.

I hope you continue to stay safe and THANK YOU for wearing a mask to help flatten the curve in your area!

Love & Lipstick,


Just so you know, there are shopping and affiliate links that keep my website and business alive. I appreciate your love and support.

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