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The ultimate grooming routine to protect you from 'maskne'

Protect yourself from maskne with these tips.
Protect yourself from maskne with these tips.
Image: Aleksey Satyrenko/123RF

Let’s face it, wearing a mask is now part of our reality. Whether you’re meeting up with the boys for a hangout or heading out to outdoor pholas, masks are mandatory, and taking care of your skin should be too.

“Maskne” is a term given to the effects that wearing personal protective equipment or fabric face masks have on the skin. It’s usually a byproduct of sweat, friction, and pressure that the mask places on the skin over extended periods of time.

All these factors can cause inflammation, rashes, skin indentations, and breakouts around the nose and mouth. You can, however, avoid mask-related skin flare ups with these tips.

1. Cleanse, before and after

Whether you’re wearing your mask all day or just popping out for a short while, always mask over clean skin that is free from any dirt or pollution particles as they could further aggravate the skin or cause pore congestion.

Cleanse your face with a gentle cleanser of your texture choice (cream, gel, or foaming) or apply micellar water with a cotton pad for a speedy cleanse. Remember, cleansing after taking off your mask is just as important as cleansing before in order to remove dirt and sweat, rebalance the skin, as well as remove any contaminated droplets that may be on the skin.

2. Protect with moisture

Masks also have a tendency to make skin look and feel very dull and dehydrated after use, so it’s vital to create a moisture barrier on the skin in order to prevent excessive dryness and chafing that can cause skin irritations.

Spritz the skin with a hydrating facial mist followed by a hydrating moisturiser containing hyaluronic acid or a moisturising sunscreen immediately after cleansing. And don’t be stingy with the moisture, your skin will thank you later.

3. Beards need love too

Remember to send that moisture memo to your beard too, in order to prevent dryness and knotting. As your mask sits on your beard area, it and the skin underneath is susceptible to dryness, sweating, acne-forming bacteria, and irritations so make sure to always run through a few drops of beard oil before masking up to keep it nourished.

4. Treat any irritation or inflammation

After taking off your mask from a full or half day’s wear, you need to be a bit preemptive and combat any skin irritations or inflammation that your skin may endure.

When the mask sits over pressure points such as the nose bridge, cheeks, and even ears, it may cause pigmentation as the skin’s natural inflammatory response is to release more melanin to the surface.

Apply a vitamin C serum, blemish corrector, or repair mask on those areas in order to manage the melanin response and help fade any current pigmentation.

5. Rehydrate the skin

Finish off with a hydrating moisturiser and always apply sunscreen, if it’s still daytime, to further protect the skin from environmental aggressors such as UV damage that can increase signs of ageing, increase skin sensitivity or make mask-induced pigmentation appear darker. If you’re on the go, opt for sunscreen sprays that will keep your skin protected without killin’ your summer vibe.

This article is adapted from one that appeared in the December 2020 edition of S Mag.