Maskne: let's know it and... avoid it
We've found out the hard way, the continuously worn masks can cause an unpleasant downside. What are the triggers of "maskne" and how to avoid it?
If there's one certainty in these uncertain times, it's that the masks will keep us company for a while longer. That's why we might as well come to terms with the idea of this new daily routine of ours. Protecting ourselves is essential and we must do everything possible to minimize the risks of exposure to infection.
But for many of us this new habit brought an unpleasant contraindication, known as maskne (mask + acne = maskne), that is a skin irritation that looks similar to inflammatory acne, and is caused by repeated wearing of the surgical mask, by its nature poorly breathable and traps within it moisture, sebum and bacteria. A kind of mechanical acne, which often affects even athletes and sportsmen on the parts of the body that come into repeated contact with protections and equipment for daily practice.
Let's take a look at how it presents itself. For some people the prolonged wearing of masks can cause a skin rash and the appearance of white pimples and reddened patches. The areas most affected are the chin and cheeks, which are the areas usually covered by the mask.
This inflammatory condition can also affect those who have healthy skin and normally are not prone to the appearance of blackheads and pimples, but the most predisposed people are those with a particularly oily skin, and those who already suffer from acne. Sometimes also a particularly thin or sensitive skin could react to stress with a mask outburst. Two main factors trigger this reaction: the mechanical action of the mask, which repeatedly rubs against the skin, and the moisture that condenses underneath the mask itself.
The conversation around maskne inevitably poses a connection to that around acne, which is a chronic relapsing skin condition that brings about the appearance of numerous, often inflamed, blackheads and papules. This pathology afflicts almost 10% of the world's population, the average age of onset is adolescence, but cases of acne in adulthood are also increasing, often related to one's hormonal situation. The aesthetic consequences of acne are often conspicuous and create discomfort, and even once the acute phase has passed, this pathology can leave numerous scars on the skin, thus constituting a cause for concern for those who suffer from it.
Recently, we have witnessed a shift in the social perception of acne. A sort of movement of "liberation" of acne-prone skin has taken hold, starting with social networks: under the banner of acne positivity, people no longer want to hide just because they don't have perfect, even skin. Quite the opposite, in fact: hashtags are flourishing to accompany selfies, describing a movement of acceptance of oneself and one's skin, and showing us girls and boys with acne skin, even in some advertising campaigns and social accounts of cosmetic companies, replacing models with smooth and even skin.
This constructive and welcoming attitude of acne positivity, which has made its way to younger generations, is part of a broader conversation about body positivity, about accepting one's body, with all its characteristics that make it unique and different from others. The focus therefore shifts from the obsession with the perfection of the skin, the appearance of the pores and its texture, to the health of the skin and its well-being.
And it is precisely with this in mind that we want to share some effective tips to avoid maskne, which beyond the aesthetic reasons can be particularly annoying when not painful. Let's see what to do:
- Simplify your skincare routine. Your skin has few needs, and often a routine full of different products and actives can end up inflaming or damaging your skin instead of improving it. Taking your skincare back to its basic steps, minimizing it, using targeted, well-formulated products can help to keep your skin healthy and able to defend itself against external attacks.
- Use gentle cleansers that work effectively without damaging the hydrolipidic film that protects the skin. We formulated our cleanser with this very purpose in mind: we wanted a product that is extremely effective at deep cleansing the skin, yet has a gentle and highly tolerable formula. The Aeqium Facial Cleanser cleanses by affinity with non-aggressive surfactants, and is perfect for a maskne defense routine.
- Use less makeup when you know you'll be wearing the mask for extended periods. In fact, makeup can form an extra layer that prevents skin from perspiring, and can speed up pore clogging and blackhead formation. Instead of makeup, use a moisturizing and soothing cream, then wait a few minutes for it to be absorbed by the skin before putting on the mask.
All these steps are aimed at keeping the skin intact, hydrated and protected: in one word, balanced. Even if our skin doesn't show outward signs of maskne, it may still help to carefully apply these few steps, and protect it as good as possible.
Skin in eqiulibrium is essential for an effective fight against maskne inflammation and for the health of your skin. Discover our philosophy and start the journey to your best skin ever.